Night Road by Kristin Hannah

A book that was recommended by Goodreads. An author I had never heard of, but I guess, now on, I will be keeping an eye out for her books.


For Jude Farraday, a mother of twins, the last eighteen years of her life had been around her children. Mia and Zach, the twins were different personalities. Zach was the super confident boy with all the girls fawning over him. Mia was a shy teenager, who some girls made friends with just to be able to get close to Zach. They lived a seemingly perfect life, in a perfect community.

Lexi Baill, a former foster child moves into their community and ends up as Mia’s best friend. Jude takes Lexi under her wing and tries to make up for the unfortunate life that she had, in whatever little ways she could, without making Lexi feel like a charity case. For the first time in her life, Mia has a friend she can count on, someone who she trusts. Zach and Lexi end up falling in love, which initially upset Mia, but she manages to overcome it, and the three become close buddies.

It is senior year of high school, and the three of them, are in the process of applying for admissions into colleges. Jude starts to feel her control over the twins slipping, she starts to get worried about how close Zach and Lexi seem to be getting. The foreboding of danger that she had, turns into reality when one night, everything changes for the Faraday family and Lexi. A nightmare that they never would have imagined in their wildest dreams. One that shatters them and overnight, from a loving close-knit family, they become a shell of a family.

Jude is in put in a position of having to forgive someone who, in her mind, is the reason for her loss, her tragedy. Jude has to forgive, or live in bitterness. Her sadness and bitterness transforms her into someone totally different from what she had been. It was almost as if her capacity to love had been turned off. All the characters in the book are believable, real and people we start empathizing with.

A beautiful book, am absolute page turner. A book that explores the situation from all view points. From the teenagers(in different situations), from the mother’s when she is unable to let go, and when tragedy strikes. Of love that can be enduring, and lifelong. Of times when forgiving can get one the peace that one longs for. A book that pulls at your heart-strings, and makes you wish that you could just make it all perfect. The pain that the protagonists go through, and the hope that it ends with. An absolutely lovely book. A recommended read.

The Love Verb by Jane Green

Steffi is a chef in a vegan restaurant in New York. Being a rock chick, and living a life on her terms, Steffi is the worry of her dad, who wishes she settled down.

Mason is a publisher who frequents Steffi’s restaurant, and is about to move to London. He wants somebody to look after his dog while he is away.

Steffi’s sister Callie, an exuberant mom of two, is busy with her life in the suburbs, happy balancing her family, and her photography business.

Lila, Callie’s best friend, has finally found the man of her dreams, is in her forties.

Walter, Callie and Steffi’s divorced parents, don’t see eye to eye. Walter to the point, where he refuses to be in the same room, as Honor, their mother.

Living their own lives,engrossed with everyday things until Callie is diagnosed with cancer – again. She had battled cancer, four years ago, and they were about to celebrate 4 years of cancer free life, when it hits again. This time even Callie seems scared. Everything changes overnight. Everybody rallies around Callie and her family, and the way the power of love works, is so heart warming.

A touching book, which has you in tears. It makes you realize how life can change in a minute, and when it does, I suppose that is when the power of love truly affects one. The premise of the book is that love is a verb. It’s a doing thing. What love does to Callie and the people around her. How the love that they have for her, changes lives in unimaginable ways.

A very touching read. It broke my heart and then mended it up as well. A sad, sweet, hopeful, beautifully written story.

The book also has recipes, very interesting vegan recipes, which I had planned to try out, but that unfortunately never happened.

The Wedding Wallah by Farahad Zama

Another book, I chanced upon by accident. I saw it on the ‘just returned books’ shelf in my library, and I had to have it!

It turned out to be a sequel to another series of books, but it still was easy enough to figure out the previous parts of the story.

Mr Ali runs a successful marriage bureau, while Mrs Ali runs a successful campaign against crows in her back yard. Their niece Pari who lives near them, is a widow, and has just adopted a young boy, Vasu. Mr and Mrs Ali have taken her(and her son) under their wings, while hoping that their son, Rehman would get more responsible.

Everybody is pleasantly surprised when Pari gets a marriage proposal from a very affluent lady for her son Dilawar. Everybody is overjoyed and feels that Pari should accept the proposal, while Pari herself seems extremely unsure. Pari had been working at a call centre and felt independent enough to take care of herself and her son. She also loved her husband, and is not quite sure about marrying again.

There is also Aruna(Mr Ali’s assistant) and her husband Ramanujam’s story interwoven with the story.

It was a very interesting read. I read it almost in one sitting. I loved the way the author has brought out scenes in everyday life. I loved his descriptions of the characters. Mrs Ali, and her neighbours, Mr Ali, Pari – all very real, and believable. Mrs Ali’s new cellphone and the way she handles the phone, is so typical of some of the older people I know. Aruna and her husband make a very cute and loving couple – again quite real, in the small town way they are portrayed. Dilawar’s dilemma – to follow society’s norms or to follow his heart..

The book addresses gay rights issues, the campaign in India to legalize gay relationships, and the kind of issues they face in society today from police harassing them to societal condemnation.

The story also brings to front, the Naxalite movement, as is prevalent in certain parts of India, where landlords have oppressed the poorer sections of society for ages.

The author manages to weave in the different political and social issues really well into the story. A fast paced, interestingly written story. I was a little disappointed with the way the book ended. There was something missing. But that might be because there is more in the series to come. I think I will definitely be picking up his other books.

Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult

I never get hold of Jodi Picoults easily. There is a mile long waiting list for them, normally, so when I saw this one sitting in the ‘Just returned’ section, I grabbed it – quick, real quick.

Max and Zoe Baxter are about to have a baby. A much awaited for baby, who came after 5 cycles of IVF treatment, 2 miscarriages, and lots of heart break. Zoe is 28 weeks pregnant, at a baby shower organised for her, when she gets painful cramps, and is rushed to the hospital. They couldn’t find a heart beat for the baby, and she had to be induced to deliver her stillborn son. Heart-broken after the loss of the baby, all Zoe wants is to try for another baby, while all Max wants is a divorce. He has had enough.

The divorce left Zoe depressed, unhappy and with nothing to look forward to, while Max turns to alcohol. An alcoholic, he had stayed dry for a long time, but the loss of the baby and the end of their marriage pushed him over the edge. He discovers God, rather Church which saves him from self-destruction.

Zoe, in the meanwhile, is found to be suffering from cancer, and has had to undergo a hysterotomy and with that loses all hopes of having a baby, until she falls in love with Vanessa. They get married and realize that Zoe’s dream of becoming a mother can still come true. Zoe and Max still had three embryos from their last IVF cycle, and Vanessa could carry the baby, now that Zoe can’t.

Zoe gets in touch with Max to get his permission(both parents’ consent is required) to implant the embryos in Vanessa. To her shock and surprise, Max is a different person now. He has discovered God, a God who according to his church believes that same sex marriages are living in sin. So much so that they end up in court fighting for the right to use the embryo.

Sing You Home has so many aspects covered, Gay and Lesbian rights, the homophobia that is rampant in certain sections of society, the heartbreak that infertility brings.. It brings home to the reader, how difficult things can be to people going through such situations. How fair is it that a gay or a lesbian couple has to fight so hard for things that are considered natural for the rest of us – marriage, becoming parents, living a stigma free life, freedom to love and spend the rest of their life with the love of their life? Does having a different sexual orientation ban a person from these basic rights? Who defines normal?  what makes for a loving family? Can blind belief in religion(or rather interpretation of religion) distort our views?

The book also has a musical score with it. Zoe is a music therapist, and each chapter has a musical score we can listen to while reading – I did not read it with the music. I plan to buy the book, and read it again with the music. Picoult explains quite a bit about music therapy so that we, readers get an idea as to what it is all about.

Another wonderful book by Picoult. Her books never disappoint. I will certainly be reading it again. All the characters are well thought out and well etched out. Zoe’s wonderfully eccentric mother, Max’s conservative, super successful brother, the fanatical Pastor Clive..

Another book which will stay with you. Your heart breaks with Zoe’s, empathize with Vanessa’s insecurities and worries,  you understand how Max is caught between his faith and his doubts about right and wrong.. A book that I will definitely re-read. I would recommend it to anybody who likes Jodi Picoult books – another gem from her.

Love and Devotion by Erica James

Harriet Swift, a  32 year old computer programmer, living a happy, settled life in Oxford is jolted out of her comfort zone when her sister dies. A few years ago, Felicity, her sister had got her to promise that should anything happen to Felicity and her husband, Harriet would look after her children.

Harriet, is at a total loss. She has no maternal instincts, and has no clue how to handle two young children. To add to that she has to give her life, as she knew it, to relocate to where her parents live, to be able to look after her niece and nephew. She needs her parents to help with this task, but it isn’t easy on any one of them.

To add to it all, her parents seem to be having trouble in their relationship, and she discovers that her sister Felicity was not all that she seemed to be.

Will Hart, is a middle-aged divorced man, with two teenage daughters. He is also leading a well ordered life, and wants nothing to change it. He find out that his older daughter is pregnant, and he plays peace maker between his former wife and daughter, to ensure that his daughter is allowed to make her own decisions, without her mother forcing her into anything. Tragedy strikes and nothing is same again.

A sweet story, a book that leaves you feeling happy at the end. It makes you feel for the characters, wishing that everything could just turn out right. The way the little children face their loss is handled so beautifully, and it feels very real. Little Carrie’s bravado, and Joel’s insecurity, and Harriet’s handling of it all, is very well portrayed.

It is mainly about how people cope with loss, how some go strong, some find other avenues to run away from the grief.. And how things do fall back into place, eventually.

A nice read, a sweet story. Something to curl up and have a ‘comfort read’, if you know what I mean.