GENRE: Fiction - Thriller
NUMBER OF PAGES: 398
SERIES / STANDALONE: Roma Underground #4
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Review copy as a part of Italy Book tours. Thanks guys.
Yet another good thriller from this writer. Set in Naples, the story is majorly about the famous (or Infamous may be!) Italian mafia – Camorra.
With one of the prime characters going undercover, the readers are treated to the ruthlessness of the Mafia. That part of the story felt so realistic that at one point I felt that the writer must have either been a victim or must have had an Italian or simply must have done his research well. Finally we get to know the “face” behind bianca’s online friend Loki. That part of the story however wasn’t really up to my expectations and was bit of a drag.
The story provided a rather different insight about Italy as such. Reading about how the mafia actually impacts the lives of common people is a bit appalling and sad. Italy has forever been in my buck list of places to visit. Reading about the other side of the country gave me a different perspective.
Just like the previous books, the writer added that extra layer of characterization over the base character sketch that he had developed in the first book. The writer seems to be an expert in “group” characterization. As in each character seem to behave differently as an individual but differently as a group. This added a depth to the story. In short, the book was a fantastic read.
MY SAY: A well written thriller.
BOREDOM QUOTIENT: 1/5
OVERALL RATING: 4/5
AUTHOR LINKS: Website
BOOK LINKS: Amazon
GENRE: Fiction - Thriller
NUMBER OF PAGES: 366
SERIES / STANDALONE: Roma Series Book #3
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Review copy from the writer as a part of a book by iRead Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. Thanks guys!
Being the third book in the series, I had grown accustomed to the writer’s style and knew what to expect. Undoubtedly, the story exceeded my expectations again. This book was a bit different from the first two. The writer detailed Italy’s political history and its struggle with Mafia. I’ve always been enchanted by this country’s culture, reading about the politics and the mafia through this story was pretty insightful.
This part of the series follows Bianca’s “adventures” back in Italy. She is back with her “boyfriend” Dante. In this story though, Farrugia is the actual star. The story at one points turns all about him and his history with the Mafia. A college student is murdered during his meet with Bianca who seems to be investigating yet another financial scadal of sorts this time. Loki, her online friend warns her to stay away which obviously doesn’t obey. Things take a nasty turn when another murder happens, one that has a potential to end Farrugia’s career. What follows is a story of Farrugia’s “Fate”.
With slick writing, this book was an interesting read. Politics and history are potentially snore worthy combination if not present properly. The writer surprised me by presenting both the subjects in an interesting manner. The historical and political part of Italian Mafia blended well with the story, making the story a over all well written read. Given that I’m already acquianted well with the characters, this book was a comfortable read for me. Yet, the writer did manage to surprise me by bringing out different shades in the core characters. For instance, Bianca seemed a bit edgy and has trust issues. It felt a bit comical when Farrugia takes up Yoga to relive his stress.
MY SAY: Yet another perfect thriller by this writer. Not surprising at all!
BOREDOM QUOTIENT: 1/5 (Lower the better)
AUTHOR LINKS: Website
BOOK LINKS: Amazon
About the writer
Hannah Fielding is an incurable romantic. The seeds for her writing career were sown in early childhood, spent in Egypt, when she came to an agreement with her governess Zula: for each fairy story Zula told, Hannah would invent and relate one of her own. Years later – following a degree in French literature, several years of travelling in Europe, falling in love with an Englishman, the arrival of two beautiful children and a career in property development – Hannah decided after so many years of yearning to write that the time was now. Today, she lives the dream: writing full time at her homes in Kent, England, and the South of France, where she dreams up romances overlooking breath-taking views of the Mediterranean.
To date, Hannah has published four passionate, evocative novels: Burning Embers, a ‘romance like Hollywood used to make’, set in Kenya; the award-winning Echoes of Love, ‘an epic love story that is beautifully told’, set in Italy; and books 1 and 2 of the Andalusian Nights trilogy, set in sultry Spain, entitled Indiscretion and Masquerade. She is currently working on her fifth book, Legacy, which will publish this spring.
A glimpse of Indiscretion
As they approached the bridge, the chorus of voices became almost deafening, some shrill, others boisterous, punctuated by the shaky rattling of carts, the tintinnabulation of tram bells, the flat, repeated cries of street vendors. And over in the distance, on Seville’s waterfront, the dismal shadow of the Golden Tower, the old prison watchtower of the Guadalquivir, rose like some baleful omen of misfortune, casting its fiery reflection on the shimmering surface of the river in the light of the setting sun.
Alexandra stepped off the pavement and looked up at the tower, drawn by its threatening beauty. Suddenly a horn blared. She turned her head to see a moped speeding towards her. Frozen, she stared horrified at the oncoming bike. The next moment she felt strong arms around her waist, lifting her up and jerking her back to safety.
Salvador caught her as she stumbled against him, her hands gripping his muscled arms to steady herself. Salvador’s embrace tightened, straining her to him. Her heart was hammering with almost suffocating unevenness. Trembling as much by sudden conflicting thoughts as by her stumbling, she lifted her face to say something and found herself looking directly into Salvador’s intense silvery gaze, so close to her own. There was a question in their depths that she didn’t understand – that she didn’t want to understand – but before she could be sure of his meaning, he curved his hand around her cheek, tilted her chin up and his head lowered to find her mouth. Alexandra closed her eyes, welcoming the shudder of electricity that shook her as their lips touched.
Check out my take on thisbook here.
Also, read my review of her other book - burning embers here
Watch out for the review of her latest book - Masquerade coming soon!
AN AUTOGRAPH FOR ANJALI
#AAFA : a Romantic Suspense
Jayant Mathur is found murdered in his bed, shot at point-blank range with his own revolver. Though she’s extremely disturbed by his death, Jayant’s wife Anjali is way more upset about something else. Who stands to gain by killing the multi-millionaire businessman?
Parth Bhardwaj is a friend and neighbour of the Mathurs. Parth is an author who goes by a pseudonym. He appears more than a friend to Anjali; while he’s also on good terms with her son Arjun who lives and studies in the UK. What role does he play in Anjali’s life? Jayant’s relatives are curious to know.
Jayant’s brother-in-law Rana is convinced that Parth and Anjali are the murderers. But Inspector Phadke has his own doubts about this theory. In comes Samrat, the private detective who appears as quiet as a mouse. Will he be able to find the murderer?
Will Anjali find happiness and peace?
About the author
An Autograph For Anjali is the sixth book authored by Sundari Venkatraman. This book is a romantic suspense. Other published novels by the author are The Malhotra Bride, Meghna, The Runaway Bridegroom and The Madras Affair – all romances. She has also published a collection of romantic short stories called Matches Made In Heaven. All of Sundari Venkatraman's books have been on Amazon Top 100 Bestsellers in India, USA, UK & Australia, many times over.
Sundari Venkatraman would love to hear from you @
Other books by the author
NUMBER OF PAGES: 101
SERIES / STANDALONE: Standalone
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: The writer, Kavipriya sent me a review copy in exchange for an honest review. Thank you :)
The charm of a highly realistic story is simply unmatched. It is further amplified if it is set in your city and highlights your way of live. This story was just that for me. The blurb reminded me of a similar event that happened in my life. I was a bit apprehensive to actually read the book though I had accepted the review request. Revisiting sour memories knowingly isn’t particularly wise. I buckled up and picked the courage to read the book and I don’t really regret it now.
The story is about a simple middle class girl Laksha who aspires to become an architect. At one point, she has it all – good friends, a nice internship and the joy of witnessing her dream come true. All this collapses with just one experience – an experience she didn’t really sign up for. Would she survive it? Does she bounce back and lead a normal life again.
The story, as I mentioned earlier was very realistic. Often Indian writers end up contradicting themselves when the concept of middle class is involved – they portray things contradicting to the whole idea of middle class. This writer did no such thing thankfully. The part were two friends grow apart is just too realistic. This part of the story reminded me of my own. I expected a whole lot of drama laden with heavy emotions. Thankfully again, the writer kept it all balanced and perfect enough for the story. The characterization was perfect to dot.
All said, the language was a bit too simple. It seemed more like a transcript of daily conversation. I get that this sort of language is the latest fad of sorts, but for me a book should have that sophisticated language, simple yet sophisticated would work.
MY SAY: An impressive story with realistic characters.
BOREDOM QUOTIENT: 1/5 (lower the better)
OVERALL RATING: 3/5
AUTHOR LINKS: Goodreads
BOOK LINKS: Goodreads
NUMBER OF PAGES: 395
SERIES / STANDALONE: Something Series #2
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Review copy from the writer, Ben Starling in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
A journalist on a remote island profiling a powerful businessman – a potentially heady combination for a thriller – this story was nothing short of a perfect thriller.
Our protagonist, Teal, is forced to take up an obscure assignment on a remote island to save her job. Her task – to profile a businessman involved in the fisheries business in the main island. Her ‘assignment’ takes a turn when corporate criminals invade the island plotting to destroy flora and fauna by carrying out ‘activities’ which are disastrous. Along with the help of boxer turned marine biologist and other locals, she ends up investigating them. Her investigation comes with a price; would she be able to pray that price?
The story was simply good, merging two worlds seamlessly into one – the modern world with its devil ways and the ancient world which care even for about the animals. The characterization was pretty good and most of characters emoted perfectly adding layers to the story. The ‘character’ of Solomon the ancient whale deserves a special mention. Giving a human being a character sketch by itself is a complex job, with animals the level of difficulty just increases. The writer has done a stellar job in giving the whale a much convincing character. Though the whale did remind me of Flipper – the dolphin from 90s Cartoon network serial, this character stood out. The writing was well balanced and perfect. The story kept me absolutely hooked. My only complaint would be the ending. I felt the writer was in a great hurry and dilemma to finish off the story.
MY SAY: An interesting read.
BOREDOM QUOTIENT : 1/5 (Lower the better)
OVERALL RATING: 4/5
Check more about the book and the writer in the spotlight post here.
Tales of Everyday Divas
CURATED BY: Incredible Women of India
PUBLISHED BY: Readomania
The Stories in the Anthology are...
1. Built From The Ashes â Radhika Maira Tabrez â Life brings widowed Nikita at the doorsteps of her estranged in laws where she finds a new meaning to life.
2. Itâs Not The End â Kirthi Jayakumar â A fresh start changes the foundation of what might have been the beginning of a bright future. But itâs not the end.
3. She Chose To Live â Debosmita Nandy â She shines even when she is betrayed by love, uprooted from home and misunderstood by all.
4. Bidisha â Paulami DuttaGupta â Insurgency tore her life apart, will Bidisha be able to forget her past?
5. The Drug Addict â Santosh Bakaya â A 19 year old turns to drugs after her parents death in a Mine blast, this story shows how she turns over a new leaf.
6. Safe Passage â Sanghamitra Bose â She survives extreme betrayal and is determined not to let it happen again.
7. The Bride â Esha Chakraborty â âThe Brideâ toasts to a new beginning!
8. Dear Rangamaâ¦ âSutapa Basu â An 18 year old bereft of family and friends, navigates her and her unborn childâs life defying all malignant forces.
9. Unfound: Searching For Home â Vasudha Chandna Gulati â Can a child with two sets of parents still feel alone? It is Riddhiâs search for a place to belong.
10. The Journey of Two women â Deepti Menon â Two Divas on divergent paths dare to dream, defy the world and carveout their entwined destinies!
11. A Second Chance â Arpita Banerjee â A girl pays for her innocence once, but becomes strong enough to avenge a betrayal, second time around.
12. Dharmambhal â Bhuvaneswari Shivakumar Shankar â Can one ever recover from the trauma of domestic violence? A namesake finds courage from an inspirational story.
13. The 40s â Ramaa Sonti â Story of a woman craving for love and attention, one who falters, yet takes the situation in her stride with the virtue of her wit and determination.
14. Amlanation â Anirban Nanda â An acid attack, a play of fate, the emotional trauma of both the attacker and the victim.
15. Please Leave Your Sex Outside â Aashisha Chakraborty â What made a woman a top automobile entrepreneur of the country?
16. Tara â Geeta Negi â A simple girl from a remote hilly village discovers her womanhood while standing firmly against patriarchy.
17. Anjali Chakraborty â Tanushree Ghosh Dhall â A woman who is neither a mother nor a wife epitomises love, sacrifice and support.
18. Yamuna Maaâs Hand â Mahesh Sowani â Two patrons, one rich another poor, use their funds to support poor women to be independent.
19. Once, For a Change â Moinak Dutta â A fashion designer proves her mettle by taking up a challenge.
20. Pregnant Dreams âSridevi Datta â A womanâs dreams and desires faces trials in the real world.
21. Second Innings of Ma â Namrata Chauhan â An exceptional bond between a mother in law and a daughter in law, proving women are soft but never weak.
22. Here I Come Benaras â Avanti Sopory â Is marriage the only identity of a woman? A widow in Banaras finds her identity amidst strangers.
23. To Be Or Not To Be â Paromita Mukherjee Ojha â An act of crime, a betrayal rips her life apart, now she must rise up to the test and face the realities of life.
24. Some Porridge and an Education â Sreesha Divakaran â Shanta leaves behind her village and her drunken husband to earn a livelihood for herself and provide education for her son.
Grab Your Copy @
Rhiti Bose is a writer/blogger/reviewer who is also the founder and Chief Editor of the e-zine Incredible Women of India. She has a first class Masterâs degree in English Literature from the University of Madras. She has done her Teacherâs Training, PGCE from Manchester Metropolitan University, UK and holds a Child Psychology, Psychotherapy and Counselling Post-Graduate Diploma from The School of Natural Health and Science, London, UK. She has 6 years of experience in Education/Training. She has spent two years working with The Refugee Council, Sheffield, UK mentoring and counseling Bangladeshi and Liberian refugee children.
Her works have been published in Femina, feminafastfiction.com, learningandcreativity.com, redomania.com and she is also a part of short story collection, An Atlas of love, published by Rupa. Her poems are a part of poetry collections Kaafiyaana and Umbilical Chords: An Anthology on Parents Remembered.
When not reading, writing or curating stories for IWI, you can find Rhiti watching Bollywood masala movies, baking or playing with her children. She believes in kindness and love and hopes to spread the same through IWI. She currently resides in Bhubaneswar with her husband, daughter and son.
Rhiti also blogs at The Scattered thoughts of Mrs.Bose.
Lopamudra Banerjee is a writer and translator, currently based in Dallas, USA. She has a Masterâs degree in English with a thesis in Creative Nonfiction from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Her unpublished memoir Thwarted Escape has been First Place Category Winner at the Journey Awards 2014 hosted by Chanticleer Reviews. She is an editor of Learning and Creativity, an e-zine for the literary and creative souls.
Her poetry, stories and essays have appeared at many print and online literary journals and anthologies both in India and the US. Her poetry has recently appeared in The Significant Anthology, Umbilical Chords: An Anthology on Parents Remembered and Kaafiyana, published by Readomania. Her English translation of Rabindranath Tagoreâs novella The Broken Home is being serially published at CafÃ© Dissensus. She has received the Criticsâ Award at Destiny Poets International Community of Poets, UK and also a Certificate of Merit as part of the Reuel International Prize 2015 for Writing and Literature. Her husband is an IT professional and they have two beautiful daughters, Srobona and Sharanya.
Meet The Team
GENRE: Non –Fiction- Photography
NUMBER OF PAGES: 240
SERIES / STANDALONE: Standalone
HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Review copy as a part of iRead Book tours. Thanks guys!
There are no seven wonders in the eyes of a child there are seven million. Capturing the wonder of a child is simply a happy task. There were a lot of candid shots in the book apart from the planned shots. The pictures were taken from all over the world – from Canada to Mongolia. The ethnicity of the children may be different but they all had that one thing in common – they were children who really didn’t know or care about the evil ways of the world. They are just happy without a reason and this was captured beautifully by the photographer – Debra.
I’m no expert in photography, but I loved what I was looking at. All the shots seem to be just perfect with the right color, depth, placement and feel. Being from the Asian subcontinent, I always wondered about the children from the other part of the planet. The book taught me one thing, no matter which part of the world it is, children will be children. The innocence of a child is simply the same all over the world. All the photos in the book seem to be a proof of that.
The highlight of the book would be absence of a write up before each picture. The picture told its story; the photographer didn’t actually need to give one of her own. Penning a plethora of childhood emotions is a herculean task, so why pen it down at all. All you need to do is simply capture is via a photograph. That is exactly what Debra did. I spent a good 5 minutes pondering over each photograph, listening to the thousand words that each of them spoke. Of course, I did wonder if my thought process actually matched with that of the photographer when she clicked the photographs.
MY SAY: A book to cherish and be in awe with. This book to me served as a reminder of what I had lost long ago – My childhood. Made me wish I were still a child.
AUTHOR LINKS: Website Twitter Facebook
BOOK LINKS: Website Amazon
giveaway! Win 1 of 2 $20 Amazon gift cards (International)
Tobias and Lauren have been together for four months since the end of Do You Want to Play. They’ve found rhythm in their relationship, but that rhythm comes to an abrupt stop when a body is found nailed to a cross inside Pious Church.
As they dig through possible suspects—from religious fanatics to resentful Satanists—they also find themselves reexamining their relationship, trying to figure out if two people with opposite beliefs can stay together. As time begins to run out for their kidnapped singer and the murders begin to pile up, they will have to find a way to resurrect what they had doubted and sacrifice what they had believed.
Buy the book: Amazon
About the writer
Charlotte Raine is a best selling suspense author. Charlotte gets inspiration for her writing from the scenic mountains around her home near Vail, Colorado.
When she is not writing you will find her after a long day of skiing at one of the many lodges in Vail. She will most likely be next to a warm fire, drinking a glass of wine and telling stories.
Connect with the author: Website Twitter Facebook
giveaway! Win 1 of 3 signed copies of Teacher Beware by Charlotte Raine (USA)
Color Me Rich
A sensitive love story of a handsome and talented struggling painter Akash Saigal. What happens when he marries an extremely rich and beautiful artist and art investor Zenobia Taraporevala?
J J School of Art, Mumbai.
Taking a charcoal pencil, Akash Saigal started drawing the wood-and- stone structure, popularly known as „Kipling Bungalow‟. He was sketching sitting on a bench on which, in another era, K K Hebbar, M F Husain, Syed Haider Raza, Sadanand Bakre, V S Gaitonde, even Dadasaheb Phalke had sat with their sketchbooks, sketching the house where the author of The Jungle Book was born.
Ganpat Gupte appeared along with two of his gang. Gupte was the nephew of a minister, or so he claimed, and had the arrogance that comes with power.
“Ae Akash, kae karto?”
Akash looked up at the trio and said, “Nothing much. Just a drawing.
“Okay. What is the day today?”
“I should have known.Tere ko blue shirt hai na?”
Akash didn‟t get the connection, but Gupte‟s chamchas laughed knowingly.
The three boys sang in unison, “Monday, blue shirt. Tuesday, black shirt. Wednesday, blue shirt. Thursday black shirt. Friday, blue shirt. Saturday, black shirt. Sunday...laundry!”
If Akash was hurt, he didn‟t show it. He laughed sheepishly and continued sketching the bungalow.
But he would never forget this.
About the Author
Mohan Deep, is an Indian author, painter and Feng Shui Master. Mohan Deep is the author of ‘The Mystery and Mystique of Madhubala’ (1996), ‘It’s My Life’ (Novel) (1997), ‘Simply Scandalous: Meena Kumari’ (1998), ‘Eurekha!’ – an unauthorized biography of Rekha. (1999), ‘Four Options’ (2000), ‘Feng Shui for the Bold & Beautiful, the Rich and Famous’ (2001) and ‘Nehru and the Tantrik Woman’ (2002). After a sabbatical of a decade, during which he touched upon the lifves of people as a Feng Shui Master, he is back with The Five Foolish Virgins, a book of fiction, to be launched in April 2013. Mohan Deep is arguably the only Indian author to write what is often described as controversial, unauthorized star biographies in India. Columnist-journalist and former editor of 'Illustrated Weekly of India', Khushwant Singh called him 'a truly gifted gossip writer'. “The maverick writer”, like columnist-reviewer- poetess Tara Patel described him has also been called William Goldman of Bollywood’s stars (By Behram Contractor, the Editor of Afternoon Despatch & Courier) (Source) Kitty Kelly of India (By R K Bajaj, the Editor of ‘The Daily’). Interestingly, almost every book he has wrote/penned has invited controversies for its bold content.
Disclaimer: SPOILERS AHEAD!
There are few story templates that are as inspiring as the rags-to-riches one. This is one template that is universally accepted and well-received by human beings, irrespective of nationality, religion, race, or any other such artificial constructs of distinction. And it is not a bit surprising why we collectively gravitate towards stories that follow this template, for humanity’s very foundation hinges on survival—the first ever success mankind tasted.
In modern times, aspirants derive motivation from rags-to-riches stories, while achievers, especially those who fought all odds to reach great heights in life, use them as a route to memory lane. No matter on which self-identified rung of the success ladder one stands, a rags-to-riches story is heart-warming, enlightening, and most certainly, motivating.
Very recently, I had the pleasure of reading two glorious novels that poignantly depict what it takes and means to beat all odds, confront hardships, and successfully survive amidst chaos: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell and The Good Earth by Pearl S Buck.
This article compares and contrasts the lead female characters of both novels—Scarlett O’Hara and O-Lan—and tries to convey how their portrayals reflect women’s pivotal role in the survival of families in reality.
The primary theme of Gone with the Wind might not be survival, but survival is very much integral to the plot—as is the case with The Good Earth too. Though the novels travel on seemingly parallel lines, they do become perpendicular at one point, and that is the intersection called survival.
At the very basic level, the similarities between both novels are stunning in themselves. Both were written by female authors. Both released in the same decade. The Good Earth came first, in 1931, whereas Gone with the Wind released in 1936. However, the latter was in the works for nearly a decade. Civil unrest plays a major role in changing the fortunes of the female protagonists.
On the other hand, the differences between the two novels are equally stunning. First and foremost, and most obviously, Gone with the Wind is set in the Occidental world, whereas The Good Earth is set in the Oriental world. Buck’s classic is a rags-to-riches tale, whereas Mitchell’s is technically a riches-to-rags-to-riches tale.
Coming to the comparison of the female protagonists, let’s look at the differences first because the similarities are more in number.
When it comes to personality and appearance, Scarlett and O-Lan are at diametrically opposite ends. Scarlett is a pretty belle who is the cynosure of men throughout the county. Almost all men of marriageable age earnestly try to woo her. She is the oldest daughter of a rich plantation owner. She belongs to a family that owns slaves.
On the other hand, O-Lan is a slave herself, and one who had seen nothing but abuse in her master’s house. If you create a checklist of parameters that define popular notions of physical beauty (that existed then), O-Lan probably wouldn’t be able to tick off even one check box. Scarlett has a mammy who ensures the corset and basque Scarlett wears on special occasions accentuate her beauty. On the contrary, O-Lan’s own mommy does not bother to tie her daughter’s feet, despite being fully aware that doing so was considered “beautiful” then (This practice is called foot binding and was practiced in China in the previous millennium). Basically, Scarlett is groomed as much as possible, while O-Lan is neglected all her life.
Scarlett could have married any man she wanted. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that men literally queued up to impress her and eventually marry her. No such admiration for O-Lan. However, she is fortunate in that at least a poor farmer was willing to take her hand in marriage. Scarlett is a heart-breaker, whereas O-Lan is, well, a broken heart.
Moving on to the similarities…
Both women possess an unwavering love for their land. Due to unavoidable circumstances—in Scarlett’s case, marriage; and in O-Lan’s case, famine—both women are displaced from the land on which they grew up. However, this love for land is not inherent in either women, but inherited—in Scarlett’s case, from her father, Gerald O’Hara; and in O-Lan’s case, from her husband, Wang Lung. Given their circumstances, both women could have chosen to live away from “home” for the rest of their lives, but neither of them does so. After the war ends, Scarlett decides to move back to Tara, the plantation on which she grew up. Similarly, O-Lan and family return to their village, from their place of refuge in the town, after the famine ends. And both women, in their respective settings, start from scratch, work tirelessly, and build an empire out of nothing.
Next, both Scarlett and O-Lan are street-smart. Shrewd to the core, both women do not let “petty things” such as ideals cloud their decisions. On one hand, O-Lan encourages her sons to beg for money, and even teaches them how to beg convincingly. Further, she steals jewels from the rich house when the entire town revolts against wealthy folks.
On the other hand, Scarlett goes a step ahead, and steals her own sister’s beau away from her. However, both women substantiate their actions, without displaying even an ounce of remorse. “It’s for the good,” they say, and true to their words, a hell lot of good arises due to those actions. No denying that.
Bravery is another trait these fictional soul sisters have in common. When Wang Lung’s neighbours come to plunder his house, acting on rumours that he has secretly horded grains and food, O-Lan is the one who stands up to them and makes them go away. Scarlett displays essential courage too; most importantly, at the hour of need. She doesn’t hesitate to pull the trigger on an enemy soldier who comes to loot her mansion. Time and again, both women keep proving that their families are their biggest priorities.
At this juncture, I’m reminded of two other strong, fictitious female characters. Both of them are closer to home this time. One is the mother of the two little boys in the Tamil movie Kaaka Muttai. The other is the lead female character from the Tamil novella Jannal Malar by Sujatha.
One common thread binding these two women is that their lives are impacted by the actions of their husbands. In Kaaka Muttai, the boys’ father is in prison for some unknown reason. The mother is forced to slog as much as possible to make ends meet and keep the family boat afloat.
Similarly, in Jannal Malar, the lead female character, the protagonist’s wife, takes up sex work in order to earn enough money to feed both herself and her kid. She takes up the profession as a last resort because she doesn’t make enough money trying to sell things such as soaps and agarbathis. Her husband too is in prison, serving time for burglary and such crimes.
We can find a similar thread binding Scarlett and O-Lan too. The inaction of close male characters pushes these women’s limits. Scarlett’s love interest, Ashley, isn’t good at lumber trade. He’s a man of refined interests, which, at times of crisis, are not worth a single penny. Therefore, Scarlett effectively is the head of the family. However, thanks to his keen intellect, Ashley recognizes the fact that it is because of Scarlett that he and his family have food to eat, clothes to wear, and a roof above their heads. He even expresses his gratitude for her kindness. And like I mentioned earlier, O-Lan steals jewels from the rich house, the source of their massive fortune later in the novel. Being the quintessential idealist, Wang Lung does not do the dirty job, but understands that his wife’s actions are necessary. Unlike Ashley, Wang Lung realizes the greatness of O-Lan only after she passes away. It’s too late by then.
In real life, we keep hearing of so many women combatting key issues, such as their husbands’ alcoholism, gambling, and overall acute irresponsibility. Not all women have the option of walking away from such irresponsible and/or abusive husbands. Sadly, in many such cases, women are left with just shattered dreams and broken hearts. More so, if they have children. Nevertheless, like Margaret Mitchell and Pearl S Buck show through Scarlett and O-Lan, survival instinct is inherent to women, regardless of where they’re born. And that’s exactly the reason we see so many families broken yet tight. In some rare cases, we also get to see children from such settings faring well in life overall. Thus, women, a lot like background applications in a computer, silently perform important functions and weave many a rags-to-riches story.
The writer of this piece - Vinay, is my colleague from work who is Technical Editor with my company. A computer graduate by education, Vinay is stellar writer. A quirky man with an insane sense of humor - there is no better way to describe him!
Thanks for the brilliant write up Vinay!
The sealed box Teal finds in the street contains more than just a mystery...
What if to be with the man of your dreams…you had to give up your life? On the verge of losing her job, side-lined journalist Teal is forced to travel to the South Pacific to profile a powerful businessman. But with her almost-but-not-quite fiancé Bear discouraging her every step of the way, she may not be able to save her career or her relationship.
When corporate criminals invade paradise, Teal teams up with a former boxer turned marine-biologist to investigate. As she discovers the true intentions behind their new canning operations, she must either accept the plum promotion that will save her career or—with Perry—defend the island with more than her life.
Something in the Water, An Ocean Romance is available on Amazon.
About the writer :
Ben Starling is passionate about marine conservation and boxing, both central themes in his work. His interest in marine life has taken him across three continents over the past three decades. He is Oxford University's only ever quintuple boxing Blue (varsity champion five years running), was Captain of the university boxing team, and coached and competed until a few years ago. He is 6'3"and 192 lbs. Ben graduated with a Master of Arts and a Master of Philosophy. He was born in the USA but has lived in the UK since childhood. www.ben-starling.com
First of all, tell us a little about yourself. How did you get started writing?
I was always drawn to the power of stories to transport you to another world, expose you to new situations, thrills, people, challenges, loves…and the questions they pose. The legacy a good book leaves behind can last a lifetime.
Something in the Water was inspired by the loss of my partner at forty-five years of age to ovarian cancer, just thirteen weeks after her diagnosis. In the aftermath, an old friend challenged me to turn that grief into something positive.
Remembering a conversation with a charismatic Polynesian fisherman (I visited there once) about his people’s vision of death and the afterlife, I began to write. Through the written word, I hoped to explore and capture several extraordinary events that happened around the time of my girlfriend’s death. The novel and the series kind of took off from there…
Can you tell us about Something in the Water?
It starts off as a conventional love story but develops in an unexpected way. I foolishly set myself the monumental challenge of trying to address the ultimate question about love….
What I ultimately wrote was a combination of personal experience and research, including that conversation I had decades ago. You know how every now and then you discuss a subject with someone and you never forget what was said? Well, I always knew that particular conversation was important. I just didn’t know at the time where it would lead.
Does your inspiration come from anywhere else?
I owe a debt of gratitude to my late Great Dane (sadly is no longer with us). I’d just finished the first draft of the manuscript and I had a dream that she ate it. Shredded it in fact…with her tail wagging as I chased her around the room. A pretty obvious message, I thought, that the manuscript needed more work!
So you kept going?
When I woke, I took a deep breath, went for a long walk, and didn’t look at what I’d written for two weeks. I occupied my time swimming, running, weight-lifting and did some of my marine-themed art while I allowed my unconscious mind to unravel some plot problems and strengthen a number of scenes. Then it was back to work with renewed energy and creativity.
How do you create a character?
Most writers will tell you to look at the people you know, and then use elements of their characters. I wouldn’t disagree with this, but I also like my characters to be robustly independent of each other, so that their interactions are more entertaining. Once again, time is important – they need to be allowed to grow as the writing process continues.
In my first draft, I establish the core elements of a character and then, through subsequent drafts (yes, there were several!), I develop their quirks, passions, style of dialog etc.
Random question: Are you a good chef, Ben?
Afraid not. I do chuck things in a slow cooker and eat the bubbling mass at the end of the day. I admit to being bored of the same old favourites but the problem is, I’m too lazy to read cook books. It served me right when I was given a jar of black beans which I soaked, but didn’t know I was meant to cook. Some impressive stomach cramps!
What will your next meal be?
I’m eating while I type. The bag says “cashew nuts” on it, but we all know cashews aren’t nuts!
Where will you be ten years from now?
On a beach, holding hands with the woman of my dreams, staring out to sea, with a feeling, better, a conviction that we are turning the plight of the oceans around. There are things that can be done, but they will require a lot of work. It’ll be worth it though!
What can we look forward to next from you?
Something in the Water will be supported by a series of short stories that reveal the backstories of the major characters in this world. They are a varied collection of individuals, each of whom is pursuing their own agenda. I decided some time ago that it would be fascinating to explore their backstories at formative times in their lives—the times that made them the people they are in my novel.
The first in the series, Something in the Air, is available now free at my website as well as free on Kobo (also available at Amazon). It focuses on war hero Daniel Dragan, when he returns from Vietnam.
The second short story in the series, Something on the Fly, will be released in the Spring!
Something in the Water - available on Amazon http://bit.ly/SITWbtour2am
Something in the Air –
Something in the Water – Chapter 1 begins…
New York, September
He didn’t look like the hotel guests, the business people, or the tourists. He didn’t move like them either.
He brushed past me as I climbed off my Vespa, stilettos in hand, outside the entrance of the Waldorf Astoria. Had he smiled at the radiance of my scarlet ball gown? Or was he amused by my battered Converse sneakers?
As a valet approached to take my scooter and helmet, I spotted my boss, Malcolm, waving hello from the lobby. He was approaching the glass doors that separated us when I noticed a small wooden box on the ground. Two steps later, I had picked it up. Who could have dropped it?
No one was close by, so I turned. The only man who’d passed me was already a half block away, gliding beside the cars that waited for the lights to change at the end of the block. Was it his?
What I knew for sure was that now wasn’t the time to be tracking down the little box’s owner. I should hand it in to reception and concentrate on the evening ahead. For a few seconds, I relaxed as I studied the hotel’s confident, soaring opulence—a world unknown to me before my arrival from Nantucket four years ago. The smooth texture of the box, however, drew my thoughts back to it. Was there something valuable inside? What if it did belong to that man, and he never returned to collect it? I turned the box over—and caught my breath.
“How on earth…?”
Malcolm emerged in front of me. “Hello, darling, you look absolutely—are you okay?”
I thrust my sparkly evening shoes into his hands, and hitched up my shawl. I was about to give chase when a convertible Ferrari lurched to a stop beside me.
“Going my way, babe?” its driver shouted, over the thrum of the engine.
But my dress was redder, and I got the better start.
You can find the rest of Something in the Water, Chapter 1 at http://ben-starling.com/chapter-one/
Look out for the review! To be posted soon!
Nothing is more heart-warming than kisses from the pet who adores you and the man who loves you, so snuggle up with VALENTINE PETS & KISSES â an anthology of fourteen sweet romances from USA Today bestselling and award-winning authors â and strike the perfect mood for moonlit walks and candlelight dinners with your pet and sweetheart.
Check out descriptions and excerpts from two of the stories featured in the anthology!
Trembling Hearts - Suzette Riddick
Recluse Jason Carr is living in rural Virginia after an accident leaves him physically scarred. While taking a stroll and minding his business, the spunky Lezlie Sharpe literally crashes into his life, stealing the heart of his beloved pooch, Trooper. Now, forced to share living quarters, will Lezlie capture Jasonâs heart too?
Whatever smart aleck retort she had ready to sass at him died on her lips. The dog's owner was a mountain of a man. Her eyes traveled his entire length. He had to stand at least six-five with shoulders nearly spanning the width of the doorway he occupied.
She let out a long, slow breath. Lord have mercy he didn't have a shirt on. And those pajama bottoms were riding low on his hips. She tried forcing her eyes not to stare at the dark hair on his chest tapering down toward his pelvis. But failed miserably. Her bosom rose and fell with each breath she inhaled and exhaled. Her fingertips were itching to caress his golden brown, chiseled, tight abdomen.
She bit her bottom lip to keep from moaning as her eyes traveled up to his stony face. The faded jagged scar slashed across his right cheek gave him a dangerous, but oh so sexy look. She could tell at one time he was what her grandma referred to as âprettyâ boy handsome.
She continued to gape at him, her eyes blinking, wondering where in the world he had been all her life. The pain in her head was warring with the butterflies in her stomach.
The butterflies were winning.
Valentino, Be Mine - Tina D.C. Hayes
Kaylee Rose is thrilled when a neighbor moving out of the country asks if she'll consider taking in her teacup Yorkie, Valentino, but there are a few strings attached. When she finds out a man she can't stand is the other caretaker, she's forced to deal with the arrogant jerk until they decide who gets the pampered pooch permanently . . . or risk losing the dog to a heartbreaking fate.
Kaylee hoped punctuality weighed somewhere in their evaluation, because whoever Carter was, he or she was fifteen minutes late the last time Kaylee checked her watch. Not that she minded. It was a little intimidating to meet the other potential owner. What if Valentino liked Carter better?
As if he sensed her worry, the Yorkie wiggled around in her arms and licked her cheek again. She draped him over her shoulder, a position she knew from experience that he enjoyed, and nuzzled her cheek against him.
Something behind Kaylee caught Ruthieâs attention. A silly grin twisted her mouth as she threw her hand up in an exaggerated wave. Unless this Carter person was a complete moron, they were pretty hard to miss, since they were the only people in that part of the park.
âCarter, over here!â Ruthie stood and flapped her arms even more.
OMG. Either Pamâs personal assistant had finally lost it after years of dealing with her perfectionist boss or there must be a celebrity walking up behind them. Kaylee was afraid to look. She racked her brain for any movie stars named Carter but couldnât come up with a single one. From the blush on the other womanâs face, she was pretty sure Carter was a man, and if not a famous one, he must be drop dead gorgeous.
Valentinoâs tail wagged in Kayleeâs face as he barked his hello and squirmed against her shoulder. A masculine laugh sounded before Carter greeted them. âGood morning, Ruthie.â
Kaylee ran her hand through her hair and pushed a section of bobbed blonde locks behind her ear before she turned around to meet him.
Sunglasses hid his eyes, but she could definitely understand why the PA was acting like a teenage girl backstage at a One Direction concert. Carter was smoking hot.
Suzette Riddick is a wife, mother and nurse practitioner who enjoys writing romance novels with a touch of reality.
Tina D.C. Hayes writes romantic suspense and cozy mysteries while her pampered pooches and parrots stand guard against writer's block.
Tina D.C. Hayes