Renita D'Silva

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14 teosta 114 jäsentä 14 arvostelua

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This is a dual timeline historical fiction by Indian author Renita D’Silva set in 1920s India and contemporary England. The story shifts between Emma dealing with an unpleasant discovery about her partner and her grandmother’s tragic early life in WWI England and then rural India. When Emma visits her grandmother Margaret she is given a painting and the title deeds to a house in India. Margaret begs her to go to India, find Archana, and beg her forgiveness.

Emma discovers the story of Margaret, the love of her life Suraj and their maid Archana. It takes in the hardships of the war, colonialism in India, the brutality of the caste system, and the practice of Sati (suttee) where a bride is thrown on her husband’s funeral pyre. There is romance, betrayal and the pull between duty and personal fulfillment. The story also highlights the rift between a desire to do good and the consequences of cultural interference and misunderstanding.

This was an engaging, poignant read with some powerful messages. I found myself intrigued by and invested in Margaret’s story although Emma’s story fell flat for me. I would love to read another book by this author. 4.5 stars.
… (lisätietoja)
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mimbza | 3 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Apr 17, 2024 |
20th-century, domestic-life, India, grief, grieving, family, family-drama, family-dynamics, family-expectations, family-history, recipes, relatives, relationships, religious-practices, London, loneliness, culinary, cultural-exploration, cultural-heritage, cultural-differences, dual-narrators, dual-timeframes, historical-novel, historical-research, historical-setting, history-and-culture, audiobook*****

A very moving and exceptional narrative involving generational women beginning in India before WW2 and stretching to 1980s London. Life was different for women everywhere in those days and the cultural aspects are unfortunately similar in that respect. This is a very emotional story but also a peek into lives in different times and places. An excellent read, but not a light one. I read it over a weekend and loved it.
Nikki Patel is an excellent voice actor for this novel.
I requested and received a temporary audio copy from Bolinda Audio via NetGalley. Thank you!
… (lisätietoja)
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jetangen4571 | 2 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Feb 11, 2024 |
The Spicemaker's Secret was published last month on January 3, 2024. It took me awhile to become interested in the story. As I was approaching my personal 50 page limit for a book to engage me or stop reading when suddenly the story grabbed me with full force. It is without question a heartwrenching story about love and betrayal.

The publisher's summary:

Trapped in an unhappy marriage, Bindu is desperately lonely. Before her wedding, she was a highly sought-after cook and although she is not allowed into the kitchen in her new house, she can still taste chilli on her tongue and remember the feel of ground turmeric on her fingers. She finds solace in writing recipes and creating new spice mixes, hoping to pass them down to her unborn child. But when her jealous husband finds out, he confines Bindu to her room alone. As she goes into labour, Bindu is trapped and desperately afraid for her child’s life. Even a recipe cannot rescue her this time. Will she and her baby find a way to survive 1990, London. Eve’s most treasured gift from her beloved adopted father was a hand-written Indian recipe book. Grieving his death, she begins to grind and mix the spices penned so carefully in the recipes. Do the crumbling pages hold the key to uncovering the secrets of her past? Her father never spoke of her birth mother, finding it too painful to talk about his time in India. But now he’s gone, Eve is desperate to understand where she comes from. Will finding her birth family, lost for so long, help Eve to find her place in the world, or will it tear her apart?

The story is told in a dual timeline between Bindu in 1930s India and Eve in England in the 1990s. I could not see any connection between the two until close to the end of the novel. Most of the book was about Bindu with just two pages concerning Eve's mother inserted occasionally. I thought the Eve story was boring until the ending when the connection became clear.

Bindu's challenges in life made her a compelling heroine. I could not help but root for her to have success in life. Life continued to knock her down but she always got up and kept going. She had incredible coping skills. Bindu's grandmother Ajii was equally heroic and at least half of the story was hers. Ajii was a lovable woman who bent over backwards to ensure that Bindu became successful when she grew up. The villains in the story were Bindu and Ajii's landlord and his son. If you've ever had a landlord you know that they tend to cause whatever trouble they can for their tenants. I thought son Guru was the biggest villain because of his awful treatment of Bindu after their marriage. He was solicitous of her until the wedding. He then became an overbearing husband, which confused Bindu. She expected to be treated the same as she was before the marriage.

As I mentioned above, the story is told in a dual timeline. Most of the story was about Bindu and rightly so. She is the heroine. Bindu’s family is extremely poor and her mother dies giving birth to her. Consequently, the village that she has been raised in considers her to be bad luck. The villagers constantly whisper that she is the cause of both her parent's death which confirms that she is bad luck. Bindu is raised by her grandmother, Ajii, in a one room hut. Ajii is fiercely protective and loves Bindu wholeheartedly. She feels that Bindu is not bad luck at all and that the double crown she was born with confirms that assessment. I had to google double crowns. Apparently it refers to their being two whorls in the hair. Bindu has many gifts, among them being the cooking skills that she learned from her grandmother who cooks for the big landowner in exchange for rent. Bindu's dreams of being independent and going off to college are supported by Ajii but, of course, that are obstacles in the way.

I loved reading The Spice Maker's Secret. Historical fiction fans will enjoy it too.
… (lisätietoja)
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Violette62 | 2 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Jan 26, 2024 |
Heartbreaking and fabulous!

A mesmerising tale that transports us between two women and two different times. Between Bindu in Suryanagar, India and Eva in London, from 1924 to 1980. Mother and daughter, lost to each other.
Loss and love in both lives. Going between Bindu’s story, her fight for the well being of her villagers, her husband, the traditions she doesn’t want to adhere to, her temperament and that of her husband’s, leading to tragedy.
And Eva, dealing with alienation and incredible loss.
When Eva finally takes the step of going to India, healing can begin. The daffodils can bloom.
Read and weep!

A Bookouture ARC via NetGalley.
Many thanks to the author and publisher.
… (lisätietoja)
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eyes.2c | 2 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Jan 15, 2024 |


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