The Girl in the Garden by Kamala Nair is a beautifully written novel. I find it hard to believe that this book is a debut novel as the writing is amazing and the story is absolutely captivating. To begin with I love a novel that takes me away and drops me into another culture and novels taking place in India, as this one is, are really a favorite of mine. I love to read about their traditions and the descriptions of the food and clothing always grab my interest and hold me fast to the story.
The novel opens with Rakhee, who as an adult, has everything she could want – a promising career and a fiance she loves. Into this seemingly tranquil world comes a letter; a letter that leaves her feeling very conflicted. Reading the letter takes her back to another time and place when her world was not as stable as now. When it was a world that made no sense to Rakhee and she found herself and her life changed forever.
Rakhee is ten years old when her mother uproots her from her life in America and takes her to her ancestral home in India. The village her mother grew up in is untouched by time and Rakhee can’t imagine spending her summer there but she soon makes friends with her cousins, especially Krishna. Her mother’s family though seems cool and there always seems to be something going on in the background that none of the kids can know about. Then there is her mother who seems to be withdrawing into herself as she did once before when she had to go away and leave Rakhee for a while. The worst is Prem, a man who it appears that her mother has some kind of relationship with and Rakhee is angered by this. She wants nothing more than for her and her mother to go home to Aba, her father, and be a happy family again.
One of the biggest things intriguing Rakhee is are the woods behind the house. From the very beginning Rakhee is instructed never to go into the woods, that something bad is lurking in there. Rakhee is a pretty adventurous and a touch rebellious young girl though and listening isn’t always high on her list of things to do. One day she ventures into the woods and finds a beautiful garden that is behind a wall. What she finds in the garden scares her to death and she runs away. Her inquisitive nature though draws her back to the garden and what is behind the wall.
Rakhee’s trips to the garden stand to threaten and bring down her whole family. Long buried family secrets are exposed and walls around both her family in America and her family in India break down. Rakhee’s summer trip to India with her mother changes her life forever in both the ways she looks at life and love. One thing for certain, she will never be the same after this trip.
Again, I have to say how much I loved the writing in this novel. The descriptiveness of the author’s writing is one that has you seeing so vividly in your mind exactly what she’s talking about. Here is a favorite passage of mine that just seemed to take me away to this beautiful garden…
And then the author can go in the opposite direction entirely with a description so vivid it gives you chills…
The Girl in the Garden by Kamala Nair is well worth reading and I really enjoyed it. It was another fast read for me as the pages flew by with me wanting to uncover just what the family secret was! I read this novel for the author’s book tour with TLC Book Tours. Be sure to see what the others on the blog tour thought of the novel here. You can visit Kamala Nair’s website here and be sure to find her on Facebook and Twitter as well! You can purchase a copy of The Girl in the Garden here in the US and here in Canada.
I have one copy of The Girl in the Garden by Kamala Nair up for grabs. To enter…
- For 1 entry leave me a comment with an email address to contact you should you win (no email, no entry).
- For 2 entries, follow my blog. If you already do, thank you, and please let me know so I can pass the extra entry on to you as well.
- For 3 entries, blog or tweet this giveaway and spread the word!
This giveaway is open to US & Canadian residents only (no PO boxes) and I will draw for the winner on Saturday, August 13/11. Good luck everyone!
© 2010, Darlene of Peeking Between the Pages. All Rights Reserved. If you’re reading this on a site other than Peeking Between the Pages or Darlene’s Feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.
My copy of The Girl in the Garden by Kamala Nair was received for review from TLC Book Tours and Grand Central Publishing.