The Storyteller’s Secret – Sanjal Badani

I received an eBook from the publisher in exchange for a fair review. Many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for giving me the opportunity to do so.

After having 3 miscarriages Jaya’s life and marriage are falling apart. Jaya finds out that her grandfather has requested that her mother goes back to India so that he can give her something before he dies. When Jaya’s mother refuses, Jaya, hoping to get away from her life goes instead not understanding her mother’s refusal to return to India to see her father. When she gets to India she meets Ravi, one of her father’s former servants. From hearing her Grandmother’s story she learns things about her family and herself.   

I have mixed feelings about The Storyteller’s Secret by Sajal Badani. On one hand, it it is a fun story to read but on the other it didn’t have anything in it that wasn’t unexpected. Everything that happened in the novel I saw coming from a mile away and this ruined some of the fun of reading it. For instance, as Jaya learns more about her Grandmother, and in turn her mother, she suddenly forgives her mother for all of her years of distance and apparent dislike of her. I find it hard to believe that this could happen just from learning a few things and having very minor talks with her mother on the phone while she was in India. Wounds like that take longer than a few weeks to heal.

Badani does do a good job of giving the main characters personality. I found myself really enjoying Jaya’s interactions with Ravi and his family. Really, I would read a book that is just about Ravi, he has such a well constructed character and he is so fun to listen to. However, I did have some issues with relating to the characters just because of the subject matter. I’m privileged enough to not know what extreme poverty is like. I haven’t experienced the grief of a miscarriage or divorce. I am glad that can’t relate to those experiences, it just makes it hard to relate to at times. But I did enjoy the characters. Jaya’s husband and her parents could have been developed more, but overall I did like the characters.  

The romance is this book annoyed me a little bit. It seemed like the two characters went from hating each other to suddenly loving each other again. This could have been delved into more so it didn’t seem so sudden. Their conversations between each other didn’t really hint at the fact that they were ready to make their relationship work. Here again is the problem with things that seem like a huge issue healing over a few weeks times.

If you’re looking for something that would be a quick read without much real sustenance this would be a good book for you. It is definitely not a book for someone who is easily annoyed when they can guess future plot point in a novel.

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