Saturday, February 4, 2023

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: The Direction of the Wind, by Mansi Shah {ends 2/11}

Guest review by: Becki Bayley

Sophie - 2019

Naresh Uncle had been kind enough to give Sophie an advance on her wages, so she has been able to secure a room at Le Canard Volant beyond the couple nights that Cecile was able to help her with in the beginning. She is now sharing a room with five other girls and is surprised by how many people she’s met at the hostel who have come to Paris to pursue creative endeavors, whether they be art, writing, or food. She has never had such dreams or ideals and cannot recall her friends in India having those types of impractical ambitions either. Her friends enjoy dancing or cooking or art as hobbies, but none would consider stepping outside the confines of their prescribed lives to leave Ahmedabad and pursue such an uncertain career, giving up the comfortable and privileged lives into which they were born. This desire for a life beyond the one you were given seems far more Western than Eastern in her mind, and she does not fully understand it. It seems much simpler to fall in line with the life that is planned for you, especially when you are given so much as part of it, but she now realizes it is easy to be content when you are born into the upper caste. Clearly Nita felt differently and must have had some part of that Western idealism inside of her to have chosen the path she did. 

Not all beautiful stories have a happy ending. It felt warm and familiar getting to know Sophie, as she learned about her mother, Nita. 

Official synopsis:
Book Review and GIVEAWAY: The Direction of the Wind, by Mansi Shah {ends 2/11}
Sophie Shah was six when she learned her mother, Nita, had died. For twenty-two years, she shouldered the burden of that loss. But when her father passes away, Sophie discovers a cache of hidden letters revealing a shattering truth: her mother didn’t die. She left.

Nita Shah had everything most women dreamed of in her hometown of Ahmedabad, India—a loving husband, a doting daughter, financial security—but in her heart, she felt like she was living a lie. Fueled by her creative ambitions, Nita moved to Paris, the artists’ capital of the world—even though it meant leaving her family behind. But once in Paris, Nita’s decision and its consequences would haunt her in ways she never expected.

Now that Sophie knows the truth, she’s determined to find the mother who abandoned her. Sophie jets off to Paris, even though the impulsive trip may risk her impending arranged marriage. In the City of Light, she chases lead after lead that help her piece together a startling portrait of her mother. Though Sophie goes to Paris to find Nita, she may just also discover parts of herself she never knew.

The stories are told in alternating viewpointsSophie in 2019, embarking on the search for her mother, and Nita in 1998, as she first goes to Paris. They are very different women. Neither quite fits into the traditional caste roles they were raised to follow, but their rebellions have been different. Sophie lives in a loophole. By taking care of her supposedly widowed father, she hasn’t had to enter an arranged marriage and take on a household of her own. While Nita knew all along that wasn’t the role she wanted, it takes years before she works up the nerve to escape, which also means leaving her young daughter behind.

The people both women meet along their journeys are never all good or all bad, of course. But while they both thought they knew what to expect in Ahmedabad, India, nothing in Paris turns out like their plans.

This was a wonderful book that earned 5 out of 5 stars from me. It could be recommended to those who enjoy family dramas, books about India and its culture, and stories with realistic female characters. 

{Click here to purchasecurrently free for Kindle Unlimited!}

Becki Bayley is a Gemini who would love to have a super-power ability to fix the world. You can find her @poshbecki on Instagram.


One of my lucky readers will win a copy of The Direction of the Wind!

Enter via the widget below. Giveaway will end on Saturday, February 11th, at 11:59pm EST, and winner will be notified the next day via email, and have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner will be chosen.

U.S. residents only, please.

Good luck!

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