Monday, 23 March 2015

Book Review: A Love-Story for My Sister by Jaishree Misra.


Book: A Love Story For My Sister

Author: Jaishree Misra

Pages: 378

Read On: Paperback

How Long It Took Me To Read: 2 days

Plot Summary: 1857: Eighteen-year-old Margaret Wheeler, daughter of General Wheeler, is kidnapped during the uprising. 1997: Eighteen-year-old Delhi-schoolgirl, Tara Fernandez, is kidnapped and murdered. Two crimes of passion separated by 140 years but bound by strange similarities. In 2013, Tara's little sister, Pia, a young aspiring novelist, is investigating the curious story of Margaret, one of the first known 'victims' of the Stockholm Syndrome. When Pia stumbles upon Margaret's private journal and letters, she finally begins to understand how it might have been possible for that woman to fall in love with her captor. But the more compelling question before Pia is whether her sister might have been similarly in love. Why else had she not returned home when she clearly had the chance? But, if she had been in love, why was she eventually killed? Moving gracefully between the gruelling summer of 1850s Kanpur and the leaden grey winter of modern-day Delhi, Jaishree Misra weaves an intriguing tale of danger and violence and the human capacity for hope. 

General Thoughts: I've read a few Jaishree Misra books before and enjoyed my time with most of them...the last one I read by her was a disappointing read..Scandalous Secret...not nice. But the premise of this book drew me in and I had to give it a read. 

Things I Liked: 

1. The writing was really nice. This is the best writing I've read from the author. 

2. The pace of this book was fantastic. I just couldn't put it down. It was a perfect read for me since I was sick and very weak and this book and it's mystery and secrets kept me distracted from my sickness. A very good thing be! 

3.  This book is basically told from four perspectives- one from Pia's, one is Pia writing about Margaret Wheeler's story, Margaret's letters and diaries and then Tara's perspectives. All this leads to a very rich narrative. 

4. This is a time-split novel, parts of it set in 1857, 1997 and in 2013...I just love me some time-split stories. 

5. I am a massive history buff. Especially when it comes to Indian history. I loved the bits set in 1857, I thought the time period and it's nuances were fairly well captured by the author. 

6. I love books that make me think. Make me think of a topic from a different angle. This book did just that. It made me think of how the same historical event can be seen so differently by two sides/groups of people. People who are heroes for one side, are often seen as evil/villians by the opposite side. 

7. I loved Pia and Tara's family. Their dynamics and the way in which their life changes when Tara goes missing. 

8. Stockholm Syndrome is one of my favourite things...to read about. I have studied it a bit in college and university and I find it endlessly fascinating. This was pretty much the only reason I picked up this book. While this book didn't completely delve into Stockholm Syndrome in a great detail, it still touched upon the issue and how Margaret is somewhat affected by it. 

9. Tara's story was just heart-breaking and hard to read in bits (there are descriptions of sexual violence in this book, be warned if you are particularly sensitive to it.) 

10. I also really like Pia's time in Kanpur and her stay at a Pastor's house and her delving into the past. All of it made for very interesting reading. 

Things I Didn't Like: 

I was loving, LOVING this book and really enjoying my time with it till pretty much the very end. To be precise the last page...in the last few pages this book took a massive nosedive. It just went from Great to Crap. OK..maybe not crap but it felt like a total letdown. 

*SLIGHT SPOILER ALERT* To find a Atonement type of twist in the end was seriously infuriating. One, it's not original. Atonement did it and did it fantastically a couple of years and there was no need to replicate it here. Second, it was awful, awful to find out the all of Tara's perspective was basically Pia's imagination/wishful thinking. Gah! So annoying. 

Also not like we got to know for sure what Margaret's life was life. It was all a bit of guesswork and interpretation. 

Rating: 4/5 

Still a wonderful read and I would highly recommend this book...a really good read with a slightly abrupt and annoying ending.


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