The Sari Shop Widow – Shobhan Bantwal

Title: The Sari Shop Widow
Author: Shobhan Bantwal
ISBN: 9780758232021
Pages: 352
Release Date: August 25, 2009
Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Multicultural Fiction, Women’s Fiction
Source: Author
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

From the publisher’s website:

Since becoming a widow at age twenty-seven, Anjali Kapadia has devoted herself to transforming her parents’ sari shop into a chic boutique, brimming with exquisite jewelry and clothing. Now, ten years later, it stands out like a proud maharani amid Edison’s bustling Little India. But when Anjali learns the shop is on the brink of bankruptcy, she feels her world unraveling…

To the rescue comes Anjali’s wealthy, dictatorial Uncle Jeevan and his business partner, Rishi Shah—a mysterious Londoner, complete with British accent, cool gray eyes, and skin so fair it makes it hard to believe he’s Indian. Rishi’s cool, foreign demeanor triggers distrust in Anjali and her mother. But for Anjali, he also stirs something else, a powerful attraction she hasn’t felt in a decade. And the feeling is mutual…

Love disappointed Anjali once before and she’s vowed to live without it—though Rishi is slowly melting her resolve and, as the shop regains its footing, gaining her trust. But when a secret from Rishi’s past is revealed, Anjali must turn to her family and her strong cultural upbringing to guide her in finding the truth…

I’ve really enjoyed Shobhan Bantwal’s books.  Her novels The Dowry Bride and The Forbidden Daughter [review] both dealt with controversial subjects in Indian society.  They were engaging novels that I thoroughly enjoyed reading, so when I heard she had another novel coming out, I couldn’t resist it!  The Sari Shop Widow is lighter in tone than Bantwal’s previous books, but it’s just as captivating.

I absolutely loved the character of Anjali.  She was smart and savvy, a real role model for younger women, especially Indian girls.  Though she had a breakdown after her husband died, she rebuilt her life, pouring her energy into something productive.  It was great to see her declare that her life was not over, even though her husband had died.  I also liked how vulnerable Anjali was.  I could feel her anguish at the prospect of losing her shop.  I could feel her anger at the thought that outsiders might be coming in and taking it over.  Bantwal did a great job of developing Anjali and making her seem like a real person

I also appreciated how modern The Sari Shop Widow is.  A lot of stories about Indians set in America tend to be fantasy stories in some ways – Indians residing in the United States, but living exactly as they would have if they had stayed in India.  When you live in a foreign country, that culture will rub off on you.  I liked that Bantwal incorporated both the traditional and the modern in this novel.  For example, Anjali lives with her parents even though she is a thirty-seven year old widow, though there are also some practical reasons for that.  However, Anjali also has a life of her own, one that she keeps secret from her parents.  It’s a delicate balance that takes a deft hand to achieve, and Bantwal does it well.

The story of The Sari Shop Widow is a bit of a fairy tale, but in a good way.  I loved how Rishi came in as a knight in shining armor in order to save the shop, but Anjali wasn’t having any of it.  It really reinforced the idea that she is a modern woman and wanted to be saved through her own hard work, not rescued by some guy she doesn’t know.  Though the story focuses much more on Anjali’s development rather than the saving the store, I enjoyed reading about how they turned the shop around.  I would have love more details on it.

The Sari Shop Widow was a book I simply couldn’t put down.  It was fun and easy to read; I felt like the pages flew by.  This is a great book for a lot of different audiences because it incorporates so many different genres – I highly recommend it!

Comments

  1. This is free for the Kindle right now, so I downloaded it yesterday. I’m thrilled to see it’s so good!

  2. This is free for the Kindle right now, so I downloaded it yesterday. I’m thrilled to see it’s so good!

  3. I’m so happy to read your review. Like Kathy, I took Amazon up on their FREE offer of this novel yesterday. It’s free to Kindle owners until the end of August (I think). Great review!

  4. I’m so happy to read your review. Like Kathy, I took Amazon up on their FREE offer of this novel yesterday. It’s free to Kindle owners until the end of August (I think). Great review!

  5. I’ve wanted to read this one since I first saw the cover and read the title. Looks so good!

  6. I’ve wanted to read this one since I first saw the cover and read the title. Looks so good!

  7. You sold it to me! It looks wonderful and now it’s on my wish list.

  8. You sold it to me! It looks wonderful and now it’s on my wish list.

  9. Great review! I really want to read this book now 🙂 I’ve added it to my to-read list and can’t wait to get my hands on a copy.

  10. Great review! I really want to read this book now 🙂 I’ve added it to my to-read list and can’t wait to get my hands on a copy.

  11. I want to read this book — the cover is just gorgeous! Another reason to be jealous of Kathy and her Kindle! 😉

  12. I want to read this book — the cover is just gorgeous! Another reason to be jealous of Kathy and her Kindle! 😉

  13. Wow! The book cover is just awesome… and the story line sounds something i will like!

  14. Wow! The book cover is just awesome… and the story line sounds something i will like!

  15. Great review; i am waiting for this one!

  16. Great review; i am waiting for this one!

  17. Wow. Ok this really does sound good. I like perspective.

  18. Wow. Ok this really does sound good. I like perspective.

  19. Just saw that the first two are available for the Sony.

  20. Just saw that the first two are available for the Sony.

  21. nice to read the review… Will place the author on my wish list!

  22. nice to read the review… Will place the author on my wish list!

  23. I can’t wait to read this one!

  24. I can’t wait to read this one!

  25. M. L. Kiner says:

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  26. M. L. Kiner says:

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  27. great review. This sounds like an interesting book and I’ve never heard of the author before. Thanks!

  28. great review. This sounds like an interesting book and I’ve never heard of the author before. Thanks!

  29. I read The Forbidden Daughter and I really liked it, this one is going on my TBR list!

    Carey

  30. I read The Forbidden Daughter and I really liked it, this one is going on my TBR list!

    Carey

  31. This sounds really good. Thanks for the recommendation.

    –Anna
    Diary of an Eccentric

  32. This sounds really good. Thanks for the recommendation.

    –Anna
    Diary of an Eccentric

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