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Now You See Us    by Balli Kaur Jaswal order for
Now You See Us
by Balli Kaur Jaswal
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2023 (2023)
Hardcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Balli Kaur Jaswal's Now You See Us reminded me a little of The Handmaid's Tale in that it also addresses a form of slavery, though more economic than sexual in this case. It's the story of three Filipinas (Corazon, Donita, and Angel) in Singapore, where they're employed as cleaners, maids, and caregivers and (for the most part) treated like dirt.

Cora is suddenly back in Singapore after retiring home to the Philippines. There's a dark secret in her past, one that has changed her personality and attitude, leaving her much more cautious and diminished. She has lucked out with her new employer, widowed Ma'am Elizabeth, who treats her much more kindly than is typical.

It's brash young Donita's first job in Singapore and she isn't so lucky, ending up with the unpleasant and demanding Mrs. Fann. Donita has an affair with Indian migrant worker Sanjeev. Angel, an old friend of Cora's, grieves her breakup from Suzan and worries that her employers plan to replace her in caring for elderly Mr. Vijay.

The novel opens on a mystery. A woman is murdered in her home and the police have arrested Flordeliza, a domestic worker from the Philippines - who can it be? We move a month back in time to see how this develops and how it involves our trio.

These women all know that it could have been one of them who was arrested. They help each other whenever they can, so Cora, Donita, and Angel are determined to find out what really happened and save Flor. How they do this entertains readers - and illuminates the underbelly of the city and its wealthy inhabitants.

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