Author: Shobhan Bantwal
ISBN: 978-0-7582-3202-1
Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation

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Accomplished storyteller Shobhan Bantwal immediately grabs your attention and doesn't let go until the last word with her latest romantic novel, The Sari Shop Widow.

Bantwal has authored two previous novels with an Indian setting, both of which have tales woven around hot-button social issues. She decided to set The Sari Shop Widow in the United States in order to give her readers a glimpse into the lives of Indian Immigrants. Nonetheless, her deep interest in women’s issues resonates in this book as well.

Anjali Kappadia is The Sari Shop Widow. She lives with her family in Jackson Heights, New Jersey or as it is referred to as Little India. The characters are so vivid that you befriend the whole family and can’t wait to avidly read their charming story. You are even sorry that it ends.

Anjali, despite her westernization, is deeply rooted in her traditionalism. She knows how Gujarati widows lead a rough life in India, however, in the West her situation is not as precarious. She is a 37- year old widow who lost her husband to an aneurysm a few years ago. Her heart is still numb with pain as she returns to live with her parents and her brother. She throws herself into working at her parent's store, Silk & Saphires where she designs luxury saris and wedding attire for the Indian immigrants who are still holding on to their traditions.  Her only relief is her secret white Protestant boyfriend, Kip Rowling.

Apparently, they are into deep financial trouble and Anjali’s stern uncle Jeevan is coming from India to “fix” things up to the dismay of Anjali and her mom Usha.

Jeevan is an autocratic man with an agenda of his own. His entry into the lives of the Kappadias apparently disrupts their daily lives, until they discover his secret and his true self. Jeevan brings with him his friend and business partner, Rishi Shah, a reluctant and unwelcome third party who will fix their financial woes by transforming Silk & Sapphires into a bigger modern store. 

We can guess from his good looks that Anjali is going to fall in love with him. But, first, he has to gain her trust, and that is something she is not ready to give, especially that she knows that he had a girl friend, Samantha, in England.

Will they get together Indian style with the approval of her family? Will Samantha be out of the picture?

Bantwal’s writing is fluid; there is a lively chatter throughout the novel. The story permeates with the smells and tastes of Gujarati cooking. Her descriptions of saris and salwar kameez and Indian fashion generally are tactile and vivid. We can readily see the beautiful silks and jewelery. We really feel that we are in Little India. Although, her sex scenes are a trifle genteel as if the author was embarrassed for fear of being too risqué, nonetheless they still were quite titillating.

The Sari Shop Widow is a highly entertaining and informative novel. Order your own copy soon!

*Note: The above review was based on an ARC copy of the book.

 Click Here To Purchase The Sari Shop Widow