A Harvest of Thorns by Corban Addison (review by Kristi)

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About the book:  A beloved American corporation with an explosive secret. A disgraced former journalist looking for redemption. A corporate executive with nothing left to lose.

In Dhaka, Bangladesh, a garment factory burns to the ground, claiming the lives of hundreds of workers, mostly young women. Amid the rubble, a bystander captures a heart-stopping photograph—a teenage girl lying in the dirt, her body broken by a multi-story fall, and over her mouth a mask of fabric bearing the label of one of America’s largest retailers, Presto Omnishops Corporation.

Eight thousand miles away, at Presto’s headquarters in Virginia, Cameron Alexander, the company’s long-time general counsel, watches the media coverage of the fire in horror, wondering if the damage can be contained. When the photo goes viral, fanning the flames of a decades old controversy about sweatshops, labor rights, and the ethics of globalization, he launches an investigation into the disaster that will reach farther than he could ever imagine – and threaten everything he has left in the world.

A year later, in Washington, D.C., Joshua Griswold, a disgraced former journalist from the Washington Post, receives an anonymous summons from a corporate whistleblower who offers him confidential information about Presto and the fire. For Griswold, the challenge of exposing Presto’s culpability is irresistible, as is the chance, however slight, at redemption. Deploying his old journalistic skills, he builds a historic case against Presto, setting the stage for a war in the courtroom and in the media that Griswold is determined to win—both to salvage his reputation and to provoke a revolution of conscience in Presto’s boardroom that could transform the fashion industry across the globe.

Published January 24, 2017, by Thomas Nelson

 

My review:  I found this story to be a fascinating read. It is an inside look at the supply chain of the clothing retail world. I found the book, while fiction, to be shocking, informative, and revealing. It definitely made me think differently about the clothes I wear.

This story takes place over a few years and in different countries around the world. Thankfully the author broke the story into different parts and put the location of the story at the beginning of each chapter. There is a lot of information packed into the story from a legal standpoint and also the business side of the story. There is also a very personal element to the story as the reader gets to know the victims.

There are two main characters in the book. The first is Cameron, the legal counsel for Presto. He gets to see firsthand the conditions of the workers in the factories overseas and does what he can to change things and wants more changes to take place. The second main character is Joshua, the journalist who is encouraged to pursue the story and perhaps bring it to trial to get changes in place. Cameron and Joshua are both likable characters and we get to see their flaws through their personal lives. The most likable characters in the book were the workers at the factories. Thinking about the conditions these people worked in and what they suffered on a daily basis made them easy to have empathy for.

Even though this book is published by Thomas Nelson it is not a clean read. This is a contemporary fiction book and includes adult subject matter and some mild language. However, this story is well-written and thought-provoking. Once I started reading this book I couldn’t put it down.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher and was not required to write a review. All opinions are mine.

 

About the author:  Corban Addison holds degrees in law and engineering from the University of Virginia and California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. He began to experiment with writing at the age of fifteen, about the same time he developed an interest in international travel. His early works were mostly essays, reflections and travelogues, but his true love was fiction. For eight years he searched for a story with wings. In the end, the story found him.

In the summer of 2008, Addison’s wife gave him an idea that he found irresistible—a novel on the global trade in human beings. Despite the increasing demands of career and family, he embarked upon an odyssey that took him to India and Europe and into the corridors of power in Washington, D.C. In immersing himself in the world of modern-day slavery, he spent time with experts and activists in the field and went undercover into the brothels of Mumbai to meet trafficking victims firsthand.

Out of this journey, A Walk Across the Sun was born. It is a novel that brings together three of Addison’s great passions—storytelling, human rights, and the world and its cultures—in a narrative that enlightens while it entertains. Addison is a supporter of international justice causes, including the abolition of modern slavery, and he is committed to broadening this support through the publication of A Walk Across the Sun.

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