By Anita Nair.
Published: 24th April 2012
Publisher: St. Martin's Press.
Firstly, kind thanks to St. Martin's Press for granting me the permission to review an early release of this book via Netgalley. I did start reading this 5 days prior to the due date but it took me a lot longer to read unfortunately then i planned. It was read on the Kindle.
Meera is happily submerged in the role of corporate wife and cookbook writer. Then, one day, her husband fails to come home. Overnight, Meera, disoriented and emotionally fragile, becomes responsible not just for her two children, but also her mother, grandmother and the running of Lilac House, their rambling old family home in Bangalore.
A few streets away, Professor J.A. Krishnamurthy or Jak, cyclone studies expert, has recently returned from Florida, to care for his nineteen-year-old daughter, the victim of a tragic accident. What happened on her holiday in a small beachside village? The police will not help, Smriti’s friends have vanished, and a wall of silence and fear surrounds the incident. But Jak cannot rest until he gets to the truth.
Meera and of Jak's paths intertwine as they uncover the truth about the secrets of their pasts and the promise of the future. The Lilac House is a sweeping story of redemption, forgiveness and second chances.
Firstly, many thanks to St. Martin's Press for granting me the early review of this book for which it was kindly received. I only had 5 days prior to the publication date to review this book and try as i must i could not and only finished it on the 1st May. I will explain throughout the review.
Secondly, the book cover, misses out on the Kindle it really does. But i can see the significance of the book imagery; the lilac background and are they pomengrates and how they link with Hera-...interestingly this is mentioned at the back of the book.
Initially this book took me FOREVER to get into, on one occasion i put it down and read the information for the book and pushed myself to go with it and i got into the book really well. What makes it difficult in the early parts is there is only small parts to grab onto. There is a different culture with foreign names, that were new to me, and many of these included Greek mythology, all with a short space in the book and i found it really overwhelmed for the start. But i did pick it back through and pushed through. If i had any knowledge of Greek mythology it may have make this easier.
Once i pushed through i did notice a bit difference, people were explained more and their character's developed and blossomed. Anita Nair has a lovely way to describe individual characters in a way that they feel like family; it looks an some characters more in depth than others but i really warmed towards Meera as the book progressed. So many different aspects of life is experienced-marriage, family, parent-child relationship, friendship, loss-om so many levels, and these are all are explored whilst having characters who are going through changes in their character; showing strength, determination, love, loss, grief, and making changes. It isn't just set in the present as i said, it also goes into the past, which then explains things that are occurring in the future.
Therefore, all this jumping about tenses, the Greek mythology and the complexity of the characters is the reason why is seems a difficult read, and then added to that is the Indian culture and settings with Indian place names. I have never read a book set in India and places names can be quite difficult to 'say it properly' meaning you can't just read the sentence in a flowing way but you stop to focus on the word. It does show a lot about Indian culture and i did like this enrichment of the book; for one of the major topics which is 'outcasted', the book was perfect being set there. This major topic is a massive issue (not going into for spoiler reasons) and to focus on this in a book and makes you think, wow, does this actually really happen and then you find out it does, sadly.
The Greek mythology is explained more in depth at the end and yes Meera is right to compare herself to Hera, but i had no idea about this and if there wasn't any Greek mythology in the book i think that it wouldn't have made a difference, in my eyes, it didn't add anything. Another aspect that let the book down is that some storyline parts just weren't needed, they were short, added nothing and let you with questions and then there would be aspects went on and on,added nothing and was a waste. Some characters needed more 'padding' to enrich their presence more rather than the briefness used. I think the book was really too long for the storyline even with the complexity. The start and middle went on forever it seemed whereas the end and the summing up seemed to happened really quickly but those were the best bit of the book and the first bits should have being short and more focus on the medium to end and ending/summing up.
The book does seem to all come together and you don't go away feeling any sadness which is entwined throughout the book, but you feel some relief, some positivity, happiness and hope. It's lovely how individual stories can be told about the characters and then come together and the stories fit perfectly!
This review goes on forever and i am really sorry. Again i did enjoy the book when i made myself read it. The negative aspects i said let it down for me but it was BEAUTIFULLY written and a lovely book.
I gave this 3 out of 5 stars