Marie Balustrade: Writer and photographer, I am a native of the Philippines who grew up and lived in various countries, resulting in photography and writing becoming integral pillars of my soul and, hence, inseparable from my being. The urge to write about what I photograph or match a photograph to my writings are processes that are never far from one another. In the same manner, while on retreat in the mountains of Kodaikanal, India, one year, photography transcended into a form of prayer. When I need to find my center or escape the madness of the world around me, I grab my camera and immerse myself in a world that understands me, and I it.
The BookViral Review: With novels like Wings At Dawn where the theme is child sex trafficking readers expect something gruelling and disturbing and Marie Balustrade’s ability to deliver that sort of visceral reading experience makes it a genuine page-turner. Creating a montage of images that gradually resolve themselves into a commanding story of tragedy and evil, stories like these are not easy to write and the danger is that despite good intentions they quickly become clichéd. It’s no mean feat then that Balustrade manages to engage the heart with the same fervour she engages the intellect. It’s an exposé of how the industry of child sex trafficking really works but what keeps Balustrade’s novel honest is the characters. Alex, Julian and Matt have a bond that goes beyond brotherhood, friendship and camaraderie. There’s no lazy cynicism and easy ironies or quick to dismiss melodrama with saccharine endings. We feel their pain and are constantly reminded that Wings At Dawn is a real-life horror story recast as fiction.
Disquieting and eye-opening Balustrade has delivered a powerful and engaging read where your tears, anger & hope will ensure no page is left unturned.