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
I think I must have read a different book to everyone else, looking at the ratings and reviews. I was really looking forward to it - I've read lots about India and thought it sounded like an interesting premise. The problem was it was SO predictable - I even wrote the synopsis after I'd read about 15% of the book and gave it to my husband - and I was spot on.
That wasn't the real problem - the problem with the novel is that it just couldn't have happened and it was SO inconsistent. At one point Jaya talks about going to the village to find an internet cafe to send her blog and only a couple of chapters later she's sitting on her bed and 'presses send' to upload the latest installment. There were loads of these sorts of examples.
How could a simple, ill educated girl from a small village have enough English to have a relationship with a soldier from the British Army (don't even get me started on how utterly ridiculous the two of them spending hours alone in a school is), and yet she can't write one word of it. He is able to read her poems (in Hindi)?
And then there is the 'untouchable' essentially being left to run the household of a very well respected businessman - without his wife having any male relatives of his to protect her and his children during a time of civil unrest in a volatile country.
The whole book irritated me beyond belief - I really don't understand why everyone else loved it so much! If you can totally suspend your disbelief about the period of history in which it was written, the shoehorning of the feminist message into a character from the 1920s and the dialogue which just didn't ring true (a British public school educated officer talking about his 'mates' and his 'mum' for example), then I'm sure you'll love it.
it's 12 am and I've stayed up to read the whole book in 1 sitting, then spend time writing its review bc I can't wait, so you can believe that the book was good. So why just 3 stars? Actually, 3.5, rounded down. I'll explain: WARNING - SPOILERS AHEAD
What I loved about the book:
* The details about India, the caste system and the place of women, the beauty of Amisha and Stephen's love story
* The writing was good, though there were typos throughout that makes me feel it could have used a better, more thorough editor
* The morals of the story, of strength and weakness and different kinds of love, choices, regrets...
* I did like that there was at least a happy ending for Jaya and Patrick. I would have given this 1 star if that were not the case
What I REALLY didn't love:
* Stephen got a raw deal!!! He went back for his love TWICE! He never got to see his daughter!! He never got to know her even after he had to accept that he couldn't have Amisha!!! And maybe this is realism, but he died shortly after her. She died young herself, and she'd starved herself for THREE DAYS so the gods could guarantee that Stephen could live a long life! And he died shortly after her without ever knowing about their daughter or seeing her or potentially LIVING and LOVING her! Not nice at all. I don't think I can forgive the storyteller for making that decision for Amisha AND Stephen. Extremely upset at this part of the story. The Amisha torture stuff at the end, OK, whatever, dark ages and outdated beliefs and all that... but what about Stephen!!! Just NOT fair at all. And look at the effect on Lena, poor woman, how she was hated all her life by her stepmother, and a father who couldn't love her because he KNEW she wasn't his. I mean It wasn't just Stephen's life Ravi ruined he really caused lasting damage to Lena too (tho she married well and has a good life, she's SCARRED forever!)
This is pretty much why I can't give it a higher score. Just can't. I know the focus wasn't on Stephen or even Lena, but damn! I felt like the damage done to them wasn't fully addressed. And this was Jaya's REAL grandfather, whom she never met, whose family she never met. Book could have had something in there about finding the other half of her family tree, but it was totally ignored.
So I better stop writing this spoiler filled review before I rip another star off in my pissed off state.
This novel is a well-written train wreck. While the modern part of the novel is relatable, the British Raj part is barely researched in terms of societal set-up and even amenities available at the time.
The basic writing is good, but the utter lack of research, even the basic kind, was a complete let down.
Rarely do we ever know the stories of our parents lives and understand what events made them who they became. And we almost never learn much about the lives of our grandparents. Jaya, the main character in this novel, has the good fortune to learn the crucial stories of both her mother and grandmother. This is an emotionally powerful novel and will touch people's hearts.
I did find the action to be very predictable. I guessed a key event long before it happened.
About a third of the way through the novel, I made the mistake of reading a few of the reviews. One mentioned how the physical details of India were inaccurate. Having never been there, I could not judge for myself, but the review colored my reading of the book. I began to question if the author had ever been there.
Even if the details are not accurate, the emotional power of the story makes it worth reading. If you enjoy love stories, you will enjoy this book.
Loved this book cried so many times, totally awesome.
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.