Book: A window to her dreams.
Author: Harshali Singh.
The story in a nutshell: Aruna is a divorcee battling the demons of domestic abuse at the hands of her ex-husband (her college-sweetheart) Rafi, that haunt her even after their separation. Thankfully, for her, she has a family who dotes on her. Her large family consists of her father – Arun, mother – Uma, and her siblings – Bhavya, Charu, Dheeraj, and the triplets – Etti, Fanny and Gina, and her father’s best friend, Suresh Uncle. The family showers her with love and attention and gives her the space she so needs as she tries to gather the pieces of her broken heart and shattered dreams.
And, when a proposal from Bhuvan (her college friend, who secretly loved her) falls into her lap, she accepts it eagerly. Her hasty acceptance of the marriage proposal finds her oscillating between certainty and doubt about her decision. The need to have a child of her own and freedom from a judgemental society makes her finally stick to her decision and marry Bhuvan.
However, the demons from her past make it impossible for her to trust the new man in her life. Bhuvan, who is blessed with immense patience and understanding, tries his best to make her comfortable. Finally, after months of staying aloof, love takes over and brings the two together. But, life, as we know, is not a bed of roses, and the thorns that lie in their way towards a happy future is what the rest of the story is all about.
The Review: I am glad I chose this book for reviewing; I find the candy-floss romances of young, teenage love insipid and lacking in any maturity. Love, found after having been through some dreadful times is the kind of love I like reading about. And, ‘ A window to her dreams’ is just that – a second chance at love and life.
The story has been presented in a wonderfully classic way. It has the haveli as its narrator which gives a touch of regality to it. The family that resides in it is as dysfunctional as every other family around us. The father (not very demonstrative) owns a saree shop and wants his son to take over much to the young man’s dislike; the mother, who despite her handicap, gathers the courage to fight for the rights of her family and the happiness of her children, and the brood of seven children with personalities poles apart – all of it makes for a good story that also feels real, relatable.
The characters have been etched very well, each one with their own shades of grey that make them come across as human. The kind of bond that exists between the sisters Aruna, Bhavya and Charu touched my heart and I wished I had a sister of my own with whom I could share my secrets. The character of Rafi is as it should be – like that of an evil man. And, juxtaposed with Rafi’s character is Bhuvan’s – the kind of man every mature woman dreams of, who knows and understands his wife’s need for space; and whose patience, care and loving nature wins Aruna’s heart, his less-than-impressive physical appearance notwithstanding. Ah! I wish there were more men like Bhuvan around us.
In all, I liked the book. The narration, the language, the mood of the story, it holds the story till the end. It did keep me busy turning its pages! The way in which the haveli speaks about its inhabitants as if they were its own children, made it come alive.
Harshali Singh has dealt with the subject of domestic abuse and the havoc it wreaks on a woman’s psyche with amazing sensitivity. My heart goes out to all those women who have to face the kind of torture we can’t even begin to imagine. What kind of a wretched life they must lead – desperate for freedom, but tied down because of their children or their family, or even the society we live in!
The Quibble: It was tedious reading the extraneous stories of all the extra characters. It took the focus away from the main plot, and when the main plot is as interesting as Aruna’s and Bhuvan’s love story, all you want to know is what happens next! But, that’s my opinion. There are many who might find their tales interesting, too!
Also, the internal dialogue – the kind we have with ourselves – seemed superfluous. My patience did get tested at times, and I was tempted to turn to the last page to see what happens at the end!
The end felt a bit predictable. And, I found traces of the old Julia Roberts starrer, ‘Sleeping with the enemy’, in Aruna’s story. Maybe because of the abuse that Rafi inflicted on her and maybe because she found love in the arms of her second husband, Bhuvan.
Ratings: All said, I will give this book 3.5 stars. It does make for a good read, and the topic is socially relevant, too.
*I received a copy of this book from Writersmelon in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
*I am posting my review on Goodreads as well as Amazon.