Author: Nicholas Sparks
Publisher: Hachette India
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Tru Walls – forty two year old man works at a reserve in Zimbabwe. Divorced with a child. Hope Anderson – thirty six year old, is currently at her parent’s cottage on the Sunset Beach. She is here to attend her friend’s wedding without her boyfriend. She works as a trauma nurse at ER and, is unmarried, without children.
The book also revolves around a mailbox, ‘Kindred Spirit’. It is an open mailbox. People freely drop letters in to those they cannot write or a get a letter to, for reasons. Hope and Tru connect and reconnect at this beautiful set-up.
The novel begins with an envelope that arrives for Tru. It contains two plane tickets, an old photograph and, a written note sent by his biological father whom he has never met. He is summoned for a short trip to North Carolina to meet him and learn about his mother. Alongside, Hope Anderson is at her parent’s cottage at the Sunset Beach, North Carolina. She is unsure on where her life is going. She is in a relationship which isn’t progressing or making her happy. Her father is critically ill. The two strangers quickly fall in love. Separate ways in a week’s time because of some immense complications. They live on the opposites sides of the world, inhabit ting different lives.
Winston Chruchill once described worry as thin stream of fear trickling through the mind that, if encouraged, cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained.
NUTs and BOLTs
- I picked this up because it is Nicholas Spark’s book and I’ve read and enjoyed many of his books.
- The writing is beautiful and detailed. The characters have depth with their histories. That’s Spark’s world – you live the character through his words.
- The sequences featuring Tru’s life in Africa are enchanting. It really makes the reader stand there, among the wild animals.
- The magical five days of instant love on the beach in North Carolina didn’t capture my heart. The flow of the story in the last hundred pages made me drift along.
Real romance is spontaneous, unpredictable and can be as simple as listening to a man read a love letter found in a lone;y mailbox.
- It is also a story of family love, of choices and consequences.
Author: Paulo Coelho
Publisher: HarperCollinsPublishers India
Genre: Psychological Fiction
- After she takes an overdose of sleeping pills, Veronika wakes up in a mental asylum and the remainder of the book is a series of interactions between Veronika and the inhabitants of the asylum.
- The author, Paulo Coelho himself makes an appearance at the beginning of the book to tell that the book is based on his real incidences.
- The book describes the behavior of some mentally ill people, but fails at depicting the characters. It is very general, superficial with little insight.
- A depressing read.
There is always a gap between intention and action.
No one can judge. Each person knows the extent of their suffering, or the total absence of meaning in their lives.
The happier people can be, the unhappier they are.
Author – Fern Britton
Publisher – HarperCollins India
Genre – Domestic Fiction
Ratings – ⭐️⭐️
Preview – Penny Canter is in her mid 40’s, married to the village vicar – Simon. They live in Pendruggan, a village in Cornwall with their daughter, Jenna. Her best friend, Helen also lives in the village with her partner Piran. Kit, Adam, Terry, and Celia are Penny’s neighbours. Kit is an artist, Adam a doctor and, Terry and Celia, their dogs. Ella has been living with her brother Henry in Clapham, currently in Pendruggan in search of her past. Penny receives news about her estranged mother and an unwanted visit of Suzie.
Penny had been a big name in the T.V production. Lately, an author’s denial with coming up with the stories put Penny in trouble. Motherhood, career and her mother’s news all together take a toll on her. She becomes short-tempered and snappy towards those closest to her and is diagnosed with postnatal depression. Tension builds when Penny’s sister Suzie comes to stay in the village after the death of their mother.
Alongside the present day story, the chapters describe Penny’s childhood and her close relationship with her father. It supports Penny’s character and the unwelcoming attitude toward her estranged mother and sister.
There are other story threads interwoven in and around Penny’s.
NUTs and BOLTs
- Insights into their childhood via flashbacks.
- The cover and blurb initially caught my eye.
- What went missing for me – Ella’s happy memories with her grandmother. The one line mentioned in the blurb, I pick the book for.
Truth is a funny thing. A person can take the worst kind of truth, as long as it’s the truth.
Author: Sarah Rayner
Publisher: Picador UK
A chronicle of the aftermath of a tragedy and how all the people affected by it pull together and move on.
A story of how, in a brief moment, everything changes. One Morning, a young woman named, Lou, a people watcher, observes the intricate details of her fellow passenger on her train to London. And then, suddenly, the man across her, seated with his wife, bangs his head – and dead! The three women affected by it then go making changes in their lives that they’d failed doing earlier.
The story unfolds over a week, where the three female protagonists deal with love, loss, friendship with each other’s support.
Lou is a counselor for troubled youth, and the people-watcher on the train. Anna is a well put together young woman but has a troubled home life. Karen – is the wife now deceased man, Simon, is stunned by the events and struggles as she tries to deal with the aftermath, and her two cute children.
NUTs and BOLTs
- Idea of that one defining moment that changes lives of the ones witnessing it – is kept well.
- Although the book begins with a death of a loved one, it is a life affirming story.
- Unlike what the blurb says, it is not a thriller but surely, a page-turner.
- Anna’s alcoholic boy friend and Lou’s gay character are the only two conflicting points. Rest the story flows smoothly.
- The characters blend well as the author flashes from Anna to Karen to Lou and back again.
- The author has created believable characters – likable.
- It portrays a fairly believable reaction to an unexpected death of a loved one.
She bites her lips, holding back tears once more. ‘But again, there were things about even that I loved: his appetite, for starters – the way he just loved, enjoyed, his food. And I rather likes his size, it gave me more to cuddle…’
Author: Himanshu Bhatia
Publisher: Petals Publisher
Ever ambitious, ISB alumnus – Siddharth Gupta in his matrimonial search meets Shreya Malhotra, an IIM graduate and equally carrier driven girl. He finds Shreya cute and instantly develops a crush on her. They are going steady to what seems ‘soon to be married’ state, where enters Shivam Malhotra. Shivam is an IITian, enters the plot messing up the perfectly tuned relationship. Shreya and Shivam happen to meet on their flights’ to Bangkok, Shreya travelling for her friend’s bachelorette and the man for a leisure trip. The flirtatious nature of Shivam is disliked by Shreya. She is annoyed and irritated until the point she happens to read his personal diary.
NUTs and BOLTs
- A love triangle.
- Weak Plot.
- Predictable climax.
- Simple vocabulary.
- The story is narrated in first person by Siddharth, and is nowhere to be seen. More presence of Siddharth in the story could have solidified the plot.
- Shivam is likable character. Flirtatious yet fun loving.
Author: Twinkle Khanna
Publisher: Juggernaut Books
Genre: Fiction, Culture – India
A pair of jeans hold grudges while pyjamas are forgiving.
The book is set in Ayurvedic Shanthamaaya Spa, Kerala – where food is rationed, sex forbidden and emotions cantered. A daily regime of drinking ghee, deep breathing, sattvic eating, massages and performing discomfort Yoga poses is followed to remove ‘Dosha’ from oneself. (to set oneself right)
Anshu in her early 40’s, divorced and childless is at the Shanthamaaya Spa for the second time. Along with the daily regime, she revisits the memory of her broken marriage in the ashram where she and her ex-husband were frequent visitors. The unexpected arrival of her ex-husband dredge out all her desires. The place also has other guests; Jenna – young foreigner, Javed and Anil – a gay couple from Bangalore, Afanasy and Vyacheslav – Russains on a quest to lose weight, Lalit – Jay’s cousin and Jay and his young wife Shalini.
Along with Anshu’s, the story revolve around all these characters. In a paragraph or two, each character narrates their story to Anshu.
There are no absolutes, things are never right or wrong, they swing in between. People see the truth as a compass but it is in reality a pendulum.
NUTs and BOLTs
- An experience of a woman who does not take herself seriously despite being dealt rather unkindly by life. or A woman finding place in the world.
- Ambiguous characteristic of the protagonist, Anshu. Firstly, she is mistreated by her husband and left behind because she does not make him feel young and alive anymore. Suddenly, his chauvinism and cheating is forgotten and she accepts the affair at the ashram. And later, her feminism came to surface when she learnt about the abuses done to Jenna.
- It maintains ironic, cynical, self deprecating tone.
- Great usage of figure of speech.
- It won’t make you laugh but will raise a smile every now and then.
Blame is a bullet that the world fires at an already wounded victim.
Author: Sue Klebold
Publisher: Ebury Publishing, Penguin
A Mother’s Reckoning – is a memoir by a mother on the aftermath of the Columbine Tragedy. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold kill twelve students and a teacher and wound twenty four others before taking their own lives. Sue Klebold, Dylan’s mother has lived with the indescribable grief and shame since April 20th, 1999. In a Mother’s Reckoning, she accounts with unflinching honesty her journey as a mother. She tells her story in full, drawing upon her personal journals, videos and writing of Dylan, left behind, and with countless interviews with mental health experts.
Each family’s recovery from loss is their own.
It’s written from the perspective of what actually happened in the Klebold’s family. The emotional turmoil the family suffers from the moment Sue receives a call from her husband, to the documents and videos and the difficult task of trying to unravel the mystery of a son they loved and thought they knew so well.
The second perspective is, Sue trying to understand the crucial intersection between mental health problems and violence. The mental health issues like depression and suicidal tendencies are linked to mass-murder. Sue is obsessed and convinced of those signs. The book addresses suicide/homicide causes and prevention. The factual portions are straining and stretched.
NUTs and BOLTs
- A tremendous job of expressing her experience of mourning.
- Hearing Sue Klebold tell her story, recollection of memories, a perspective of the massacre and its aftermath is unfolding. She talks about her son as baby, as a child, as an adolescent; about his silly, funny and embarrassing things he’d done before the massacre.
- I expected this to be a self-based memoir discussing her life post April 1999, which is largely the first half. The second half is about Sue’s recovery from the tragedy, researches she carried, educating herself on suicides and mental health and a call-to-action for the reader.