'Wow, What a book' I whispered when I finished this novel late on Saturday night. I don't remember uttering these words for a long time. Though I like reading fiction, I'm quite picky about the type of books I read under this genre. It cannot be meaningless rambling of words. It must have a good storyline and most importantly though its fiction, the story has to be believable. That it could happen in real life.
I chanced upon this precious gem in Marine Parade Library in the east of Singapore when I had made the trip to borrow books for my bimonthly storytelling for young children. I tremendously enjoy sharing the art of storytelling to the children and would love to conduct a session weekly. But I have been given a slot only once in 2 months because of the overwhelming number of volunteer storytellers registered with the library.
I apologise for the digress. Where were we? So, I chanced upon this novel in the library and the synopsis caught my attention. Being a history buff, reading that a part of the story took place in British occupied India immediately reeled me in.
'How can I believe I have a tomorrow when today I feel so lost?' Amisha cried tears pouring down her face (page 342).
This is a touching story of a woman searching for answers, wanting to know the secrets that have been hidden by her family for generations. The description of British occupied India interwined with modern day India was also beautifully written. We learn the story of the protaganist Jaya's pioneering grandmother Amisha who lived during the British occupation in India in the 1930s and 40s. Its a heartbreaking story but it shows us that she is a resilient women. Amisha's story seemed a bit too close to home..
Ignored by her husband Deepak who is never around and when he is home, he pays attention only to the family mill and their three boys, Amisha unexpectedly falls in love with a British soldier. She is torn between her duty to her family and what her heart desires. What happens in the end to this strong fiercely-protective-of-her-family-kind-of mother and wife is really tragic and kind of broke my heart.
Jaya finds her answers through the stories of Amisha told by Amisha's faithful servant Ravi who has been hiding a secret all his life. What is his secret? Would it have made a difference to Amisha's end? Find out in the book.
This is an epic story of the unrelenting force of love, the power of healing and the invincible desire to dream. It covers 390 pages in 53 chapters. I didn't even realise that it had that many chapters. Now, I'm aching to get hold of Sejal Badani's first book Trail of Broken Wings another bestseller.
Overall rating : A+