This is the long awaited third novel from Meera Syal, CBE, the acclaimed actress of stage and screen. Her first novel, Anita and Me, was made into a film and was widely enjoyed.
In this book she explores many themes of life for a forty-four year old woman who longs for a baby. Our heroine, Shyama lives in London where she has a good beauty business, a teenage daughter and a younger partner, Toby.
The relationships between Shyama and her family which includes her elderly parents are realistically drawn and we learn of her own desires through her reactions to her family and friends. She is a caring mother and daughter but in trying to please everyone she complicates her life to frustrating degree.
I really liked her and understood how she tried to control her family but also found her irritating, which made her more sympathetic.
In a rural village in India, young Mala, is trapped in an oppressive marriage, dreams of escape. When Shyama and Mala meet, they help each other realise their dreams.
But will fate guarantee them both happiness?
Brimming with warmth, wit and indignation, Meera Syal immerses us in a devastating story of friendship, family and the lengths women will go to have a child.
I loved this book and can recommend anyone, any age or any sex to read it. I learned so much about India and its culture by becoming a friend of Shyama who is a middle class, affluent, modern woman, who is divorced from her Indian husband with a 19 year old daughter from their marriage and now middle aged with a partner, Toby, ten years her junior.
Their mission for a child takes them back to India where we are involved in the movement of rage and backlash against violence and misogyny, and the men taking advantage of those women trying to break the traditional mould in education and the workplace.
Much of the plot is predictable but to our surprise much is not, keeping me intrigued and caring to the end. The writing is taut but descriptive. It is a long book, but I was never bored or rushing to get to the end. It looks as though Meera has another hit on her hands.
The book is published by Random House UK on 4th June 2015 in hardback RRP £14.99