Sister of My Heart by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
On the library stacks: Adult Fiction
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Continuing on with my recent obsession with all things Indian (I found a great new restaurant that I love too!) I decided to read a more modern novel set in India. While I don't think it was totally clear, I think this novel was set from the 1960s through the 1980s.
This book is told from the alternating points of view of Anju and Sudha, two cousins of an upper-caste family in Calcutta. The girls were born on the same day and were best friends growing up. They are raised in a strict home under the care of three mother figures who try to protect the girls from a serious family secret.
Both girls are forced into arranged marriages and must make their own journey in a changing world where women are breaking barriers but traditional values are still clung to in their caste. The girls are pulled apart by their circumstances as one goes to California and the other stays behind. While their paths diverge for a time, eventually their relationship is stronger than everything that threatens to pull them apart.
I enjoyed getting to know Anju and Sudha. Their characters were well-developed and I liked both of them for the unique women they were. I felt their anguish at the decisions they had to make and found myself debating through their thought processes with them. I liked that I didn't see the ending coming, but I wasn't totally surprised by it either. I can definitely see the appeal this book would have with book clubs.
Also reviewed by: The Book Nest ~ Your link here?
44 minutes ago