An Autograph for Anjali– The Book Review

An Autograph for Anjali by Sundari Venkatraman

 

An autography for Anjali

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Jayant Mathur is found murdered in his bed, shot at point-blank range with his own revolver. Though she’s extremely disturbed by his death, Jayant’s wife Anjali is way more upset about something else. Who stands to gain by killing the multi-millionaire businessman?

Parth Bhardwaj is a friend and neighbour of the Mathurs. Parth is an author who goes by a pseudonym. He appears more than a friend to Anjali; while he’s also on good terms with her son Arjun who lives and studies in the UK. What role does he play in Anjali’s life? Jayant’s relatives are curious to know.

Jayant’s brother-in-law Rana is convinced that Parth and Anjali are the murderers. But Inspector Phadke has his own doubts about this theory. In comes Samrat, the private detective who appears as quiet as a mouse. Will he be able to find the murderer?

Will Anjali find happiness and peace?

I picked this book from Amazon on one of my purchasing frenzy. My reasons for buying  was simple– I know the author, saw the promotion of the book and liked its premise. I have read Sundari’s previous work too but did not enjoy it much. However, this was an interesting read. I personally feel that as an author, her voice in the story has matured, and she has become bolder in the exploration of subjects. Although I still believe that there is a long way for her to go, but she does seem to have found her voice.

I finished it in a single read and thoroughly enjoyed exploring the story. The book is pure romance, with a bit of mystery thrown into it. What I loved  was the non-preachy way it was treated with. The author remained in the character and avoided judging them on her own.

What I loved

  • The first thing I loved about the book was the well-developed characters. I liked that characters had their backstories and that they were 3 dimensional in nature.
  • The second thing that I enjoyed was the pacing of the story. So many times the story fails because of the pacing, especially the story which has both romance and suspense as the feature of the story. But the Book has the right pace to keep the readers interested in the story.
What I did not like

 

  • The head hopping is there in the novel. I think I am developing an allergy to the head-hopping thing.
  • There were a few “suspended belief” moments where my belief had to be too stretched to get into the scenes of the story.
  • The third thing which I think was seriously lacking in the novel was the setting. The author has nailed the party scene and everything, but then she has skimmed over the settings. For the author who has the rich Indian land as the background, there was no connection with the location. I think that connection would have made the story more authentic.

Overall View

Overall the book is an interesting one-time read. It is a pleasant time pass read. I might not read it again and again(maybe, once more), but it is perfect read after a heavy day of work.

Overall Rating

Three Stars

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Wheat, Not White– A Book Club Review

Only Wheat Not White 
by 
Varsha Dixit 
 

It feels weird to be in a reading slump– to not be able to concentrate on reading, forget about writing. I attribute all this to change of city. I don’t know why but everything makes me feel like I am an alien here, a foreigner (I am not! I am in the same country and in a city where there are many good things happening). I spent my time moping around over the fact and listening to foreign-travel songs. And then I realized how stupid I was being.

I was not going to pick up this book. When the mail for the book came, I passed it on. But then Rubina said that she can personally guarantee that the book is well-edited and well-written. I needed something to come out of my stupid mood swings, and hence I picked up this book. Before I write the summary for the book and elaborate its beauty, let me tell you it was a perfect book to get out of the slump– not too heavy–a beautifully written romance.

The Blurb

What if the one you completely love is the one you simply can’t! Twenty-six-year-old Eila Sood moves to America to mend fences with her estranged older sister, Sheela. Eila and the rest of the family in India had cut off ties with Sheela after she married Steve Jacobs, ‘out of caste, and out of color’. Elia soon realizes that Sheela’s marriage is on the rocks. To help pay Sheela’s household bills, Eila takes a second job at an afternoon strip club. When she crosses paths with the owner, the handsome Brett Wright or ‘blue-eyed ogre’ as Elia calls him, he both infuriates and fascinates her. Brett turns out to be her reluctant and unquestionably sarcastic knight in shining armor. As Eila and Brett spend more time together their desire for each other builds. However, when Brett discovers the true reason for Eila’s refusal he storms out of her life, accusing her of being a prejudiced coward. Will Eila find the courage to break stereotypes and embrace her love? Will Brett find solace in the arms of his ex-girlfriend Cate? Will Sheela and Steve divorce? All of these questions and more are answered in Varsha Dixit’s latest and humorous and steamy love story.
The book is the story about Eila who has traveled to US in order to act as a peacemaker between her parents and her sister .  Her sister, Sheela, married a white man which had severed her ties to the family. Eila has come to US in order to help Sheila reconcile with her parents. But all is not well in US. Sheela’s married life is not the same, and Eila ends up (working in a strip club) falling in love with an American. The story is how both Sheela and Eila comes to term with the fact that the color does not decide the person, but the nature does.

Although the book is mentioned as a steamy romance, it is just a love story. I did not find much “steam” into it, so don’t be afraid of diving into the book because of that.

What I liked:

A perfect blend of American-ness and Indian-ness:  I think this is the biggest weakness of the Indian novel. The novels either end up losing the Indian values and beauty while writing in English, or everything is so much explained that a reader gets bored reading about all the things they know. This novel did nothing of the sorts.  The story had perfect balance between the two cultures. She neither ignored the American culture, nor did the author explained or justified the Indian culture. That probably was the biggest USP for me.

Romance: The story kept true to the nature of the characters and has a romance which made me “feel” the love being developed along with the feeling the connection in first sight. It is not a racy novel, but then there still that aroma of romance and “touchy” feels to make one realize that we are reading about a different culture.

What I did not like

Some Plot Points: There is a point which indicates that the company that hired Eila is reducing the number of hours, and I was left wondering what kind of company hires a person and reduces their hours instantly. Probably that is how recession was in US, because my industry never saw such drastic effect in a day. In our case, it was the slow buildup of the recession things, and there were no recruitment at all. But that as a plot point rankled me a bit.

Overall Opinion:

It definitely is a book worth reading. Beautiful language, amazing chemistry and interesting weaving of the two cultures adds to the beauty of the story. A perfect read!

Four Stars

Thoughts after reading the book:

The subject of an Indian women falling in love in a foreign country with a white man has intrigued me quite a lot. This has nothing to do with the color and even the country, but more about the openness of the culture. I know there are many Indian women and girls who are forward and are open in dating, but till date there is a section of female population of the country who truly are quite subdued when it comes to the sexual desires or simply dating.

And when it comes to western culture, men are perceived as someone who are quite promiscuous (I know this is not true in every case, but still the perceptions are not always true).

It makes me wonder about the courage it will take for these women to shed their inhibitions and date such western men. Same way, it will take huge amount of understanding on the male’s part as well to fight with the preconceived notion of the women. And the signals– I think it will be so difficult for them to translate those signals as well for both males and females.

I have seen this problem occurring in case when both male and female are from the same country, but the female has lived in a reserved environment.

And when families are involved– it turns into a battle on both the fronts. The book did justice to this fact, but I was left wondering for a long time how difficult it is to shed the inhibitions and to trust someone. I probably won’t have that courage(but then I have not even fallen in love with such a person yet!) Probably that is why it is said that the love transcends boundary. Having that kind of affair and developing that kind of trust will be too difficult.

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Cover Reveal: The Runaway Bridegroom

 


Cover Reveal: 
THE RUNAWAY BRIDEGROOM 
by 
Sundari Venkatraman

 
 

Sneak Peek


Chanda Maheshwari’s family is shaken when her thirteen-year-old bridegroom Veerendra runs away immediately after the wedding. The eight-year-old child doesn’t even understand the impact on her life. Unable to face their neighbours and friends, the Maheshwaris move from their village to Jaipur and begin a new life in the city.

Fourteen years later, Chanda is studying in a Delhi College. She takes up a temporary job at RS Software Pvt. Ltd. and falls head-over-heels for the boss of the operation. But what about  Ranveer Singh? Is he interested in her?

Ranveer’s secretary Shikha is desperate to make him fall for her. All she wants is life-long security with a rich man. But it’s nerd Abhimanyu who keeps getting in the way. Abhi is Ranveer’s second-in-command and Shikha isn’t keen on him as she’s eyeing the main chance. 

When Ranveer appears to show interest in Chanda, she’s faced with a new problem. Astrologer Vidyasagar insists that she would get back with her husband Veerendra. Does anyone want to know if she wants to do that? 

Chanda feels torn between the man she has fallen for and the family values that have been instilled in her. Will she ever find happiness? 


 



About the Author

Even as a kid, Sundari Venkatraman absolutely loved the ‘lived happily ever after’ syndrome as she grew up reading all the fairy tales she could lay her hands on, Phantom comics, Mandrake comics and the like. It was always about good triumphing over evil and a happy end. Soon, into her teens, she switched her attention from fairy tales to Mills & Boon. While she loved reading both of these, she kept visualising what would have happened if there were similar situations happening in India; to a local hero and heroine.




Her imagination took flight and she always lived in a rosy cocoon of romance over the years. Then came the writing – a true bolt out of the blue! She could never string two sentences together. While her spoken English had always been excellent – thanks to her Grandpa – she could not write to save her life. She was bad at writing essays in both school and college. Later, when it was time to teach her kids, she could manage everything from Science to Mathematics and History & Geography.

When it came to writing compositions, her kids found her of no help at all. All this changed suddenly one fine day in the year 2000. She had just quit her job at a school’s office and did not know what to do with her life. She was saturated with simply reading books. That’s when she got home one evening after her walk and took some sheets of paper and began writing. It was like watching a movie that was running in her head – all those years of visualising Indian heroes and heroines needed an outlet and had to be put into words. That’s how her first novel, The Malhotra Bride, took shape.

While she felt discouraged when publishing did not happen, it was her husband who kept encouraging her not to give up. There was no looking back after that. While publishing took a long time happening, Sundari continued to write novels and then short stories. Her luck turned when Indireads approached her to write for them and Double Jeopardy was born.

Now it’s all about self-publishing her books on Amazon. Her first self-published book is The Malhotra Bride (2nd Edition) in February 2014. Then came Meghna in June 2014. And now it’s time to unveil The Runaway Bridegroom, all set to release on September 13, 2014.
 
Are you ready????????????

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