Swati Sharma’s Fashionably Yours

 

imageIndian chick-lit, packed with all the colour, relations, food and hang-ups of South Asians, this is a fun, frothy book. Maya, is a likeable, good natured young woman who dreams of making something of herself in media. Aryan has most of the right ingredients–he is good looking, successful, worldly–but I felt that he was too selfish and egotistical at times. I wish he had been gentler and kinder towards Maya.
The dialogue was funny and natural. Anu is a wonderful character and i wanted more of her. Though it’s an interesting, pacey read, I felt that the editing could have been better because sometimes we see each and every action in too much detail. These quibbles apart, this book has much to recommend itself with like the dialogue, characterization, structure and the telling of the tale are all top-notch.
Kudos to the writer for making a simple story so much fun to read and to clothe the chick-lit genre in desi garb so well.

Trouble Has a New Name by Adite Banerjie

trouble1Indeed it does. It’s Neel Arora.

Grey eyes, dark hair, hot and brooding, and a body that Rayna, the feisty model and our heroine, cannot stop drooling over. If all our troubles looked like that, huh?

Rayna may be a model but she’s  your girl next door. She is sweet, suffers from a vacillating self-esteem and has made it to the top on her own. We first see her as a scatterbrain, in the throes of a hangover and overwrought with labels in caps we’d all rather avoid. (Dumped).  There’s the destination wedding–in the Andaman Islands–first introduced to me by M.M.Kaye, which is how Neel and Rayna meet. It’s Rayna’s best friend marries Neel’s business partner kinda situation and it has its rewards. Every time these two come together on the page, it lights up. They both have tragedies in their pasts and both have been scalded enough to not want to trust again and yet they are drawn to each other irresistibly.

There are a few forced coincidences that made me sorta cringe but the dialogue is spicy, the back-story is filtered in mostly at appropriate times and Banerjie really knows how to heat up the pages. Niiiiice!

The most difficult thing in a romance is, I think, to find believable, plausible and logical obstructions to a happily ever after. So I wasn’t really surprised that Banerjie struggled with why they are kept apart. It just made an otherwise great story stumble a little. The non-issue of course resolves itself  when the time is right.

I loved the idea of the ‘touchstone’. Read and find out.

There’s humour and the Aunt was hilarious, irritating and lovable all at the same time. We know her, don’t we? Both the protagonists are fun, engaging and good hearted people who deserve love and romance and each other. Four stars. Nicely done, Adite.

 

 

 

Adite Banerjie (2)

This is Adite’s second book. Her first, The Indian Tycoon’s

Marriage Deal was also for M&B India.

You can find both her books on Amazon India.Adite- Orange Cover - small (451x640) (2)

 

 

 

 

 

Farha Hasan’s The Mother-in-Law Cure

When I started reading The Mother-in-Law Cure, the beauty of the language, the scene setting the wonderful way in which we get to see the different view points of the characters, made me think that Farah Hasan should have chosen a different title. The story was so thrilling, the plot, characters, the development is all so compelling, surely a less prosaic title could have been more suitable? I soon forgot about the title though, because the story gripped me. The characters are so well etched. I finished it in one sitting because I just couldn’t put it down.It has this magical atmosphere that doesn’t let you get away. It reminded me of The Mistress of Spices. In a good way. I love magical realism and enjoy reading it and Hasan captures the nuances of the genre brilliantly. The story is about magic, love, hate, power and the way our lives can be so ordinary while being the subject of such dire evil and we never notice. Surely we see such things around us and we talk of bad luck, or strange coincidences. Hasan has you converted by the end of the book. Humara is reminiscent of Coleridge’s Christabel. The men in the novel appear to be just tools for her evil desires but Hasan is too good a writer for that equation to remain and soon Kashif and Adeel and their complicity and their weakness tells its own story. The humour is great. The fear factor, subtle and insidious. Not to give anything away but I really appreciated the subtle shift towards the end where Miriam, and Sonia and Afsana all sort of merge and shift into one. The question of identity, of where the magic actually comes from, and is all magic really evil, is posed in a wonderful and subtle manner. I had a great time reading this novel and the punchline is that daughters-in-law all over the world will want it…

You can find the novel here and more about Farha Hasan here

Review of Done with Men by Suchi Singh Kalra

 

Done With Men by Shuchi Singh Kalra

Kalra’s brilliance in the execution of this novella is three-pronged:
a)she captures the chick-lit genre to perfection with the lovable but slightly neurotic heroine Kay, and the mature, grounded doctor who knows and loves her for who she is, as any sensible man would, duh!
b)her voice is humorous, intelligent and absolutely likeable. She carries the reader through ups and downs, hurdles and jumps, with a laugh here, a smile there and at times, stitches in your stomach with all the laughing. I for one cannot resist self-deprecating, intelligent heroines with a weakness for unfortunate tattoos and underwear.
c)she conveys the Indian setting, the culture clashes and represents the younger Indian generation with all its foibles and its determination to step into the brave new world and claim it as their own.
Rather a lot to achieve in a short novella, and to do it as effortlessly and as skillfully as Kalra does shows true artistic flourish. I’d read anything by her without a second thought, she’s THAT good. Move over Bridgette Jones, Kay’s the new girl we love!

Unsettled by Neelima Vinod

Magical Realism and the post-colonial literary tradition seem to be inextricably inter-twined; and hurray for that! Unsettled is a fascinating read that inscribes a world full of magic, magical creatures and of course the most magical of all things: love.

The plot seems to be simple enough and then Neelima Vinod, the writer of Unsettled, skillfully reveals a story spanning centuries, a long forgotten Royal Court and a contemporary couple seeking marriage counseling. Their journey is complex and wrought with fear and doubt, but then which journey of the heart isn’t? The pursuit of love is a dangerous gamble. The Yakshi, though the antagonist, a restless ghost still looking for lost love, wreaking vengeance, is somehow the most memorable character. The love of a mother and how it can even transcend boundaries of time and death is heart-wrenchingly portrayed here. It was the story of the poet and the Yakshi that holds the reader’s attention. The parts of the story concerning the modern era and the couple seeking therapy was less well-defined I felt.

However, this is a wonderful addition to the oeuvre of South Asian writing.

From the supernatural, to the contemporary Indian ethnic prejudices, to true love; it is a journey that has the reader entranced till the very last page. Wonderful lyrical prose, characters that leave an imprint on your heart and mind and the weaving of an extraordinary tale are the hallmarks of Neelima’s work. The novella takes the reader on a trip to the mysterious and ancient heart of India that has fascinated the world from time immemorial. One can almost feel the presence of the Kamasutra in the erotically charged poetic rendition of this dark and passionate romance.

Neelima Vinod is definitely a name to watch.