Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Waiting of Wednesday: The Sari Shop Widow

Hosted by Jill, at Breaking the Spine, Here's my pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection:

The Sari Shop Widow

Author: Shobhan Bantwal
Pub. Date: August 25th


Accomplished storyteller Shobhan Bantwal immediately grabs your attention and doesn't let go until the last word with her latest romantic novel, The Sari Shop Widow.

Bantwal has authored two previous novels with an Indian setting, both of which have tales woven around hot-button social issues. She decided to set The Sari Shop Widow in the United States in order to give her readers a glimpse into the lives of Indian Immigrants. Nonetheless, her deep interest in women’s issues resonates in this book as well.

Anjali Kappadia is The Sari Shop Widow. She lives with her family in Jackson Heights, New Jersey or as it is referred to as Little India. The characters are so vivid that you befriend the whole family and can’t wait to avidly read their charming story. You are even sorry that it ends.

Anjali, despite her westernization, is deeply rooted in her traditionalism. She knows how Gujarati widows lead a rough life in India, however, in the West her situation is not as precarious. She is a 37- year old widow who lost her husband to an aneurysm a few years ago. Her heart is still numb with pain as she returns to live with her parents and her brother. She throws herself into working at her parent's store, Silk & Saphires where she designs luxury saris and wedding attire for the Indian immigrants who are still holding on to their traditions. Her only relief is her secret white Protestant boyfriend, Kip Rowling.

Apparently, they are into deep financial trouble and Anjali’s stern uncle Jeevan is coming from India to “fix” things up to the dismay of Anjali and her mom Usha.

Jeevan is an autocratic man with an agenda of his own. His entry into the lives of the Kappadias apparently disrupts their daily lives, until they discover his secret and his true self. Jeevan brings with him his friend and business partner, Rishi Shah, a reluctant and unwelcome third party who will fix their financial woes by transforming Silk & Sapphires into a bigger modern store.

We can guess from his good looks that Anjali is going to fall in love with him. But, first, he has to gain her trust, and that is something she is not ready to give, especially that she knows that he had a girl friend, Samantha, in England.

Will they get together Indian style with the approval of her family? Will Samantha be out of the picture?

Bantwal’s writing is fluid; there is a lively chatter throughout the novel. The story permeates with the smells and tastes of Gujarati cooking. Her descriptions of saris and salwar kameez and Indian fashion generally are tactile and vivid. We can readily see the beautiful silks and jewelery. We really feel that we are in Little India. Although, her sex scenes are a trifle genteel as if the author was embarrassed for fear of being too risqué, nonetheless they still were quite titillating.

(I love the cover and the sound of this one). What's your pick for this week?

You still have a few days left to enter my giveaway.


  1. I fell for the cover too, and had to read every word and yes it has made me very interested. I will have to check when this one comes out.

  2. sounds like a really good read. Lovee the title and the cover too.

  3. I love the cover and title of that book too!

  4. This one sounds good. I may have to add it to the wish list, as well. I'm a sucker for immigrant tales and books dealing with women's issues. Have you read Digging to America, by Anne Tyler? It deals with the struggle between assimilation and tradition for two families who adopt Korean daughters. I really enjoyed it.

  5. I am such a sucker for a great cover!!! I love it and would've picked it up just on that alone. I like the idea of the setting being in the US but revolving around her adjusting to a different way of life! Beautiful pick and one that I'm going to add to my list!

  6. Yes, Love the cover! Just beautiful.

  7. The cover is gorgeous and the story sounds good too. I'm making a note of this one!

  8. This sucked me in...going on the list! Great find!

  9. This sounds fantastic. Thanks for highlighting it. Another one for the wishlist. :-)

  10. I've never heard of this one but it does sound really good Diane.

  11. I just heard about your post :) I'm coordinating a virtual tour for Shobhan for September and can't wait to share this book with readers. I just finished reading it this weekend and loved it. If anyone would like to take a look at the tour info - its posted here

    Nikki Leigh

  12. Diane & everyone who commented,

    Hi, I'm Shobhan Bantwal, author of THE SARI SHOP WIDOW. I'm thrilled to see so much interest in my upcoming book and the kind comments on the cover and the review by BookPleasures.

    I sincerely hope all of you will read the book and join me on my Virtual blog tours through Sept and Oct. Nikki Leigh has mentioned it in her comment.

    My deep appreciation to all of you for taking the time to post your enthusiastic remarks on this lovely blog by Diane.

    Happy Reading and Good Karma!

    Shobhan Bantwal


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