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One sultry night, a young bride overhears an extraordinary conversation. The voices speak of a plot to murder a wife who has failed to produce a child and whose family has failed to produce the promised dowry. . . Megha is sick with horror when she realizes she is the intended victim. Her husband--the very man who tied the sacred necklace of marriage around her neck--and his mother are plotting to kill her! In the moment of panic, she runs for her life. Frantically racing through Palgaums deserted streets, her way lit only by the lights strung up for the Diwali festival, her single goal is to escape death by fire. But fleeing from her would-be killers seems impossible--unless she can find someone to help her. . . To approach her best friend would bring scandal to an innocent womans doorstep, and turning to her own strict, conservative family is out of the question. Instead, with nothing but the sari she wears and a memory of kindness, Megha finds her way to Kiran, the one man who has shown her friendship and respect. Hiding her in his apartment, Kiran becomes her protector. But the forbidden attraction that grows between them can only bring more danger. . . Caught between tradition and the truths buried in her heart, a dowry bride will discover the real cost of the only things worth having in life. . . "Packed with detail. . . splendidly depicts passion, brutality, and cultures in conflict. " --Dorothy Garlock
Set in the sensual richness of India, Shobhan Bantwals gripping new novel asks: Where can a woman turn when her lifes greatest blessing is seen as a curse? Its a girl! For most young couples, news of their unborn childs gender brings joyful anticipation. Not so for Isha Tilak and her husband, Nikhil. They already have a beloved daughter, but Nikhils parents, hard-wired to favor male children above all, coldly reject little Priya at every turn. Vain and selfish, they see female grandchildren as burdens, and would just as soon never meet the one growing in Ishas belly. Even the obstetrician agrees, going so far as to suggest the unthinkable, throwing Nikhil into a rage--and changing Ishas life forever. . . When Nikhil is discovered brutally murdered, Isha is convinced it had something to do with his reaction to the doctors hideous "solution" to their problem. Alone, grief-stricken, and relentlessly oppressed by in-laws who believe her baby is a bad omen, Isha sets out on her own. Born into a privileged class, Isha doesnt know the first thing about fending for herself, but to protect her precious daughters, she will learn. And she will cling to the hope given to her by a strange old mystic: that her baby will arrive on the auspicious night of Kojagari Purnima, the full harvest moon, and be a gift from Lakshmi, the goddess of well-being. Isha and her girls will need all the blessings they can get, for the greatest danger of all lies ahead. . . Praise for Shobhan Bantwal and The Dowry Bride "Splendidly depicts passion, brutality, and cultures in conflict. " --Dorothy Garlock "Vivid, rich. . . expertly portrays a young woman caught between love and duty, hope and despair. " --Anjali Banerjee Reading Group Guide Inside Shobhan Bantwal was born and raised in India and came to the United States as a young bride in an arranged marriage. She has published short fiction in literary magazines and articles in a number of publications. Writing plays in her mother tongue (Indian language--Konkani) and performing on stage at Indian-American conventions are some of her hobbies. She lives in New Jersey with her husband. Shobhan loves to hear from her readers.
To Soorya Giri, arranged marriages have always seemed absurd. But while her career as an environmental lawyer has flourished, Soorya is still a virgin, living with her parents in suburban New Jersey. She wants to be married. And she is ready to do the unthinkable ...
What makes a marriage-love or compatibility? Passion or pragmatism? Shobhan Bantwal's compelling new novel explores the fascinating subject of arranged marriage, As a young Indian-American woman navigates the gulf between desire and tradition. . . to Soorya Giri, arranged marriages have always seemed absurd. But while her career as an environmental lawyer has flourished, Soorya is still a virgin, living with her parents in suburban New Jersey. She wants to be married. And she is finally ready to do the unthinkable. . . Soorya's first bridal viewings are as awkward as she anticipated. But then she's introduced to Roger Vadepalli. Self-possessed, intelligent, and charming, Roger is clearly interested in marriage and seems eager to clinch the deal. Attracted to him in spite of her mistrust, Soorya is also drawn into a flirtation with Lou, a widowed colleague who is far from her family's idea of an acceptable husband. In choosing between two very different men, Soorya must reconcile her burgeoning independence and her conservative background. And she must decide what matters most to her-not just in a husband, but in a family, a culture, and a life. . . "One of the best [novels] I've read this year. I couldn't put it down. . . this book is a gem!" --Mary Monroe, New York Times bestselling author on the Unexpected Son "Compelling and memorable. " -Mary Jo Putney, New York Times bestselling author on the Forbidden Daughter "Vivid, rich. . . expertly portrays a young woman caught between love and duty, hope and despair. " -Anjali Banerjee on the Dowry Bride "Dazzles you with a taste of Desi culture in America. " -Caridad Pineiro
In her thought-provoking, uplifting new novel, Shobhan Bantwal vividly blends the nuances of contemporary Indian-American culture with an unconventional romance. . . At thirty-one, Meena Shenoy has a fulfilling career at a New Jersey high-tech firm. Not that it impresses her mother and aunts, who make dire predictions about her ticking biological clock. Men are drawn to Meena's dainty looks and she dates regularly, but hasn't met someone who really intrigues her. Someone professional, ambitious, confident, caring. Someone like her new boss, Prajay Nayak. Just as Meena's thoughts turn to romance, Prajay makes an astonishing request. He wants her to craft a personal ad that will help him find a suitable wife: a statuesque, sophisticated Indian-American woman who will complement his striking height. Despite her attraction to Prajay and the complications of balancing work and her marriage consultant role, Meena can't refuse the generous fee. And as her family is thrown into turmoil by her brother's relationship with a Muslim woman, Meena comes to surprising realizations about love, tradition, and the sacrifices she will--and won't--make for the sake of both. One of the best [novels] I've read this year. I couldn't put it down. . . this book is a gem! --Mary Monroe, New York Times bestselling author on The Unexpected Son Compelling and memorable. --Mary Jo Putney, New York Times bestselling author on The Forbidden DaughterVivid, rich. . . expertly portrays a young woman caught between love and duty, hope and despair. --Anjali Banerjee on The Dowry Bride Dazzles you with a taste of Desi culture in America. --Caridad Piñeiro
Pungent curry. . . sweet fried onions. . . incense. . . colorful beads. . . lush fabrics. Shobhan Bantwals compelling new novel is set on the streets of Edison, New Jerseys 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 Edisons bustling Little India. But when Anjali learns the shop is on the brink of bankruptcy, she feels her world unraveling. . . To the rescue comes Anjalis 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 hes Indian. Rishis cool, foreign demeanor triggers distrust in Anjali and her mother. But for Anjali, he also stirs something else, a powerful attraction she hasnt felt in a decade. And the feeling is mutual. . . Love disappointed Anjali once before and shes 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 Rishis past is revealed, Anjali must turn to her family and her strong cultural upbringing to guide her in finding the truth. . . Praise for Shobhan Bantwal and her novels. . . "Compelling and memorable. " --Mary Jo Putney on The Forbidden Daughter "Vivid, rich. . . expertly portrays a young woman caught between love and duty, hope and despair. " --Anjali Banerjee on The Dowry Bride "Splendidly depicts passion, brutality, and cultures in conflict. "--Dorothy Garlock on The Dowry Bride"The Dowry Bride is an eye-opener to the challenges many Indian women face in a culture few foreigners comprehend. --ArmchairInterviews. com, 4 stars on The Dowry Bride "A beautifully written book. . . Wonderful, vivid, and worth reading. "--BookIdeas. com on The Dowry Bride"An amazing story of modern India. "--The Kaleidoscope on The Dowry Bride
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