Us against you 

June 16, 2018

Book : Us Against You

Author: Fredrik Backman

Rating: 5 /5

Synopsis

A small, broken town sits on the edge of a frozen lake surrounded by a forest, its wounds still raw from a tragedy that tore its fragile community in two.

Beartown has lost its way. Now the cold and dark that surround the snowbound town creep in, and so do new conflicts and tensions. What was once a friendly rivalry with the neighbouring town is beginning to turn sinister and Beartown braces itself for another tragic blow.

How far will the people of Beartown go to preserve their reputations for a second, deadly time?

Us Against You is a spell-binding exposition of small-town life in all its flawed complexity.

Review

I got Beartown as part of a Secret Santa conducted by  The Big Book Box. I buddy read it with Chitra and I fell in love with it. So when I came to knowing what that the next book in the series is coming this June, I was counting the days. So on June 14, I bought the ebook as I couldn’t wait for the paperback version.This is also part of my #pridereadathon reads as well as #bnbreadathon.

Beartown is a small town in Sweden, where Ice hockey is a religion.The story starts off where the last one ended. People who haven’t read the first book skip this paragraph. Most of the players and coach of Beartown Ice Hockey team have moved to Hed beacuse of the scandal that happened in the first book. Peter doesn’t know if he still will have a club, Peter and Kira’s marriage is falling apart. Amat and Benji still want to play for Beartown, Maya is still recuperating with Ana. When the politician Richard Theo offers to save the club, Peter can’t say no. Theo brings a new female hockey coach, who is no nonsense and has a don’t care attitude. She has only one objective to win.With  Amat, Benji and Bobo ,Zackell builds a  new  Beartown Ice Hockey  A team.Since most of the jobs and funding are going to Hed, people of Beartown are angry. When the town comes to know that their star player is gay, what will happen?

Will violence breakout in Beartown ?

Will Beartown Ice hockey team win against Hed this time?

What is the politician’s agenda?

Read to find out
I loved it a lot. The author just ripped my heart into pieces and walked away. I cried my heart out reading the last chapters. I don’t think I can read a book again😭. I have again fallen in love with Ice Hockey and the people of Beartown. This book has so many beautiful quotes that half of the time I was highlighting. I loved Elizabeth Zackell, she was badass. The first part of the book was a rehash of all the events that happened , i wasn’t sure whether something was going happen,but later you are pulled into the story.There were so many moments when my heart was in my mouth,so many places that i actually screamed “No, you cant do that to me”.  Benji was one of my favourite characters in the last book, and he still is ,my heart broke for him.I’m hoping there is a next book as i can’t get enough of Beartown.

Favourite Quotes

“It’s so easy to get people to hate one another. That’s what makes love so impossible to understand.Hate is so simple that it always ought to win.It’s an uneven fight”

“They run only where there are lights.The dont say anything but are both thinking the same thing:guys never think about light,it just isn’t a problem in their lives. When guys are scared of the dark,they’re scared of ghosts and monsters,but when girls are scaredof the dark,they’re scared of guys”

About the author

Fredrik Backman is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove (soon to be a major motion picture starring Tom Hanks), My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, Britt-Marie Was Here, Beartown, Us Against You, as well as two novellas, And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer and The Deal of a Lifetime. His books are published in more than forty countries. He lives in Stockholm, Sweden, with his wife and two children.

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Song of Achilles

June 10, 2018

Book : Song of Achilles

Author: Madeline Miller

Rating: 5 / 5

Synopsis

The legend begins…

Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the kingdom of Phthia to be raised in the shadow of King Peleus and his golden son, Achilles. “The best of all the Greeks”—strong, beautiful, and the child of a goddess—Achilles is everything the shamed Patroclus is not. Yet despite their differences, the boys become steadfast companions. Their bond deepens as they grow into young men and become skilled in the arts of war and medicine—much to the displeasure and the fury of Achilles’ mother, Thetis, a cruel sea goddess with a hatred of mortals.

When word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, the men of Greece, bound by blood and oath, must lay siege to Troy in her name. Seduced by the promise of a glorious destiny, Achilles joins their cause, and torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus follows. Little do they know that the Fates will test them both as never before and demand a terrible sacrifice.

Built on the groundwork of the Iliad, Madeline Miller’s page-turning, profoundly moving, and blisteringly paced retelling of the epic Trojan War marks the launch of a dazzling career.

Review

As I told in my Circe review , Greek mythology has always fascinated me. While Circe is based  on the Odyssey , Song of Achilles is based on Iliad. Iliad was one of my favourite stories,but i had always thought that Achilles was arrogant and a spoiled  also  I didn’t remember reading about Patroclus. This story is narrated by Patroclus, the son of Menoetius. It was good to hear the story from Patroclus’s perspective.

In the first part of the story , we get to know about the history of both Achilles and Patroclus..I never understood why Achilles’s mother wanted to make him a God , but after the birth story i totally understand her.Then the childhood of Patroclus and how he was exiled and becomes Achilles’s companion and how they fall in love.Achilles and Patroclus are sent to  learn from Chiron, the centaur.

Then comes the Troy war, the boys who are just fifteen are forced to become men, they lose their innocence too soon. When Achilles’s mother hears the prophecy that Achilles will not come back from the war, she tries to stop him. The boy who was supposed to be the greatest warrior in history has to choose between life and living up to the title of ‘Aristo Achaion’.I do not blame for his choice, how could he resist? Those who know the story there is no need for me to write further, for those who dont know, i suggest you read to find out.

The writing style is beautiful, i love Madeline Miller, she just pulls you into the story. Even though i knew the ending ,it made me cry. I was a mess while reading the last few chapters, i have never hated Achilles so much,though i could understand him. If you have seen the movie “Troy” you are going to be surprised when you read this , you will never believe that they both are based on the same story.Though i was familiar with the Troy war, it felt so different. This is was one of my reads for the #pridereadathon, hoping to read more.

About the author

Madeline Miller was born in Boston and grew up in New York City and Philadelphia. She attended Brown University, where she earned her BA and MA in Classics. For the last ten years she has been teaching and tutoring Latin, Greek and Shakespeare to high school students. She has also studied at the University of Chicago’s Committee on Social Thought, and in the Dramaturgy department at Yale School of Drama, where she focused on the adaptation of classical texts to modern forms. She currently lives in Cambridge, MA, where she teaches and writes. The Song of Achilles is her first novel.

Koi Good News

June 9, 2018

Book : Koi Good News

Author: Zareen Khan

Rating: 4 / 5

Synopsis

The hilarious private journal of a highly public pregnancy.

When Mona Mathur of Dehradun married her college sweetheart, Ramit Deol of Amritsar, there were two things she wasn’t prepared for:

1. The size of the Deol family – it put any Sooraj Barjatya movie to shame.

2. The fertility of the Deol family – they reproduced faster than any other species known to mankind.

It’s been four years since their wedding, and Mona and Ramit have done the unthinkable – they’ve remained childless. Of course, that also means that they’ve battled that one question day in and day out: ‘Koi Good News?’

It doesn’t matter that they have been happy to be child-free – they are married; they are expected to make babies. After all, there are grandparents, great-grandparents, uncles, aunts and even colony aunties in waiting.

Now, the truth is, Ramit and Mona had been trying to conceive for the past one year. But having a baby isn’t as easy as it’s made out to be.

Finally, aided by the wine at their highly glamorous neighbours’ party, Mona gets pregnant. And so begins a crazy journey – complete with interfering relatives, nosy neighbours, disapproving doctors, and absolutely no privacy!

Honest, relevant and thoroughly irreverent, Koi Good News? is the funniest book you’ll read this year.

Review

Mona and Ramit have been married for four years, they are hounded by questions of Koi good news at every turn. Both mother-in-laws are anxious to become grandparents and everyone keeps reminding Mona that girls have a biological clock.  The story is narrated by Mona and Ramit, it was fun to read about the same situation from different perspectives. The  story starts off at the last menstrual period and ends in the birth of their kid, the journey is hilarious.It takes through how Mona and Ramit live through that period which is filled with interfering relatives, two mother-in-laws and rich neighbours.

I loved it, had so much of fun reading, finished it in a day. The title is what which made me pick it up, I read the sample in the Kindle, and found it so funny. Since it has been 1 and half years after my marriage, Koi good news is a common question I hear from relatives, so it was east to connect to Mona. Ramit does remind me of my husband, as sometimes I feel he is married to the phone 😛. This book was so relate able to my current situation, people don’t understand that we are not  “baby making” machines. I did read parts of the book out to my husband, cause they were so good.We do want to have kids,right now we are not ready to take up the responsibility, when will people understand that.

Recommended for people looking for a fun read

Favourite Quotes

“When we married at the ripe old-age of twenty-seven, we thought we had finally escaped the ‘when are you getting married’ phase. But waitinng for me – for us -on the other side was the dark demon of ‘good news'”

 

 

 

The Good Mothers

June 8, 2018

Book : The Good Mothers

Author: Alex Perry

Rating: 5 /5

Synopsis

An unprecedented look inside a deadly and obscenely wealthy branch of the Italian mafia and the electrifying story of the women who risked everything to bring them down.

The Calabrian Mafia—known as the ’Ndrangheta—is one of the richest and most ruthless crime syndicates in the world, with branches stretching from America to Australia. It controls seventy percent of the cocaine and heroin supply in Europe, manages billion-dollar extortion rackets, brokers illegal arms deals—supplying weapons to criminals and terrorists—and plunders the treasuries of both Italy and the European Union.

The ’Ndrangheta’s power derives from a macho mix of violence and silence—omertà. Yet it endures because of family ties: you are born into the syndicate, or you marry in. Loyalty is absolute. Bloodshed is revered. You go to prison or your grave and kill your own father, brother, sister, or mother in cold blood before you betray The Family. Accompanying the ’Ndrangheta’s reverence for tradition and history is a violent misogyny among its men. Women are viewed as chattel, bargaining chips for building and maintaining clan alliances and beatings—and worse—are routine.

In 2009, after one abused ’Ndrangheta wife was murdered for turning state’s evidence, prosecutor Alessandra Cerreti considered a tantalizing possibility: that the ’Ndrangheta’s sexism might be its greatest flaw—and her most effective weapon. Approaching two more mafia wives, Alessandra persuaded them to testify in return for a new future for themselves and their children.

A feminist saga of true crime and justice, The Good Mothers is the riveting story of a high-stakes battle pitting a brilliant, driven woman fighting to save a nation against ruthless mafiosi fighting for their existence. Caught in the middle are three women fighting for their children and their lives. Not all will survive

Review

Thanks to Edelweiss and the publishers(William Morrow) for proving me an eARC

This is my second foray into the true crime genre , and i enjoyed it a lot . The story starts off with the disappearance of Lea Garofalo,the wife of the mafia leader (Carlo), who provided evidence to the state. Lea was the daughter of a mafia boss of ’Ndrangheta,  but she didn’t like the life of violence and submission. She eloped with Carlo, expecting that love was a way out from this life, but didn’t realise that her future husband only wanted a promotion in ’Ndrangheta, as her brother was one of the top leaders.Once she gives birth to Denise,for her daughter’s sake she escapes from the ‘Ndrangheta

The ’Ndrangheta was one of the most powerful mafia gangs of Italy. Their structure was built on family, they instilled obedience and loyalty through fear.Misogyny was  a way of life for them.Alessandra Cerreti, the state’s prosecutor decided to exploit this flaw to bring down this crime syndicate.She realised that women could be used to speak against them.When two mothers  also join to give evidence against Ndrangheta to give a better life to their children, Alessandra finds a way to bring out the most powerful mafia gang.

I enjoyed the writing style it was captivating. This is a well researched book, and the history of Ndrangheta is described very well. It was heartbreaking to read about the state of the women in  n.. I loved the strong female characters, who were courageous to come forward to the state to provide evidence

Favourite Quotes

“True respect was about involuntary admirance, not involuntary deference, and true family was about love, not mutual defense”

“To do her job and not be defined by it, to accept its restrictions and not be beaten by them,to face the threats of ten thousand mafiosi and respond with grace and elegance- that was true style and, in a world of male brutality,a display of adamant and unyielding feminity”


About the author

Alex Perry is a correspondent and author. He is the author of The Good Mothers, The Rift, Falling Off The Edge, and Lifeblood, as well as several ebooks. His journalism has appeared in The New Yorker, The Guardian, TIME, Newsweek, Roads and Kingdoms and others. Born in Philadelphia and raised in England, Perry lived and worked for 15 years in Asia and Africa. He now lives in Hampshire, England.

 

 

 

 

Murder with Cinnamon Scones

May 31, 2018

Book : Murder with Cinnamon Scones

Author: Karen Rose Smith

Rating: 3.75 / 5

Synopsis

Daisy Swanson and her Aunt Iris run a delightful shop in Pennsylvania’s Amish country with an emphasis on tasty teas and treats—but murder is not so sweet . . .

As local merchants unite to attract tourists for a much anticipated weekend quilting event, business is sure to spill over into eateries like Daisy’s Tea Garden. Gorgeous craftwork is hanging everywhere—but among the quilts, potholders, and placemats, one gallery owner is wrapped up in some dangerous affairs . . .

Reese Masemer had been dating one of Daisy’s employees, Tessa, an artist, though their last interaction was as strained as a cup of loose leaf tea. Now Reese has been found dead near a covered bridge where Tessa’s been practicing her sketches. She’s the obvious suspect, but Daisy’s learning that there were some major secrets in Reese’s background, and several of his relationships were infused with resentment. To save Tessa, she’ll have to find out who’s tainted this quaint little town with murder . . .

Review

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher(Kensington Books) for the review copy

The main protagonist of the story is Daisy who runs the Tea Garden with her aunt Iris. All local merchants are getting ready for the Quilt lovers weekend . In the meanwhile Jonas gives out mixed signals and Daisy is confused about their relationship.When her best friend and coworker, Tessa gets accused of the murder of her boyfriend,Reese; Daisy steps in to help.When facts about Reese’s past crop up, everyone realizes that they didn’t know Reese so well.
Who killed Reese?

Was it someone from his past?

Or someone in the present?

Read to find out
I feel like it is been long since I read a cozy culinary mystery, I was trying out other genres and this month had a lot of readathons finally I’m back to my comfort reads.  I loved reading about the Tea Garden, their different types of teas and goodies. There were times when I wanted to go into the book, just to sample the desserts, the shoofly pie, scones.. This is the second book in the series, I haven’t read the first, but I didn’t feel lost. I loved Daisy and Jonas and all the characters. I never suspected the killer at all , it was a blow to my detective skills. Overall a great cozy mystery , i enjoyed it a lot

Recommended for readers who love cozy mysteries

 

About the author

Award-winning author Karen Rose Smith was born in Pennsylvania. Although she was an only child, she remembers the bonds of an extended family. Family is a strong theme in her books and she suspects her childhood memories are the reason.

In college, Karen began writing poetry and also met her husband to be. They both began married life as teachers, but when their son was born, Karen decided to try her hand at a home-decorating business.

She returned to teaching for a while but changes in her life led her to writing relationship novels. Now she writes romances as well as mysteries full time. Her first book was published in 1992; her 80th novel will be published in 2013. A winner of New Jersey’s Golden Leaf Award in Short Contemporary Romance, Colorado Romance Writers Award Of Excellence for short contemporary, as well as the Phoenix Desert Rose Chapter’s Golden Quill for Traditional Romance, she has also been honored with Cataromance.com’s award for Best Special Edition and Washington Romance Writers Career Achievement Award. Her romances have made both the USA TODAY list and the Amazon Romance and Contemporary Romance Bestseller lists.

She has written for Meteor/Kismet, Kensington, Silhouette and Harlequin. Readers can contact Karen through her website, on Facebook (Karen Rose Smith Author) and on Twitter @ Karenrosesmith. They can also follow her monthly e-zine IN TOUCH with KAREN ROSE SMITH which has the latest news about her books, recipes and contests.

 

 

 

Circe

May 24, 2018

Book : Circe

Author: Madeline Miller

Rating: 5/5

Synopsis

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child–not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power–the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.

Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.

But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.

With unforgettably vivid characters, mesmerizing language and page-turning suspense, Circe is a triumph of storytelling, an intoxicating epic of family rivalry, palace intrigue, love and loss, as well as a celebration of indomitable female strength in a man’s world.

Review

I have always been fascinated by mythology . Greek and Indian are my favourites. I have book called Greek Mythology , so i’m familiar with most of the Gods, their origin etc.I have also read Iliad and Odysseys ,so i remember that Odysseus did go to an island and encountered a witch who turned people into animals,but i didn’t know her name. This story is about her , Circe (Ker-kay), the daughter of the sun god Helios and Perse, a nymph. Circe didn’t possess neither the beauty  nor the powers to attract a God. Her yellow eyes and hawk like voice made her different from other nymphs, even from her siblings.Later she is exiled to Aiaia due to a transgression, and she that she has  the power of witchcraft. At Aiaia she learns to hone her powers and rely on herself.

Throughout the story we get to meet various Greek characters like Minotaur, Daedalus, Odysseus, Penelope, Hermes, Scylla, Prometheus, Jason and lots more. Madeline Miller changes our perception of Circe, she makes us fall in love with her. From a witch who turned sailors to pigs to a woman who fought for herself. Though i was familiar with most of the stories , it was different to hear things from Circe’s perspective.Even Though it is a retelling,it was easy to draw parallels to the current world.

The writing style is beautiful, and i couldn’t stop reading the book. I was back again in the world of Greek Mythology.Circe has become one of my favourite characters. A woman who was scorned by everyone, moves on to  become one of the most powerful witches of all time. She was someone who knew her strengths and weaknesses.  I’m in love with the cover, i really want to buy the physical book to just look at it .

Recommended for readers who love Mythology

About the author

Madeline Miller was born in Boston and grew up in New York City and Philadelphia. She attended Brown University, where she earned her BA and MA in Classics. For the last ten years she has been teaching and tutoring Latin, Greek and Shakespeare to high school students. She has also studied at the University of Chicago’s Committee on Social Thought, and in the Dramaturgy department at Yale School of Drama, where she focused on the adaptation of classical texts to modern forms. She currently lives in Cambridge, MA, where she teaches and writes. The Song of Achilles is her first novel.

Crimson Ash

May 16, 2018

Book : Crimson Ash

Author: Haley Sulich

Rating: 3 / 5

crimsonash

Synopsis

You may live as a soldier or face death. Choose wisely.

Solanine Lucille wants her little sister back. Eight years ago, the government kidnapped her sister Ember, stole her memories, and transformed her into a soldier. But Solanine refuses to give up. Now that she and her fiancé have located the leader of a rebel group, she believes she can finally bring Ember home. But then the soldiers raid the rebels, killing her fiancé and leaving Solanine alone with her demons and all the weapons needed for revenge.

After raiding a rebel camp, sixteen-year-old Ember doesn’t understand why killing some boy bothers her. She’s a soldier—she has killed hundreds of people without remorse. But after she fails a mission, the rebels hold her hostage and restore her memories. Ember recognizes her sister among the rebels and realizes the boy she killed was Solanine’s fiancé.

Ember knows she can’t hide the truth forever, but Solanine has secrets too.

As their worlds clash, the two sisters must decide if their relationship is worth fighting for. And one wrong move could destroy everything—and everyone—in their path.

Review

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher(Write Plan) for the review copy

The world is infected by the Devil’s Dream virus, the people affected become robotic soldiers with no memories of their past. These soldiers hunt other survivors and  offer them a choice ,either live as a soldier  in the City of Graven or die. Solanine’s sister,Ember was captured by them, they have erased her memories and made her a soldier. Solanine along with her fiance , Quill are in the quest to find her, they seek help from the rebel camp led by Nightshade. Nightshade has found a way to bring back the memories of the soldiers. But the day they reach the camp there is an ambush, Quill gets captured by Ember’s team. When offered a choice , Quill begs Ember to remember him, when she does not chooses death. Later Nightshade’s team manages to capture Ember  and they bring back her memories.

Will Ember come back to normal ?

Can Solanine forgive Ember for killing Quill ?

Can Nightshade overthrow the government ?

Read to find out

I have mixed emotions about this book. It is fast paced and action packed , but i felt something was missing. The narrative is interspersed with the perspective of Ember and Solaine , whereas  Ember’s chapters are told in first person, Solanine were in third person, this was confusing  at times. The story is pretty dark and gory and talks about  alcoholism,suicide and grief. The concept and the world building was good , but the execution fell flat. My favourite character was Kane , for always being there for Solanine. I still don’t understand the connection of the story with the title

Bahama Mama

May 10, 2018

Book :  Bahama Mama ( Key West Escape #2)

Author: Tricia Leedom

Rating: 3.5 /5

bm.JPG

Synopsis

Troubles are piling up for Molly MacBain. Between navigating the moods of an increasingly sassy teenage daughter, battling mounting financial difficulties, and wading through a mess of custody issues, Molly certainly doesn’t need any more stress in her life. But when she learns that her best friend, Sophie, has been keeping a huge secret from her, she’s beyond bowled over. Apparently, Sophie’s soon-to-be brother-in-law is Molly’s idol, country music superstar Anders Ostergaard and after years on the country music circuit herself, Molly finds herself somewhere between smitten and awe-struck.

Anders flies to Key West to attend his brother’s wedding and keep a low profile after a wicked scandal continues to follow him around like a lurking shadow. Usually, he has a strict rule about getting involved with fans, especially fiery, red-headed hot mamas like Molly MacBain, but her sharp wit and refreshing openness draws him in like no one has before.

But romance and flirting come to a screeching halt, when Molly’s daughter witnesses a murder and winds up in Jamaica. Anders offers Molly the use of his private plane to bring her home and together, they set off for Montego Bay. Between racing against her ex’s impending involvement and the hitman hunting for the witnesses to his crime, both Molly and Anders are completely unaware they’re being stalked by an even greater danger.

In the sultry Caribbean, Anders and Molly discover when a man who’s sworn off love and a woman who guards her heart can’t keep their hands off of each other, something’s gotta give. If their luck doesn’t run out first.

Review

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher(Firefly Hill Press) for the review copy

This is the second book in the Key West Escape Series. The story starts off with Sophie and Jimmy’s wedding .Anders, the celebrity singer comes to Key West for his brother’s wedding. Molly Macbain is the bride’s best friend, she is also a country singer and has a huge crush on Anders. When Molly come face to face with Anders,her UAC (Unattainable crush), she is flustered and nervous. When sparks begin to fly between them, Molly resists as she doesn’t want to be “another notch on his bedpost”.When Molly’s daughter Cheyenne gets into trouble, Anders helps. They set out to find Cheyenne together, and realise that they enjoy  each other’s company.

Why is Cheyenne in trouble ?

Are Molly and Anders falling in love ?

Read to find out.

When you read too many romance stories , you know the plot by heart even before you start. This was a cute story, with the usual plot, though it had a twist in the end ,it didn’t surprise me much. It is a fast paced book,and has action and romance.Anders was the rich handsome rake , a celebrity country singer. Molly , the single parent , trying hard to make ends meet. They meet and chemistry does the rest. Though i didn’t read the first book in the series , i didn’t feel lost , this can be read as a standalone,but the ending does make you want to read the next book. My favourite character was Molly

Recommended for romance and chick lit readers

 

 

When I Hit You

May 7, 2018

Book : When I Hit You : Or, A Portrait of the Writer as a Young Wife

Author: Meera Kandasamy

Rating: 5 / 5

MEera

Synopsis

From one of India’s boldest and most badass young voices, When I Hit You is a dazzling and provocative novel of an abusive marriage.

Seduced by politics, poetry and an enduring dream of building a better world together, the unnamed narrator falls in love with a university professor. Moving with him to a rain-washed coastal town, she swiftly learns that what for her is a bond of love is for him a contract of ownership. As he sets about reducing her to his idealised version of an obedient wife, bullying her and devouring her ambition of being a writer in the process, she attempts to push back – a resistance he resolves to break with violence and rape.

Review

I came across this book first in my friend Chitra‘s feed , and then I came to know it was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2018. It is a difficult book to read , the narrative is brutal and raw. The story is narrated by an unnamed narrator who has left her husband and come home, it takes us through the reasons that led her here.

The narrator who went through a bad breakup gets married to a college professor who follows the Communist ideals . She moves in with him in Mangalore, from there starts the ordeal. She is stripped of her freedom and dignity and just becomes a puppet which he keeps. She who is a writer and feminist , who considers herself one of the strong woman becomes a victim of domestic abuse and marital rape.

The age old question of why she did stay with him gets answered with a question from her father what will the world say. The mother says “Marriage is not magic”, learn to be silent and don’t make him angry. The wife is supposed to be submissive and not give reasons to make the husband angry. Everyone is so concerned about what the society thinks,no one considers the plight of the trapped woman.The author says the society accepts woman who ran from death rather than the ones who ran from their husbands The author also talks about marital rape,how the husband considers that having sex is a right which they  have acquired along with the marriage.

The writing style is so beautiful,I now understand what lyrical prose means. Each chapter starts with a quote, loved them.It is a short book, but the content makes it hard to read at one go.My heart broke for the narrator,and the fact that is loosely based on the author’s life hurts me more.I dont think this review does justice to the book , this is one of the books which will stay with me

Recommended for everyone

Favourite Quotes

” Sometimes the shame is not  the beatings,not the rape. The shame is n being asked to stand to judgement”

About the author

Ilavenil Meena Kandasamy (born 1984) is an Indian poet, fiction writer, translator and activist who is based in ChennaiTamil Nadu, India.[1] Most of her works are centered on feminism and the anti-caste Caste Annihilation Movement of the contemporary Indian milieu.

As of 2013, Meena has published two collections of poetry namely, Touch (2006) and Ms. Militancy (2010). Two of her poems have won accolades in all-India poetry competitions. From 2001-2002, she edited The Dalit, a bi-monthly alternative English magazine of the Dalit Media Network.[2]

She has also represented India at the University of Iowa‘s International Writing Program and was a Charles Wallace India Trust Fellow at the University of KentCanterbury, United Kingdom.

Apart from her literary works, she is vocal about various contemporary political issues relating to caste, corruption, violence, and women’s rights in more ways than one. She has an influential and regular social media presence, through her Facebook and Twitter handles. She also writes columns for platforms like Outlook India[3] and The Hindu,[4]occasionally.[5] This was primarily brought to light during the beef controversy at the Osmania University in Hyderabad in 2012.

All the Ever Afters

May 5, 2018

Book : All the Ever Afters  : The Untold Story of Cinderella’s step mother

Author: Danielle Teller

Rating: 4 / 5

Synopsis

In the vein of WickedThe Woodcutter, and Boy, Snow, Bird, a luminous reimagining of a classic tale, told from the perspective of Agnes, Cinderella’s “evil” stepmother.

We all know the story of Cinderella. Or do we?

As rumors about the cruel upbringing of beautiful newlywed Princess Cinderella roil the kingdom, her stepmother, Agnes, who knows all too well about hardship, privately records the true story…

A peasant born into serfdom, Agnes is separated from her family and forced into servitude as a laundress’s apprentice when she is only ten years old. Using her wits and ingenuity, she escapes her tyrannical matron and makes her way toward a hopeful future. When teenaged Agnes is seduced by an older man and becomes pregnant, she is transformed by love for her child. Once again left penniless, Agnes has no choice but to return to servitude at the manor she thought she had left behind. Her new position is nursemaid to Ella, an otherworldly infant. She struggles to love the child who in time becomes her stepdaughter and, eventually, the celebrated princess who embodies everyone’s unattainable fantasies. The story of their relationship reveals that nothing is what it seems, that beauty is not always desirable, and that love can take on many guises.

Lyrically told, emotionally evocative, and brilliantly perceptive, All the Ever Afters explores the hidden complexities that lie beneath classic tales of good and evil, all the while showing us that how we confront adversity reveals a more profound, and ultimately more important, truth than the ideal of “happily ever after.”

Review

Thanks to Edelweiss and the publishers(William Morrow) for proving me an eARC

A  beautiful retelling of Cinderella , from the step mother’s perspective.Cinderella was always one of my favourite fairy tales , so i was excited to read it from the Step mother’s POV. As i started the story i realised that i didn’t even know her name it was always “the wicked stepmother”, who made Cinderella , do all the work and pampered her own daughters. So let me tell you , her name was Agnes, by the time i finished the book i actually felt sad for her ( I can’t believe it myself  that i would feel bad for her).

Agnes was sent to work at a manor house, as her family was too poor to support her. She worked as a laundry girl when she was just 10 years old ,under the cruel reign of the head laundress , Laura. When an opportunity arose , she managed to escape her role, and became a  chambermaid to another lady. Later  circumstances bring her back to the manor house, and she becomes the nurse of Ella , whom we later know as Cinderella.

The cover reminded of all the fairytales I have read and that is what that attracted me in the first place. The story removes all the magic which was involved in the fairytale, but i loved how everything is connected to the original fairy tale. The writing style is good, and i didn’t have to skip over the descriptions. The story is neither fast paced nor dragging. Most of the characters were realistic, they were shades of grey. The women in that era, were nothing without a man, that part stung .

Recommended for fantasy readers

 

About the author

Danielle Teller (formerly Morse, née Dyck) grew up in Canada, where she and her two brothers were raised by the best parents in the world. As a child, she was a bookworm who dreamed of being a writer, but she chickened out and went to medical school instead. In 1994, she moved temporarily to America, and she has been living temporarily in America ever since.

Danielle attended Queen’s University during her undergraduate years, and she received her medical training at McGill University, Brown University and Yale University. She has held faculty positions at the University of Pittsburgh and Harvard University, where she investigated the origins of chronic lung disease and taught in the medical intensive care unit.

In 2013, Danielle quit her job to pursue her childhood dream of being a writer. She lives with her husband, Astro Teller, and their four children in Palo Alto, California. She is currently working on her second novel.