Book Review: Sisterland


Title: Sisterland
Author: Curtis Sittenfeld
ISBN: 9781400068319
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Random House
Source: Advance copy via NetGalley
Release Date: June 25th 2013
Rating: 3 out of 5


From an early age, Kate and her identical twin sister, Violet, knew that they were unlike everyone else. Kate and Vi were born with peculiar “senses”—innate psychic abilities concerning future events and other people’s secrets. Though Vi embraced her visions, Kate did her best to hide them.

Now, years later, their different paths have led them both back to their home town of St. Louis. Vi has pursued an eccentric career as a psychic medium, while Kate, a devoted wife and mother, has settled down in the suburbs to raise her two young children. But when a minor earthquake hits in the middle of the night, the normal life Kate has always wished for begins to shift. After Vi goes on television to share a premonition that a devastating earthquake will soon hit the St. Louis area, Kate is mortified. More troubling, however, is her fear that Vi may be right. As the date of the predicted earthquake quickly approaches, Kate is forced to reconcile her fraught relationship with her sister, and truths about herself she’s long tried to deny.


Daisy and Violet are twins who have unusual ability which they define as “senses”. They grow up as troubled teens and are bullied at school for being different. Now in their mid thirties, Daisy is a married woman with two children. She has changed her name to Kate to put as much distance from her past self as possible. Violet has done just the opposite. She has embraced the things that make her different and is now a psychic professional, much to Kate’s embarrassment. Major turn of events take place when Vi predicts that a serious earthquake will take place in their home town of St. Louis.

This is an emotional story about the sister’s domestic life. I sometimes found the pace too slow. Daisy or Kate, is essentially a good character but is difficult to like. She is judgemental of her sister and often patronising. Vi, on the other hand is vivacious and adventurous and I liked her much better.

The book alternates between the twin’s past and the present. I couldn’t connect with the 70s and 80s references in the book and I thought the plot was slow leading up to the date of the predicted earthquake. What I liked about this book was the relationship between the twins. They argue, they fight, they make up, they are so very different from each other and still support one another.

I thought the book was a bit too long but it was an easy and compulsive read.

Book Review: True Love


Title: True Love
Author: Jude Deveraux
ISBN: 9780345541796
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine
Source: Advance copy via NetGalley
Release Date: July 9th, 2013
Rating: 4 out of 5


Just as Alix Madsen is finishing up architectural school, Adelaide Kingsley dies and wills her, for one year, the use of a charming nineteenth-century Nantucket house. The elderly woman’s relationship to the Madsen family is a mystery to the spirited Alix—fresh from a romantic breakup—but for reasons of her own Alix accepts the quirky bequest, in part because it gives her time to plan her best friend’s storybook wedding.

But unseen forces move behind the scenes, creaking Kingsley House’s ancient floorboards. It seems that Adelaide Kingsley had a rather specific task for Alix: to solve the strange disappearance of one of the Kingsley women, Valentina, more than two hundred years ago. If that wasn’t troubling enough, Alix must deal with the arrogant (and extremely good-looking) architect Jared Montgomery, who is living in the property’s guesthouse.

Unbeknown to Alix, Jared has been charged with looking after her while she lives on the island—an easy task for him, considering the undeniable chemistry between the two. But Jared harbors secrets of his own, which, if revealed, may drive a wedge between the pair.


This was my first Jude Deveraux book and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I then went on to read the other books in series. I loved the characters, the story, setting and even the ghost. The story is emotionally realistic. Nantucket Island is a beautiful setting and forms a great background for the story. Both Alix and Jared are likable characters and I loved their slow developing relationship.

The story of the past relatives is sometimes confusing but overall the plot was very appealing. The secondary characters and their stories add to make the plot engaging and pleasureable. It is a well written romantic novel with a small town mystery!

Another bright day

It’s so bright and sunny that I want to put on my sunglasses even when am indoors. It hurts to look outside.

View from our living room

The photo doesn’t do justice to the weather outside. People are sunbathing, reading, lying down and barbecuing in the garden.  It’s a feast. Shantanu isn’t accustomed to sweating and is wondering how come there’s “water in hair” when he hasn’t even taken a shower!



Random updates

I have lots to say but can’t pen down a proper post.

So the heatwave in UK. It felt really good a couple of weeks ago to be out without wearing kilos of overcoats! My tops and dresses were finally seeing the sunlight after a long time. Two weeks of warm sunshine and now am miserable. It’s 25° today  and it’s so completely still. I can’t see a single leaf moving. Nothing stirs, not  a single breeze. Weather warnings are issued and then there is the danger of roads closing down if the tarmac melts.


School’s out and holidays have started. Am busy planning, organising and chauffeuring my son around for play-schemes and summer classes. This is one of the things I like about living abroad. There are multiple activities for kids to enjoy and be occupied with instead of going to movies and malls. I know there are many activities even in India, but commuting here is just so easy and comfortable. It’s also a big relief to know that I can now drop off Shantanu at the classes and he will stay there and enjoy. I dreaded the first day thinking he would cry and wouldn’t stay without me but I guess improved English language has given him quite a confidence boost. Now I get pronunciation lessons from him! It’s a “khaar” now “kaarr” he tells me. And sometimes if am lucky, he even allows me to teach him a few words.


I have finally taken to housecleaning a bit more seriously. It may have something to do with husband calling it a “kabootarkhana”. But I have a feeling that a new vacuum cleaner, IKEA and shopping (even if it’s storage) may have pushed me off my butt the edge. Shantanu is delighted to know that I can use the vacuum cleaner and he almost fell of the chair when he saw me ironing. The husband, though, is still on the fence and is scared to break this streak of wilderness in me. He is afraid that if he so much as makes a comment, the spell will break and I would be a vegetable again. On a serious note, it was triggered by moth attack, and in no way was I responsible for it.


I have been reading a lot but have no time to review. Will get back to that now.


The other day we had a scary seagull incident. A couple of seagull chicks got out of their nests and we moving around in our society’s parking area. Every time someone passed them by, the mother seagull would screech and attack. After watching the scene for some time, we decided to call animal rescue. Sadly, it seems seagulls are not that important to them. They told us to be careful and carry umbrellas when going out. It would take a couple of weeks for the chicks to fly. Luckily, we didn’t have to wait that long. One the second day, we saw the chicks walking on the rooftops. There were no more screeches after that.






Shantanu had a class picnic before the holidays. We went to Kinghorn beach by train. It was a brilliant day to be outdoors and Shantanu had a lot of fun. This was the first time he put his feet inside water. I had a flashback to the days when I as a kid went to Worli Sea Face. My cousin and I used to have lots of fun in the sand, trying to make castles. The highlight of those trips to the beach wasn’t the water or the sand or even the giant wheel. It was the scooter ride. In those days my dad had a scooter and my uncle didn’t. My parents and us kids used to go on the scooter and my uncle and aunt travelled separately. So my cousin and I took turns standing at the front of the scooter. There was still always a fight and a lot of crying on the way back. 🙂





It’s been more than a month now to our Paris trip and am still missing it. Never has a city or a place affected me in such a manner. I have resolved to go there once more….sometime! I still have to write an entire post on our Disneyland trip and I don’t know where to start. Five days in Dineyland and it was still not enough. 🙂


So what’s the update on rains in Mumbai. Last I heard, it was still raining cats and dogs and the potholes are getting bigger. Mumbai does turn into Venice during monsoon.

And how have you all been?

Book Review: Teatime for the Firefly


Title: Teatime for the Firefly
Author: Shona Patel
ISBN: 9780778315476
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Source: Advance copy via NetGalley
Release Date: September 24, 2013
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

From Shona Patel’s blog:

My name is Layla and I was born under an unlucky star. The time and place of my birth makes me a Manglik. For a young girl growing up in India in the 1940’s, this is bad news. The planet Mars is predominant in my Hindu horoscope and this angry, red planet makes people rebellious and militant by nature. Everyone knows I am astrologically doomed and fated never to marry. Marriages in our society are arranged by astrology and nobody wants a warlike bride. Women are meant to be the needle that stitches families together, not the scissor that cuts.

But every thing began to change for me on April 7th, 1943.

Three things happened that day: Boris Ivanov, the famous Russian novelist, slipped on a tuberose at the grand opening ceremony of a new school, fell, and broke his leg; a baby crow fell out of its nest in the mango tree; and I, Layla Roy, aged fifteen years and three days, fell in love with Manik Deb.

The incidents may have remained unconnected, like three tiny droplets on a lily leaf. But the leaf tipped and the drops rolled into one. It was a tiny shift in the cosmos, I believe, that tipped us together—Boris Ivanov, the baby crow, Manik Deb, and me.

I loved this book! It is such a beautifully written book that I couldn’t put it down but somehow I made myself stop to just let the words wash over me and to feel the characters and live with them for some more time. Shona Patel’s storytelling and writing ability is so powerful that it transports you and you can’t get out of that magical place. While reading the book, I felt nostalgic for an era I didn’t even live in. Is it even possible?

In Teatime, we follow Layla’s journey from her laid back life with her grandfather, Dadamoshai to the turbulent times she faces during India’s independence and thereafter. Layla is born under an unlucky start and is orphaned at a very young age. Yet, she is brought up by her wise and forward thinking grandfather to be a smart, educated and independent thinking girl. After marrying Manik Deb, Layla moves to the borders of Assam to live in the tea plantations where her husband works. Overnight she finds out that she is a now a memsahib with a fully staffed bungalow at her disposal and has to look and act accordingly. Soon we see that her relaxed life with her grandfather is over and she has to face many issues arising out of the changing economic situations at that time. Set against the spectacular backdrop of tea plantations, Shona Patel remarkably portrays the contrasts of an idyllic exotic location and it’s flawed society. Through Layla we see the life and times of the local plantation workers as they face racism, poverty, superstition and even politics.

I fell in love with Layla first and with her grandfather a little later – but these are not the only people who are delightful to read. The other motley of characters that Patel weaves in this story are equally captivating and touching – from Layla’s extended family to her servant staff, her husband’s colleagues and their wives and mistresses – every character is a joy to read – they are real, believable and you can easily picture them in your head with their nuances.

Shona Patel’s prose is lush and lyrical. It transports you to the India in the 1940’s and completely immerses you in that time and place . Layla’s story is funny, adventurous, dangerous and courageous. You would at times wish to stop and savour the moments yet find yourself distraught at the thought of staying away from the beautiful place and characters of this book. A coffee addict myself, after reading this book, I craved for a cup of tea…

Highly recommended! Can’t wait for her next book!