Book Review: Sister of My Heart by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

About the Book:

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Anju is the daughter of an upper-caste Calcutta family; her cousin Sudha is the daughter of the black sheep of the family. Sudha is as beautiful, tenderhearted, and serious as Anju is plain, whip-smart, and defiant. yet since the day they were born, Sudha and Anju have been bonded in ways even their mothers cannot comprehend.

The cousins’ bond is shattered, however, when Sudha learns a dark family secret. Urged into arranged marriages, their lives take sudden, opposite turns: Sudha becomes the dutiful daughter-in-law of a rigid small-town household, while Anju goes to America with her new husband and learns to live her own life of secrets. Then tragedy strikes them both, and the women discover that, despite the distance that has grown between them, they have only each other to turn to. Set in the two worlds of India and America, this is an exceptionally moving novel of love, friendship, and compelling courage.

My Thoughts:

Sister of My Heart is a beautifully written story of cousins Anju and Sudha and their unwavering love for each other. The story introduces us to the girls and their early childhood. We follow them as they navigate the world and even find love. They get pushed into situations that they do not expect and end up in different parts of the world. Not everything is as happy as it seems on the surface. As time passes, we come to know of a secret that will shatter everything and change everything they know and that we know too.

I have always admired the author’s style of writing and I enjoy reading her books. This was no exception. I thoroughly enjoyed this story filled with love, heartbreak, a sense of belonging and maturity. The characters are well developed and interesting and grow into themselves as time passes. This is well depicted in the book and is something that pulled me instantly. The author also focuses on things left unsaid and hints of things that people want to say in a way that keeps us guessing. There is also a good understanding of their feelings and thoughts which are vital to the story. As readers, we are on a journey with these girls and the only way we can relate to them is if we understand what they are thinking and how they feel. This is brought out by the author in the way she has handled the plot and the characters, with a lot of care and love.

This story is one that will stay with the reader even after it is finished. The beauty of the relationship the two girls share and how they navigate the truth is what forms the backbone of the story. It goes to show that no matter how devasting a secret or fact is, we can go above it and still retain or even reclaim lost or broken relationships. What’s important is the understanding and maturity of a person and the choices they make. I truly enjoyed this book and strongly recommend it to everyone.

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