Many thanks to Laura and iReads Blog Tours for my spot on this Tour!!
This was initially the story of the main character Jaya who, after her 3 miscarriages, ran away from home in United States to her small native village in the interiors of India. She came to the ancestral home of her forefathers where she met Ravi, her grandmother Amisha’s best friend and her untouchable servant. India still has the caste system prevalent, and some are still considered to be lower caste. From there on, it became the story of Amisha, a storyteller, as told by Ravi. This was Amisha’s story and the reveal of her secrets.
A beautiful story by author Sejal Badani, this captured the emotions of a woman’s heart. In most homes of India, women rarely have a choice about whom they can marry. Arranged marriages are still the norm. I loved the way the author portrayed Amisha’s life when she first came to her husband Deepak’s home. There were rules put forth by the mother-in-law which she had to follow. There were instances when Amisha tried to spread her wings and soar to the sky, at least take a gentle hop, by writing her stories. Her desire to better herself took her to the English school started by the British Raj to learn the language.
Amisha and her servant Ravi’s friendship warmed my heart. There were no barriers of the caste system in their minds and hearts. They spoke freely and kept each other’s secrets. The author brought out the emotions with her simple words, and they were extremely impactful.
Sejal’s writing had a strange rhythm to it, a beat so silent but at the same time so loud, that it touched my heart and broke it into pieces and then joined them back again. The words at certain points were so mellifluous that I couldn’t help holding my breath to stop my tears from falling down. Only a woman’s heart can hear this story about a woman’s plight, and nobody other than a woman who has seen those circumstances would understand the language of its silence, the emotions underlying the words and the sacrifices a woman has to make.
Then came my infamous niggles, a lot of the prose to show India or describe the conditions or the way the women were addressed didn’t sound authentic.
Another point I strongly objected to as a doctor was how a child with polio was described to be in full metal cast from neck to foot. In my years of studying and practice, I have not seen such a thing. It is no longer practiced in modern medicine.
Overall, Amisha’s story was every woman’s story who killed her heart’s desires to fulfil the parent’s wishes and follow the norms of the society. It is the story which was seeped in Indian culture and its roots. It bespoke of a lifetime in the 1930-40 when India was on the brink of Independence. It was simply a woman’s journey as her life and circumstances dictated.
I downloaded a digital version of the book from kindle unlimited, and this is my journey into its pages, straight from the heart!!
All my reviews can be read here
A former attorney, Sejal Badani is the author of the bestselling novel and Goodreads Fiction Award finalist Trail of Broken Wings. When not writing, Sejal enjoys reading and traveling.
Nothing prepares Jaya, a New York journalist, for the heartbreak of her third miscarriage and the slow unraveling of her marriage in its wake. Desperate to assuage her deep anguish, she decides to go to India to uncover answers to her family’s past.
Intoxicated by the sights, smells, and sounds she experiences, Jaya becomes an eager student of the culture. But it is Ravi—her grandmother’s former servant and trusted confidant—who reveals the resilience, struggles, secret love, and tragic fall of Jaya’s pioneering grandmother during the British occupation. Through her courageous grandmother’s arrestingly romantic and heart-wrenching story, Jaya discovers the legacy bequeathed to her and a strength that, until now, she never knew was possible.
Publication Date: 1st September 2018
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
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An honest note
Medicine and modern Indian doctors have developed so far and so ahead of their time that we do know how to get the spine corrected and probably the leg and foot too, depending on the deformity. Full body cast was probably used many many decades ago. India has come very far in medicine, and the world needs to know the truth, not what was portrayed in the book to gain sympathy. Polio has been nearly eradicated, but it has not fully gone. The government of India has a dynamic polio drive happening to eradicate this completely by 2020. My country is not so backward as shown in the book. We do have our problems as every country in this world, but most of us have a big heart and strong ethics. As a doctor, we do love our patients and we cry when we see a child in pain.