The Storyteller's Secretby Sejal Badani Published 01 Sep 2018
|The Storyteller's Secret.pdf|
|Publisher||Lake Union Publishing|
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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.
"The Storyteller's Secret" Reviews
This was my choice for this month's free Amazon prime book and I was very disappointed. If you know nothing about India or Indian culture and you don't mind a very predictable book with few twists or turns, then I'm sure it's an acceptable novel. If you do know even the basics about India then you'll soon spot it's a bit of a mess.
Jaya lives in America and decides to take a trip to India after suffering her third miscarriage and the breakdown of her marriage. She's responding to a letter her mother received from Jaya's grandfather asking her to return to India and learn something about his wife. If Jaya's mother won't go - and she clearly won't - then Jaya figures a bit of India might be just what she needs. By the time Jaya arrives, her grandfather has gone and she's left with her grandmother's friend and servant, Ravi, to tell her about the past.
Nothing about this book rings true. My irritation started with Jaya arriving at an airport whose description is completely unrealistic. You don't find beggars INSIDE an Indian airport (it's not a railway station) and they don't call an NRI woman 'memsahib'. I've been going to India for over 25 years as a white European and I've never heard the word used. She takes a 'rickshaw' for 45 minutes - even assuming she means an autorickshaw or tuk tuk, most airports don't allow them to pick up. She looks out of the 'open window' - despite autorickshaws and cycle rickshaws having no windows. She comments about scarves that would cost hundreds of dollars in the USA costing '5 rupees'. It's all just fantasy. I can't help but wonder if she has even been to India. I think this is set in the late 1980s or 1990s because nobody has a mobile phone - yet Jaya is supposed to be writing a blog. Blogs didn't exist at that time. If it's supposed to be a current day story, then Jaya logically would too old to be going through all her miscarriages. It's all very inconsistent.
That's all just in the first few chapters. The errors in the grandmother's story are even more extreme. Her grandmother is supposed to be a simple girl who only had a few years of schooling in Hindi but she speaks English with a bizarre eloquence despite not being able to write or read a word of the language. She invites an untouchable into her in-laws' house and nobody makes a particularly big deal about it. She spends hours alone and unchaperoned with a British soldier and again, nobody makes a big deal about it. The whole thing is fine if you don't care that it's totally unfeasible.
Did I mention it's also completely predictable? Maybe I did.
I read a LOT of books by Indian writers and books set in India and this is third-rate. Sorry - I've read reviews that people loved it, but I didn't. I really didn't.
Absolutely awesome book. I started reading and did not stop until the very last page. Great story, beautifully told. The culture, the setting, the pace, and the emotions were perfectly on target. 5+ Stars for me.
This is the book of the summer for me. I felt like i was right there in India with Jaya. I had to read this book in one day. Now i have to find a book that comes up to its excellence. Wonderful story, written sooooo well.
This one came up as an August Prime First Reads. I recognized the author, I loved her first book, Trail of Broken Wings so I jumped on it immediately. Read it over just a couple days and loved this one too. A story of 3 women, grandmother, daughter and granddaughter, all facing different obstacles. It drew me in and I could hardly put it down.
One of the things that caught my eye with this book was the beautiful cover. I love the white flower against the red backdrop and the little gold/yellow details and accents.
I also loved that this book was set in India. There is something about India that seems so beautiful and exotic and I just loved that this book was going to incorporate that rich culture.
The summary sounded interesting but it was really the promise of something new and different culturally, that drew me into this story.
Straight out of the gate, this book was impressive. I absolutely loved the how the author incorporated the Indian culture into the book. The setting was gorgeous and I was completely hooked on this book from the first few chapters.
I also loved the tone of this book. It packed an emotional punch but for me it wasn’t overboard. There are some themes like miscarriages that might be a trigger for some readers but on the whole I think that the author was sensitive to those readers and tried to create an emotional book without it being depressing and upsetting. On the contrary this book was about love and self discovery (this is definitely a journey type of book) and I thought it was beautifully executed.
I enjoyed getting to know Jaya and her story/journey. As I get older, I have a greater appreciation for women who have struggles and a ‘mid life crisis’ or sorts happening in their lives. Once you hit thirty, choices take on new meaning if you ask me.
People in their twenties are supposed to screw up and make bad choices but people in their thirties are supposed to have life figured out, or so my mother tells me. So reading books about women who are suddenly coming to terms with struggles or choices in their lives really stand out to me.
While this was an excellent book with a stunning cultural aspect and setting, I felt the ending was a little rushed and a bit of a reach in terms of reality. However, I still felt satisfied with the ending and was happy with how things resolved, but I think I might have gone in a bit of a different direction.
On the whole this was a 4.5 star review for me. It was excellently written and had interesting content, setting, and characters. I loved the cultural component and getting to a glimpse into Indian culture, families, and traditions. A lovely read.
See my full review here
I really enjoyed this book up until the last 10%, when it just got too cheesy and predictable and happy-endingy for me.