Day: May 2, 2019
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Penniless Souls is the second book in the Lost Compass Love series written by Eve Gaal. Although the novels are connected, you do not have to read them in order as they are standalone stories focusing on common characters. Although the series title might suggest this is a romance, I wouldn’t classify it that way. To me, this was an adventure story where readers were treated to a few months in the life of Penny and her family. The plot ranges from potential murder to dangerous prostitution rings and back again!
When the book opens, we learn that Penny and her husband have had some financial troubles due to loss of jobs and the general financial situation in the country. They’ve moved around a few times to find better employment and raise their 19-year-old daughter, Lani, in a solid place. When Penny visits Las Vegas with her husband to help him find a new job, she unexpectedly meets a famed artist she admires and gets a job painting murals for him. She also gets a call from someone about a possible inheritance, which leaves her confused about next steps. Lani stays behind with an aunt and meets a potentially troublesome guy in the park, and then she begins her own adventure. Through misinformation, unintentional confusion, and lots of twists, everything collides and results in near-death for a few of them.
Gaal presents characters who are definitely complex. At times, I was angry by the way they treated one another (over debt, leaving home, past mistakes), and I saw evidence in their daughter that she was shaped by her parents’ rough edges. Maybe it’s just me, but they were all rude to one another when they communicated. That said, they also do things to show their human and sentimental sides, which made me feel bad for them when they encountered such horrible trouble. The exploitation of young girls for prostitution is a difficult topic, but Gaal is careful not to get explicit or vulgar — we know it’s happening, but the details aren’t important. This is a story about how parents try to save their daughter, and how a girl falls in love despite everything going on around her. Not about what actually happens in the brothels, although we do get a few necessary facts about the 48-hour rule! You’ll have to read up on that yourself…
Gaal’s writing style is easy to digest and interpret. She offers tons of shocks and surprises, as well as several low-key moments to let us ponder the situation for ourselves. This was partially based on something real-life, so it makes you scared to know it could happen… but then it gets quite explosive in the last third — to the point, I honestly had no idea how it might end. I could’ve seen many culminations that would’ve worked, but of course, the author leaves a nice little twist in the end about the change in Penny’s financial situation. Did she get the money? Was she going to be killed for it? What will happen next? I’m curious to know if there will be more… thanks for a fun read, Eve Gaal.
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For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations but with a twist. There are four books: Academic Curveball, Broken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, and Mistaken Identity Crisis. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where you can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.