Monday, October 5, 2009

Blog Tour and Review: The Sari Shop Widow by Shobhan Bantwal



I am so excited to be able to participate in the Blog Tour for The Sari Shop Widow by Shobhan Bantwal. The following is a summary from the Kensington Publishing website:

Pungent curry…sweet fried onions…incense…colorful beads…lush fabrics. Shobhan Bantwal’s compelling new novel is set on the streets of Edison, New Jersey’s Little India, where a young businesswoman rediscovers the magic of love and family…

Since becoming a widow at age twenty-seven, Anjali Kapadia has devoted herself to transforming her parents' sari shop into a chic boutique, brimming with exquisite jewelry and clothing. Now, ten years later, it stands out like a proud maharani amid Edison’s bustling Little India. But when Anjali learns the shop is on the brink of bankruptcy, she feels her world unraveling…

To the rescue comes Anjali’s wealthy, dictatorial Uncle Jeevan and his business partner, Rishi Shah—a mysterious Londoner, complete with British accent, cool gray eyes, and skin so fair it makes it hard to believe he’s Indian. Rishi’s cool, foreign demeanor triggers distrust in Anjali and her mother. But for Anjali, he also stirs something else, a powerful attraction she hasn’t felt in a decade. And the feeling is mutual…

Love disappointed Anjali once before and she’s vowed to live without it—though Rishi is slowly melting her resolve and, as the shop regains its footing, gaining her trust. But when a secret from Rishi’s past is revealed, Anjali must turn to her family and her strong cultural upbringing to guide her in finding the truth…

My Review:
As this book opens, Anjali is helping her parents run the Silk and Sapphires boutique in a community known as Little India in New Jersey.  After her beloved husband passed away ten years before, she has invested all that she had into the little boutique, so she definitely has a vested interest in the success of the business.  Anjali found that she had quite a knack for design so she ran that aspect of the business while her father took care of the administrative side.

Anjali has noticed that business has been a bit slow lately, so she really wasn't too surprised when her father informed her that the boutique is in serious financial trouble and they stand to lose everything.  Not knowing where to turn, her father decides to seek advice from his older brother Jeevan.  Jeevan has been known to always have a good head for business and if anyone was going to help them get out of this jam he knew Jeevan would be the one to accomplish the task.

Since uncle Jeevan lives in India, he has only been to the United States to visit his family a few times, but the impression from those few visits as being the rich, tyrant uncle was embedded into everyone's minds.  When Anjali and her parents are informed that Jeevan will be helping them with their dilemma, and he will be staying with them until the task is completed, everyone is on pins and needles awaiting the arrival of this demanding man.  When he does show up at their doorstop everyone is quite shocked when they find that not only will he be staying with them for the duration of the project, but he has also brought along his business partner Rishi as a consultant.

As Rishi and Anjali are working so closely to get the store on the right track they can't help but notice the spark that has been created between them.  Anjali knows that she hasn't felt anything like this since she lost her husband but is worried about the outcome of their relationship if it should develop.  She thinks that after his consultation project is over he will be on his way and out of her life, so she finds it very difficult to let her guard down around Rishi and allow her to share her true feelings.

While Rishi and Anjali are appearing to be building a relationship, Jeevan uses this time to try to mend his own relationships with his family.  As the story develops we find that Jeevan came to the United States with his own secrets and we learn more about what made him the businessman that he has become.  It is not until Jeevan confides honestly in his family that they can finally come to terms with his demanding ways and accept him wholly into their lives.  

I believe that this book may fall into the romance genre, but to me it was really much more than that.  This book really gives you a good taste of the Indian culture. It helped me to visualize the beauty of the elegant silk fabrics and smell the aroma of the ethnic foods.  I loved how this novel shared the importance of family bonds, stressing that when one is in trouble you strive together as a unit to work it out.  You can find more books that are laced with Indian culture at Shobhan Bantwal's website. I want to give a special thank you to both Jamie and Dorothy from Pump Up Your Book Promotion for allowing me to participate in this virtual tour. Please be sure to check back tomorrow for a special guest post from Shobhan Bantwal.

My Rating: 4/5

13 comments:

Diane said...

I toured this book as well. I LOVE the cover and rated it this book the same as you. I don't read romance usually, but this wasn't bad. Great review!

Margot at Joyfully Retired said...

I like the sounds of this one. It sounds like it appeals to the senses with the food, fabric, etc. I'll look for it.

Alyce said...

Great review! I like books that teach me something about the culture while I'm reading.

JM said...

I can't wait to read this book. :) I love Shobhan's work.

stacybuckeye said...

I've read other reviews of this book, but yours is the one that has me adding it to my wish list. Great review!

Dar said...

Great review Jo-Jo. I'd love to read this book.

Shobhan Bantwal said...

Jo-Jo,

Thank you for that glowing review and for your kind words.

I appreciate your hosting me on your popular blog during my virtual tour and for helping me promote my latest book, THE SARI SHOP WIDOW.

Shobhan Bantwal
Author of The Sari Shop Widow and other books.
www.shobhanbantwal.com

Amy said...

Love your review! It gives me a great idea what this book is about and what I can expect but leaves me wanting to know more! I really want to read the story! Thank you!

Veens said...

That sounds like a good read..

Great review! I can easily visualize this one made into a Bollywood movie :D

Serena said...

This sounds like a lovely book

carolsnotebook said...

This sounds like a wonderful book. The relationships sound real and I like the idea of learning about the culture of "Little India"

Sheila (bookjourney) said...

What an incredible looking book! This sounds like one I would really enjoy.

tea said...

I love your review. Sounds like a sweet romance is going on too.