FINDING TAKRI by Palo Stickland

takriI loved reading Finding Takri. It was easy to read, and understand, and easy to fall in love with. The story is about a young girl (Takri). We follow her life – her marriage to an unknown man from another village, her children, and grandchildren’s lives too. We learn of a love she had prior to her marriage, and see his story through his viewpoint at different points in the novel.

Takri’s story is heartbreaking, but we do see happiness. Palo Stickland balances the two areas with grace. As an Indian myself, I loved revisiting the Indian words Palo used subtlety. It was fresh, and not hard to understand.

Let’s talk about the characters: Takri, who is the main character, is lovely, and I liked her instantly, for her pleasant, and caring attitude to life. We feel sorrow, but when she finds happiness, we can’t be happy enough. Her husband, Basant, loves Takri a lot. We see his caring side, but also his jealous side, and his life takes a turn. We meet Karam, Takri’s love. He is a strong, decisive Punjabi, who is  headstrong, yet sensitive. His life is haunted by his love for Takri. All three characters are bound to one another, and all three spend a lot of time apart from each other too.

Palo’s writing is clean, and sincere. Her voice is natural. It is easy to get lost in the prose without any grammatical disturbances. I cannot emphasize how finely her book is written.

I really recommend you read this book. Not only would you enjoy it, but you shall also learn a few things of India’s struggle against the British Raj, in the 1940s. This is one debut I will never forget.

A fantastic piece of writing, worthy of a literary prize!

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Tomorrow Brings Sorrow by Mary Wood

sorrowA beautiful tale of family ties, scandal and love, this story brings to us an array of characters. We read of incest, homosexuality, murder and suicide – a grand line up of issues dealt with great writing and precision.

Tomorrow Brings Sorrow is set at the beginning of World War II. We see fear in men’s eyes as they are drafted to fight and witness the deplorable aftermath. Sally is afraid of Billy but feels obliged to love him and marry him despite having feelings for someone else. A fit of jealousy sparks a chain of reactions which lead to crude and frightful moments in the lives of Megan, Sally, Theresa, Terence and the horrendous Rita. All are touched by Billy in some form or another.

I adore Megan and Hattie for their warm love and clarity and Jack for his vast fatherly nature. Mary Wood has written this story with a lot of patience and paid special attention to all her characters. She has dwelled deep into their hearts and brought out their rich personalities, whether bad or good. Her work shows compassion like no other and we, the reader are instantly drawn into each and every one of their personal conflicts.

Who is my favourite character? For me, Hattie for she is the fall back to these people and perhaps more. There are villains, victims and heroes, a fantastic recipe for a wonderful story!

I urge you to read such a brilliant book! You won’t regret it! Oh another thing I forgot to mention – if you like a little northern accent, you’re in for a treat!