Beneath An Indian Sky by Renita D’Silva

Synopsis: 1928. In British-ruled India, headstrong Sita longs to choose her own path, but her only destiny is a good marriage. After a chance meeting with a Crown Prince leads to a match, her family’s status seems secured and she moves into the palace, where peacocks fill the gardens and tapestries adorn the walls. But royal life is far from simple, and her failure to provide an heir makes her position fragile. Soon Sita is on the brink of losing everything, and the only way to save herself could mean betraying her oldest friend…

2000. When Priya’s marriage ends in heartbreak, she flees home to India and the palace where her grandmother, Sita, once reigned as Queen. But as grandmother and granddaughter grow closer, Priya has questions. Why is Sita so reluctant to accept that her royal status ended with Independence? And who is the mysterious woman who waits patiently at the palace gates day after day? Soon Priya uncovers a secret Sita has kept for years – and which will change the shape of her life forever…

Kat’s Rating: 5/5 Continue reading

A Daughters Courage by Renita D’Silva

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Synopsis: 1929. When a passionate love affair threatens to leave Lucy in disgrace, she chooses a respectable marriage over a life of shame. With her husband, coffee plantation owner James, she travels to her new home in India, leaving her troubled past behind her. 

Everything in India is new to Lucy, from the jewel-coloured fabrics to the exotic spices. When her path crosses that of Gowri, a young woman who tends the temple on the plantation’s edge, Lucy is curious to find out more about her, and the events that lead her to live in isolation from her family… 

Now. With her career in shatters and her heart broken by the man she thought was her future, Kayva flees from bustling Mumbai to her hometown. A crumbling temple has been discovered in a village nearby, and with it letters detailing its tragic history – desperate pleas from a young woman called Gowri. 

As Kavya learns of Gowri and Lucy’s painful story, she begins to understand the terrible sacrifices that were made and the decision the two women took that changed their lives forever. Can the secrets of the past help Kavya to rebuild her life? 

Kat’s Rating: 5/5

Kat’s Review: I confess that before I had read Renita’s work I was always a little put off. I don’t know why but the synopsis always seemed a little too ‘not my thing’. However, after reading the first book by her I was smitten. I always love it when an author and their book surprises me. Since then I have goine on to read and loved her tales, because that what they are. Cleverly woven stories which literally take you on a journey. When I saw she has a new book out I have to admit I was apprehensive. When you fall in love with an author and their work, I always get a little bit scared that their following books won’t live up to my expectations. Thankfully I was wrong and this book swept me away as much as her others have, if not more.

I confess when the synopsis indicated we would be reading about Lucy and Gowri in the 1920’s my heart sunk a little. I have never been big on historical settings however by the time I had finished the book I was literally blown away. This story is tragic, emotional and so compelling I literally didn’t want to put it down, something I never thought I would say when it comes to historical stories.

Lucy lives in England and Gowri in India. Their lives could not be further apart and their stories end up being completely interweaved in a tale that swept me away to tyhe wilds of India. Gowri is a young woman who was given as a Devadasi when she was a young girl. Upon finishing this book I googled and read a lot more about this sad and sorry tradition where young girls become a servant of God and essentially nothing more than a mans toy. My heart wept for Gowri but the story was told with such passion and heart that I didn’t just imagine this story, but felt like I was right there with her. On the opposite side of the world Lucy is an entitled young British woman who seems to have it all. Her story takes a turn when she makes a huge mistake in her life which leads her into the arms of James, a young eligible Bachelor who owns a plantation in India.

In addition to Lusy and Gowri we meet Kavya who is living in the present day and who has had to make the decision to return to her village after failings in her personal life. We also briefly meet Sue, a widow who is working through the grief of lsoing her husband whilst recently discovering she was pregnant. Although Gowri and Lucy stole the show for me, both Kavya and Sue were pivotal to the story towards the end. The book started a little slower than her usual books but with perfectly good reason. The background is all important as these girls lives are laid out before us.

This book was a sheer joy to read and I am putting myself out on a limb by saying this is the best book I have read in this genre this year. Please do not make assukmptions like I once did by either teh synopsis, or cover not being the style you would read. This is true storytelling at it’s best and transporting you to another time and another world. One that had me absorbed to the end. A truly outstanding book that I hugely reccomend to everybody. This is by far the best work Renita D’Silva has written and a book that I absolutely LOVED!

A Mother’s Secret by Renita D’Silva

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Synopsis: What if you discovered that everything you knew about yourself was a lie?

When pregnant Jaya loses her mother, then her baby son Arun in a tragic cot death, her world crashes down. Overcome by grief and guilt, she begins to search for answers – to the enigma of her lonely, distant mother, and her mysterious past in India. 

Looking through her mother’s belongings, she finds two diaries and old photographs, carrying the smoky aroma of fire. A young boy smiles out at Jaya from every photograph – and in one, a family stand proudly in front of a sprawling mansion. Who is this child? And why did her mother treasure this memento of a regal family lost to the past? 

As Jaya starts to read the diaries, their secrets lead her back to India, to the ruin of a once grand house on a hill. There, Kali, a mad old lady, will unlock the story of a devastating lie and a fire that tore a family apart. Nothing though will prepare Jaya for the house’s final revelation, which will change everything Jaya knew about herself. 

KAT’S RATING: 5/5

KAT’S REVIEW: Renita’s last book blew me away and if I’m honest I figured it may just have been that particular story. However, having devoured this latest book I now know for sure it’s the author and not just the story that makes you fall in love with a book. Durga, Kali and Jaya are all the focus of this intricately weaved story and one that I just fell in love with.

Durga is a young girl who has been sent to stay with her Grandmother who lives in a once grand house on a hill. Durga is a delightful character, a young girl who is labelled as naughty and is struggling to come to terms with her new home. However, upon arrival at her new home she sees that an older lady Kali is living there and being looked after by her grandmother. Kali is the other main character that is slowly introduced to the story. In addition we see Jaya living in London and dealing with the aftermath and emotional effects of losing her mother and newborn son.

Jaya’s story was in interesting one and as each story is unfolded at times I wondered what I was missing. I knew there were connections but just couldn’t see them. Once I was a quarter of the way in I knew I was hooked and there was no way I was putting this book down. Renita D’Silva has a way with words and as a reader you feel like she can physically transport you to that small village in India. You can see the sights, smell the spices and imagine you are right there alongside the characters.

As the story progresses I became more and more lost in this story and the connections became more and more revealed and the story just sweeps you along. The story is packed full of hope, despair, tragedy, loss and a whole host of other emotions. This is the second of Renita’s books that have literally knocked my socks off. They have such a different feel to them and I always feel that ridiculous sense of loss when the story is finished. I will hold my hands up and admit that seeing the cover and even reading the synopsis of her last book, I still thought “this isn’t for me”. Maybe that ridiculous pre-judgement makes me even more happy as the story took me by surprise. Truly a delight to read and a loss when finished. This is definitely a book I would highly recommend and I would urge you to give it a try even if it’s not your normal type of book, as it may just surprise you.

A Sister’s Promise by Renita D’Silva

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Synopsis: Two sisters. Bound by blood. Torn apart by love. My sister – the glue that held our family together and the gatekeeper to the memories of our shared childhood. The girl I made a pact with – to protect each other for life. The woman who destroyed my family, my future. And the only one who can save my daughter. Set against the dramatic backdrop of India, A Sister’s Promise is a powerful, emotional tale of family secrets, love and the ties that bind sisters together.

Kat’s Rating: 5/5

Kat’s Review: Wow! I wasn’t sure what I expected when I knew I had the new Renita D’Silver book to read. I certainly enjoyed the first one I read, but the synopsis for this latest book didn’t seem very enticing. Now I have finished the book, I can understand why it is written in the way it is. I picked up this book and to be honest for the first few chapters was wondering if this was the same author. It seemed disjointed, who were all these people and what on earth was going on? It turns out that Renita was doing what she was clearly born to do. She was weaving her web in your subconscious, waiting for the moment maybe 5 or 6 chapters in when you just knew anything you had planned for the next few hours was NOT getting done.

Like I say by the time Renita had me in her clutches I wasn’t getting out of it that easily. My dinner, ironing and anything else remotely housework like was discarded because I just couldn’t stop reading. We meet two sisters Sharda and Puja, both completely different, but with good reason. It’s extremely difficult to explain anything about this storyline without giving away far too much. Half the love of this story was the finding out part.

What I can tell you is that the book took me on a journey, one that was filled with love, laughter and sadness all wrapped up into one. Renita has a magic ability to transport you in this case from London to India. I could almost smell the smells and see the sights. From the moment I was collared I didn’t put the book down until I was finished. I can truly say I finished this book and felt breathless it left such an impact. I love the fact that you are reading about a different culture to the one here in England and the writing and storytelling was truly magnificent. With just over half the year gone, I am convinced that this will be one of my top 3 books for 2015 in this genre. This was an exhilarating and emotional read that will leave you wanting more.

I truly can’t explain just how wonderful this book was. If you want to read something a little bit different I would urge you to give this a go. At first glance it may not seem your thing, but I think you will be pleasantly surprised by the story Renita has in store. Wonderful!

In addition to this maybe check out the Publisher Bookouture, these guys are giving the Big Boy Publishers a run for their money with the amount of cracking authors they have producing first class books lately.

Stolen Girl by Renita D’Silva

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My Rating: 4/5

Availability: Paperback, Kindle,  Nook and Kobo

Synopsis: ‘Your mother has been arrested. She stole you.’ 

For as long as thirteen-year-old Diya can remember, it’s always been just her and her mum, Vani. Despite never staying in one place long enough to call it home, with her mother by her side, Diya has never needed anything else. Then, in an instant, Diya’s fragile world is shattered. Her mother is arrested, accused of abducting Diya when she was a baby… Vani has spent a lifetime looking over her shoulder, determined to make the best possible life for her daughter. Now she must fight for her child, re-opening the door to her own childhood in India and the woman who was once as close to her as a sister. Told through the eyes of Diya, Vani and Aarti, this is a heart-breaking story of friendship and betrayal, love and motherhood, which asks the question; how far would you go to protect your only child? 

My Review: I was a little apprehensive when I started this as it sounded a little out of my comfort zone; however, I was more than pleasantly surprised. The story is told initially from a young 13 year old Diya’s point of view. The story starts out quite emotionally charged as the reader witnesses the horror that a young confused 13 year old experiences when her Mother is arrested and accused of abducting Diya when she was a baby. The first few chapters I found a little hard going as it seemed there was nothing other than a few confused ramblings of a confused young girl. Once I reached the halfway book those thoughts were long gone and I was loathed to put the book down.

D’Silva has created a wonderful read by creating layers that are slowly revealed as we learn slowly each person involved in their own element of the story. Diya’s mother Vani starts to reveal her own story much further into the book but as we see it revealed I thought I had it all figured out, to realise very quickly that I didn’t have the first clue. In addition to that we also meet Aarti who is battling her own demons. With each chapter that was written I felt myself being drawn into the story more and more.

With a heart-breaking story, wonderful characters and such raw emotion D’Silva had me hooked. A beautiful story that I think many people would love to read. Not an author I have come across before, but one that I will be looking at more closely in the future.