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.