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#BookReview The Runaway Bridegroom by Sundari Venkatraman

 

The Runaway Bridegroom by Sundari Venkatraman 

Blurb

 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 what she wants? 
 
 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? 

My Review:

The runaway bridegroom by Sundari Venkatraman has an intriguing title and an equally intriguing theme – child marriage – which even in this day and age is, sadly, a socially relevant issue in India.
I liked the beginning that Sundari has etched. The plight of the girl is gut wrenching without overt emphasis on description. I was pulled in by the revulsion I felt for the situation. Chanda is the victim of a social evil and her counterpart doesn’t escape the brunt of the situation either.
As I read on, I found the theme of the book becoming buried in subplots and secondary characters which, due to the short length of the work, one couldn’t find so relatable.
Sundari’s descriptions are vivid and the story doesn’t pause anywhere. She takes up right into the minds of people very set in their beliefs – for example, a detective basing his investigation on astrological predictions. However, the satire due here was missing. The one thing I couldn’t get over was that the culprits, the parents who instigate such evils, escape unscathed and in fact are upheld as understanding and supportive even. The characters don’t take a leap against the society norms for their love. Maybe my expectation of the story was different. I mean, the author does say she writes only to entertain. But I kept expecting a stand on this issue which is so relevant to Indian society. I was disappointed that I didn’t find it.

I give this book three stars.

Read it for Indian setting and a light read that makes no statements.

I was given a copy of the book in return for an honest,  unbiased review.

 
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Review – Grays Hill by Barbara T. Cerny

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The Blurb

After her father committed suicide rather than face his mounting gambling debts, Oksana Wallingford knows she will have to work in order to keep food on the table and her younger brother, the new baron, in school. When her best friend finds her a position as the nanny of his brother’s children, it is the opportunity Oksana needs. But what she didn’t contend with was Rafe, the recently widowed Duke of Essex and her new employer.

 Oksana and Rafe’s personalities are like oil and water. However, what begins as mutual hate slowly begins to change into something more. But what future can they have when Rafe has sworn off marriage for good?

As the mismatched pair struggles to come to terms with one another, a disaster that throws everything into question strikes them both.

 

I found Grays Hill to be an engaging historical read. Though the overarching theme in the story is the duke’s recovery from the emotional damage he had suffered, effected through his romance with his governess, the story isn’t centered on the two romantic characters but rather embraces all the characters in its fold. They are warm, cheerful and you go happily along for a ride.

At places there is lack of conflict which takes you out of the story and the interest wanes near the end because of that. Interaction between main characters started a little late in the book and ended a bit too early and the last episode along with the spotlight on the villain, in my view, was unnecessary. I enjoyed the middle half thoroughly. The heroine is unusual and takes the stage. But she is depicted so strongly that at one or two points one looks askance at the hero.

I rate it four stars out of five for readability except the last one fourth of it, four stars for concept and world building.

Read it if you’re looking for a historical, entertaining read which is not a typical genre cast.

Review – Double Jeopardy by Sundari Venkatraman

Blurb

Sanya doesn’t just have trouble, she has double trouble. Twins Arth and Ansh Sharma, are rich, sexy and sinfully handsome – what’s a girl to do?

 Sanya last saw the twins when she was ten years old. Now, all grown up, she has come looking for gentle Arth, the twin she has loved ever since she can remember. But instead, she is confronted with fiery Ansh, who is hell-bent on seducing her. And what’s worse, she can’t seem to stop herself from responding to him.

 As she chases Arth and is chased by Ansh, Sanya finds herself on a crazy roller coaster ride with no way of getting off. How will she deal with these two very different men in her life? Will she be able to convince one twin that she loves the other?

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First the title. I congratulate Sundari on it. It is very intriguing and makes you want to pick up this book.

As in the blurb the story revolves around Sanya’s predicament about two men she knew as boys while growing up. The differing feelings in the past and present have been explored and Sanya is given her perfect ending in the conclusion.

What I liked most about the book is Sundari’s writing. She has a way of wanting you to read more so that you don’t feel that the story is being thrust upon you.

The short length is a drawback because the characters come out too simplistic. The author has wisely desisted from introducing any other conflict between characters. But conversely that makes the characters miss the depth they could have had. I felt too that the epilogue type ending could have been used to add more words to the story.

Throughout, the story stays loyal to its theme. At the end, it comes out a little idealistic as though it’s the author’s depiction of what should or could be the approach of modern India towards the issues discussed. I don’t mean this as a criticism though.

I rate it four stars out of five for readability, three for plot, and three and a half for my takeaway impression. Looking to read more from this author.

Read it for Sundari’s lovely flowing writing and clean cut descriptions.

Review : The Treasure of Kafur by Aroon Raman

A tale of flight and chase is always interesting and The Treasure of Kafur capitalises on the fact. This book is a mixture of fantasy and historical which is spot on. Though I didn’t expect the fantasy element in this tale of the Mughal period and thought it a little unbelievable at first, soon I found it woven into the historical thread.

I don’t usually read fantasy so I found it surprising that I enjoyed it and that speaks much for the book. I got into the story early on because there wasn’t much time to dwell as the story unfolded at a good pace.

Adventure, chase, mayhem, plans, surprises, everything has been worked in skilfully. I admit I was askance about use of actual historical figures in a fictional world but that is only a little hampering. I wished imaginary figures were used but I guess the tension couldn’t have been built that strongly and anyway it wasn’t hard to overlook.

I do wonder if a sequel is in the offing. The characters are engaging enough for one if the author plans it.

All in all I enjoyed reading this and definitely recommend it.

I give it five stars for readabiilty, four for concept, five for the world building without which this story wouldn’t have been what it is.

Read it if you’re in the mood for a fast paced adventure story.

Book Review – The Indian Tycoon’s Marriage deal by Adite Banerjie

Blurb

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Krish Dev needs to find a bride—and quick! With a marriage arranged by his father looming, Krish finds the key to his freedom in Maya Shome, but is this dazzling beauty really all she seems…?
Maya has only one thing in mind: revenge. But when the host of the most exclusive high society party asks her to dance what is meant to be an innocent tango leads to an engagement to Krish—her enemy’s son!
Arranging their own marriage could work to their advantage…if they can resist mixing business with pleasure!

The story is a Mills and Boon romance, set in India with Indian characters. It revolves around the two protagonists Maya and Krish and the theme of revenge. Maya has a grudge against Krish’s father who ruined her father and thereby made her childhood a misery. Krish on the other hand wants to fight free of his father’s domination. Both meet with different agendas in mind but find it hard to resist each other.

I love Adite’s writing style and descriptions. She has a racy way of telling the tale which makes the book a quick read. The heroine has suffered in her life and one really feels for her. All the typical Harlequin elements are present so it’s a treat for Mills and Boon Indian readers. The hero isn’t as Alpha as you usually see in category romance, he’s quite human and has his share of flaws as he fights the domineering father quite vividly portrayed in the story.

Read this for racy style, strong descriptions and Indian characters.

I give Adite’s debut five stars for readability (hooking the reader), four stars for concept and a good take away impression.

Have you read this book? Do you read Mills and Boon or other romances and have you tried any of the Mills and Boon Indian author books?  Tell me about your favourite romantic story in the comments.

Book Review – To Kill A Mocking Bird by Harper Lee

To Kill A Mocking Bird, the Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Harper Lee, published in 1960 is acclaimed as a classic in American literature. I read it as the story of innocence jumping into sometimes brutally indigestible wisdom. It takes you on a journey into childhood that says however secluded you are, you learn things or have them blown into your face. It deals with racial injustice but from such an entrancing point of view that you’re lured into the narrative.

It made me look inwards and around and realize how great a load of prejudices we do carry and how variety of prejudices have been imbibed way deep into the society so that sometimes it is bypassed and even taken as a matter of course. The more we grow, the more immune we become.  However, the book gives you also the fatalistic life goes on and even a silver lining ending and the  hope for change. All this melds with the child’s growing up and learning that you can be a participant and if you have someone who can guide you the right way you can take something away from it and gel back into the world you live in.

The only thing I found difficult to contend with in this book was the somewhat meandering pace. Yes, it was faithful to its story world and characters.But very difficult to wade through at least in the first half. Since the blurb didn’t give any hint of the main characters, I had to leaf through and find out if the story concerned their childhood only or somewhere they were going to enter adulthood. Yes, I’m impatient but it helped me fit the story into a time frame so I could settle back to read once I knew where it was headed. After the middle though it really took off and in the end was satisfying. You know like when you press a button and expect to hear a click. The click was right in place. Though I wouldn’t have minded reading about a sequel in which they were all grown up. All the characters were riveting. Though I applauded his way of dealing with the kids’ curiosity, I did find Atticus a hard parent but then me being  a slightly overprotective mom, maybe I was bound to do that.

In short, it’s a story faithful to the theme and delivering a thumping point in a gentle telling.

I give it three stars for hooking the reader (readability), five stars on concept, five star for my takeaway impression.
If you want a book to make you think and touch your heart, go for this.

If you’ve read it, what was your impression? Did you like Atticus and uphold his parental policies? Did you find the first half difficult to get through like me? 🙂 Do share your views, would love to hear!

Book review – Tell Me Your Dreams by Sidney Sheldon

I think no matter how many Sheldon books I read the main line of the review would be the same, at least for all I had read till now, and that is: you can’t put it down. If you have the time in your daily routine and even if you don’t, it holds true. He’ll build on your curiosity and when it’s at the peak he’ll veer off to what looks a totally new direction, a haphazard tangent which is usually terribly frustrating to the reader. So much that you have to keep yourself glued to the book.

In this book a new rarely read and interesting subject has been taken. Mental illness, murder, anger all is intertwined tightly in a rope you will find hard to unravel till Sheldon decides to hand the thread. While I was reading and right when I finished it, all I could think of was one word. Brilliant. But now I have had a chance to look at it dispassionately and yes, I’m doing the author a disservice assessing the book after emerging from the cloud of absolute spellbinding fascination he’d woven with his tale. Anyway, on reflection, to me many things were too pat. Some characters were too easily fooled. Some questions left unanswered. That’s about the argument I can present without citing a spoiler.

I give it five stars for hooking the reader (readability), five stars on concept, four star for my takeaway impression.
If you want a book to take you away from your present and have you grappling with its incredibility, go for this.

If you’ve read it, what was your impression? Are you a Sheldon fan? Are you irritated by an overdose of suspense in his books? Share your views. I’d love to hear them!

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