Book Review: Shadow of the Taj by Lara Bernhardt

“When love is strong, anything is possible, madame. You just need to find the way.”

Lara Bernhardt, Shadow of the Taj

Title: Shadow of the Taj
Author: Lara Bernhardt
Genres: Thriller, Contemporary Fiction
Pages: 328 (Kindle)
Published: July 27th, 2021

My Rating: ★★★★★
Read: 5/19/2022 – 5/24/2022


Wow… this was the heaviest book I’ve read in a while. It was almost too much for me at times but I am so glad I stuck with it. This is a heartbreaking story that is so tragically based on the global human trafficking crisis. Leslie’s instant love, concern, and willingness to do whatever it takes to save Raveena’s life is admirable. I wanted to hop on a plane to India and save a child myself.

Another thing I really enjoyed was Leslie’s struggle with her faith. I wasn’t sure what direction this plotline was going at first with so many negative comments about her parents’ faith (particularly her mother’s), but it ended up being a journey. The question posed is one I think most Christians struggle with at one point or another. While the answer doesn’t come in this life, we get to watch Leslie go through these tests and find her own relationship with God. This isn’t something I see often in fiction, especially with such real and horrific situations surrounding it.

This story was rich in characters, plot, and side-plots. ‘One more chapter’ before bed continuously became five more chapters. This might be wishful thinking, but I hope someday there will be a follow-up book.

Thanks to BookSirens for providing a free review copy. I have since purchased a physical copy of the book for myself.


I haven’t listed content warnings for book reviews on here yet because it’s difficult to remember what all of them might be and I would hate to miss something or not include a trigger because it didn’t cross my mind. That being said, I feel I must point out with this one that there are very heavy themes in this book including rape, kidnapping, trafficking, abuse, violence, pedophilia, etc. and can often times be graphic. I have a strong stomach when it comes to reading, but a few of the scenes here were too much for me. I’ve included a full list of content warnings in my StoryGraph review (at least all that I can remember). I highly recommend this site for looking up content warnings as multiple readers are able to contribute to the list.

Where to buy the book:

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