RaveThe Washington Post... a remarkable feat of reporting: What [Faleiro] finds reveals as much about the failings of India’s law enforcement, media and politics as it does about the girls’ deaths ... Faleiro’s prose is restrained, but she allows the occasional colorful simile ... Faleiro lets the suspense build as she carefully uncovers the villagers’ competing motives. Gradually, it becomes clear that in Katra, ultimately one thing is more binding than police codes, medical codes or penal codes: a retrograde but resilient code of honor. This is the force, above all others, that stunted the girls’ lives and hastened their deaths.
MixedThe New York Times Book ReviewFlock strives mightily to avoid cliché, with mixed success ... And for all its sophistication, the book feels compelled to remind readers of the basics: that caste divisions were said to have originated in ancient India, that Gandhi was father of the nation and so on. Still, on balance, Flock is a careful, diplomatic interpreter of modern Indian life. Distilling large swaths of culture and history into brief, well-deployed asides, she keeps her focus on the couples themselves ... The Heart Is a Shifting Sea is a sober portrait of middle-class yearning — an earnest inquiry into what it is one might reasonably dream of finding in marriage.