Miss Burma by Charmaine Craig [in Library Journal]
Fifteen years after her debut, The Good Men, Charmaine Craig returns with an epic based on the lives of her Burmese mother and maternal grandparents. A former actor, Craig is the ideal narrator to voice her family’s narrative as she guides readers through the little-known history of an ethnic minority, the Karen, targets of violence and persecution for decades, within the larger context of Burma’s colonial legacy and its rebirth as the autonomous nation of Myanmar.
In 1939, Benny – a Jewish/British/Indian officer of “His [British] Majesty’s Customs Service” – falls in love with and marries Khin, a Karen native; orphaned since age 7, Benny is quickly absorbed into her extended community, despite the initial lack of a shared language. Their incongruous union adapts, adjusts, and survives decades through the horrors of war, torture, imprisonment, and betrayal.
The oldest of their children, Louisa, will take the title of the eponymous “Miss Burma” and learn to navigate the difficult paths of being Burmese, Karen, and part of a new generation determined to achieve independence and freedom at almost any cost.
Verdict: Libraries catering to global patrons in search of meaningful, resonating titles will want to acquire immediately.