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Book Review: Sister of My Heart by Chitra B Divakaruni

Out of all the books that trickle down the Fictional area from Indian writers, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni always strikes out, thanks to her writing a mix of Indian and western stories, combining together to form magic. This weekend I picked Sister of My Heart to soothe my soul and my, it was magical! Two sisters, born out of family calamities, sharing a unique bond by beating distance, bad relatives, and society.

Sister of My Heart revolves around Anju and Sudha, born in the same household in Calcutta on the same day- the day when both their mothers are informed that both their husbands are killed in reckless quest for a cave full of rubies. The shock triggers pain in their wombs, a pain that seals Anju and Sudha’s fate forever.

As the time goes by, relatives and society witness an unbreakable bond forming between the two, even if the mothers Gouri (Anju) and Nalini (Sudha) do not get along much. Whispers start pouring from walls into Sudha’s heart, until one day she confronts her Pishi regarding that. From her Pishi, she understands that it was her Father who brought doom upon the family. Because of his tricks, Anju’s father got killed. She is informed that her father was a no-good schemer who brought ruin on his cousin.

Once the secret is revealed, Sudha starts taking a different path from Anju. The dreams of finishing college and opening a successful cloth business takes a sideline. As they grow old, Anju adjusts to a life in California with a man who lusts after Sudha, and Sudha grapples with a mother-in-law who turns towards Goddess Shasti to fill Sudha’s barren womb rather than finding a doctor who can help cure impotency of her son.

Even though differences start creeping in between their relationship, somehow fate always bonds them. Sacrifices are made, families are lost, but Anju and Sudha never give up on each other. Sudha realizes her love for Anju supersedes all, and her love does not come out of the necessity of guilt that her father was responsible for the doom of Anju’s family. She is truly Sister of her heart. But is this love enough? What happens when Anju finds Sudha’s dowry handkerchief lurking in Sunil’s stuff? Guess you and I have to read the sequel; The Vine of Desire for that.

Divakaruni’s books always have a special place in my bookshelf. I started reading her work with Palace of Illusions, and then gradually moved on to her other books. And one thing is always consistent, which I noticed in the Sister of My Heart as well. The intelligence and plot line to combine two worlds, the east and the west. And no matter how many times this theme re-appears in her books, it always leaves me mesmerized. I fall in love every time when I pick her book.

Another beautiful thing about the Sister of My Heart is the relationship between two sisters that has been portrayed. It’s deep, it’s magical If I have to say. Anju was kept on Nalini’s womb so that the dying child can have energy from her to come out and face the world. The power behind this one scene shows how brilliant this book is. In the whole weekend that I spent at my mother’s place, I could never part from this book. Though I had some issues with the length of the book, but it can be ignored.

And the climax, I was shocked! I can’t say much about it because then this review will turn into a spoiler, but climax proves one thing right. Sometimes, things that we are looking for are right in front of us, but we just don’t have the vision for it. All in all, make sure you pick up the Sister of My Heart. Pick it up for Divakaruni, and if not for her, pick it up to celebrate an enduring love between two sisters.

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