G1123 Book Review of The Storyteller's secret by Sejal Badani

Name of Book: The Storyteller's Secret

Author: Sejal Badani

ISBN: 978-1542048279

Publisher: Lake Uniion

Type of book: 1930s-1940s India, secrets, castes, fertility, miscarriages, time-slip, choices, storytelling, modern India, British Raj, Gandhi, freedom, school,

Year it was published: 2019

Summary:

From the bestselling author of Trail of Broken Wings comes an epic story of the unrelenting force of love, the power of healing, and the invincible desire to dream.

Nothing prepares Jaya, a New York journalist, for the heartbreak of her third miscarriage and the slow unraveling of her marriage in its wake. Desperate to assuage her deep anguish, she decides to go to India to uncover answers to her family’s past.

Intoxicated by the sights, smells, and sounds she experiences, Jaya becomes an eager student of the culture. But it is Ravi—her grandmother’s former servant and trusted confidant—who reveals the resilience, struggles, secret love, and tragic fall of Jaya’s pioneering grandmother during the British occupation. Through her courageous grandmother’s arrestingly romantic and heart-wrenching story, Jaya discovers the legacy bequeathed to her and a strength that, until now, she never knew was possible.

Characters:

Main characters include Jaya, a married woman who has suffered three miscarriages and in looking for answers to her questions about her family, as well as trying to find a new identity after her dissolution of marriage, she travels to India. Amisha is Jaya's grandmother who shares a lot of qualities with her unknown granddaughter. She has passed away when Jaya's mother was quite young but she is bright, memorable and has an amazing heart. There is also Ravi, an untouchable who started working for Amisha and the two have developed a very close friendship. (And yes, its a friendship.) There is also Stephen, a man of British Raj who kept urging Amisha to come out of her shell. (I have to say that their conversations and chemistry were the best parts of the book;) There is also Deepak, Amisha's husband from an arranged marriage who is very busy and seems to not fully understand his wife.

Theme:

Stories can be life and death for people

Plot:

The story is both in first and third person narratives. First person is from Jaya's perspective, while the third is from Amisha's point of view. Most of the tale also takes place in India. It also definitely qualifies as a time slip historical fiction, where a character from modern time learns a lesson from the past. The story itself was infused with tons of issues such as the role of British Raj in India, the idea of God and destiny versus fate as well as ideas of fighting back against destiny. There are also issues of fertility and of finding self. But the issues are balanced delicately and in truth despite the difficult topics, I feel as if the author hasn't given her readers the answers, aside from emphasizing the importance of stories.

Author Information:
(From the book)

A former attourney, Sejal Badani is the authro of the besteselling novel and Goodreads Fiction Awards finalist TRAIL OF BROKEN WINGS. WHen not writing, Sejal enjoys reading and traveling.

Buy the Book:
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Connect with the author:

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Opinion:

I have previously read Sejal Badani's TRAIL OF BROKEN WINGS few years back, which I've enjoyed a lot and was therefore really excited to get a chance to read her newest book: THE STORYTELLER'S SECRET. Although I have some history of reading fiction that takes place in India (mostly contemporary fiction,) I'm not quite sure how accurate the story could have been, but I was happy to suspend my belief and just get lost in the story that dares to teach the power of stories and of how beneficial stories can be for humanity. (Unfortunately I hadn't had a chance yet to read historical fiction set in India.) This tale was an emotional roller-coaster for me, much like TRAIL OF BROKEN WINGS and I was happy to have read it and fallen in love with it.

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4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

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