Discover the secret of the girl in the painting today.
India, 1926: English Margaret arrives with her new husband Suraj at his family home, set amidst beautiful rolling hills, the air filled with the soft scent of spices and hibiscus flowers. Margaret is unwelcome, homesick and lonely, but her maid Archana, a young woman from an impoverished family, reminds her of her long-lost sister, a tiny glimpse of home in a faraway place.
As Margaret and Archana spend more time together, an unexpected friendship blooms. But in British India the divide between rich and poor, English and Indian, is wide, and the clash between Margaret’s modern views and the weight of tradition on Archana will lead to devastating results…
England, 2000: When Emma’s grandmother gives her a mysterious painting, and asks her to take a message of forgiveness to an old friend in India, Emma is relieved to have some time and space to make a decision about her future. But as she fulfils her grandmother’s wish, a secret kept for over seventy years is finally revealed – the story of a day spent painting by a stream full of water lilies, where a betrayal tore three lives apart forever…
Perfect for fans of Kathryn Hughes, Lucinda Riley and The Storyteller’s Secret, Renita D’Silva’s exquisite novel explores the strength it takes to do what is right, no matter the cost.
I love Renita’s books. She is an auto-buy author for me. One thing that makes me enjoy her books is her wonderful, lyrical writing. Renita masterfully brings scenes to life through her words. In this book, India once again comes alive. I not only could visualize the country and its people but could also catch the spicy scents, feel the heat or rain falling and experience the unique cultures of the country. I felt like I taken a trip to India with Renita as my tour guide.
In addition to the descriptiveness of the setting, I loved learning new things especially about the cultural practices. For instance, I learned about Sati from this book. Although now obsolete, Sati was once practiced in parts of India. The author portrays the practice in a way that makes it easy for readers to understand why anyone would have embraced such a barbaric, horrific practice. We got to see why Sati was revered by some of the families. I also had an ‘Aha’ moment when I learned about Bindi. I have always seen Hindu women with the red dot on their foreheads but assumed it’s just decorative. Renita covers different cultural aspects in her story telling without shifting the focus from the main themes.
The themes in this book are quite relatable. The women might have been in India but they represent thoughts, yearnings and experiences that I am certain many women can identify with. Some of the themes that stood out for me include loss, betrayal, motherhood, infertility and female friendships. I also liked the theme of family though some of the families didn’t have the best relationships.
As always with Renita’s books, the character development was perfectly done. I can still visualize the MCs especially Margaret and Archana. I think of Archana with her limp and the white saris that she had to wear. The descriptiveness of their personalities, physical appearances and mannerisms makes me feel like I know these women.
I loved The Girl in the Painting by Renita D’Silva. It’s the kind of book that you want to read slowly to make it last longer but at the same time, struggle to put it down. It made me smile, cry and yes, want to travel to India. I can still hear the children laughing and see their innocent faces as they brought strange gifts to Memsahib. I still think of the women dressed in colorful clothing and see the girls trying to balance between girlhood and rushed womanhood. My heart still breaks for all the women who had their dreams shattered and rejoices for those who found the right way home. I miss all the characters already especially the lovely Archana.
This is another book by Renita that I won’t forget anytime soon. Recommended.
Please check out the rest of the stops for this blog tour:
Renita D’Silva loves stories, both reading and creating them. Her short stories have been published in ‘The View from Here’, ‘Bartleby Snopes’, ‘this zine’, ‘Platinum Page’, ‘Paragraph Planet’ among others and have been nominated for the ‘Pushcart’ prize and the ‘Best of the Net’ anthology. She is the author of ‘Monsoon Memories’,’The Forgotten Daughter’, ‘The Stolen Girl’, ‘A Sister’s Promise’, ‘A Mother’s Secret’, ‘A Daughter’s Courage’, ‘Beneath An Indian Sky’.
The Girl in the Painting by Renita D’Silva was published on April 11th 2019. You buy your copy using the links below: