Monday, June 29, 2015

Family Drama Set In India

Flame Tree Road
by Shona Patel
416 pages
$7.49 Kindle version
Flame Tree Road is apparently a prequel for Teatime for the Firefly. I did not read the first book written by Shona Patel, but I am definitely adding it to my reading list after reading Flame Tree Road. I loved everything about this story: the setting, the characters and the emotional drama. I just wanted to read something other than horror, and I came away with a literary experience that's left me wanting to read more in this genre.

Taking place in 1870s India, the story follows the life of Biren Roy in a village that follows a caste system. When his mother is shunned due to her status as a widow, Biren makes a conscious decision to change the quality of women's lives in his country. He eventually moves to England, where he learns more about fighting for women's rights, but when he returns to his own country, he feels like an outsider. He is able to make a life for himself, while working towards his goal, but it comes at a high cost.

The POV is told in third person, mostly following Biren and his thoughts, but also allowing readers to see Biren through the eyes of those around him. The story often read more like a family drama than the struggles of just one individual. It was interesting to see how changes in world politics, as well as local politics, affected members of Biren's family dynamics. What I found most intriguing is the way characters facing the same challenges handled them in completely different ways, emphasizing the qualities that make Biren endearing to readers.

You don't have to have an interest in the history of India or its customs to enjoy Flame Tree Road - you need only to have a heart.

As always,

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