Hi, everyone! I know Anna and I have been MIA for a while, but with me being in grad school and Anna freshly married, we’ve been a little busy! Thankfully, it’s my Thanksgiving Break (no pun intended) so I actually have some fun reading time. Now, to jump into the review…
I had the opportunity to go to a reading by Jaswal, and I’m so glad I did! I got to hear her read from this book, and it really helped bring the characters to life.
Nikki is a British woman, the daughter of Indian immigrants. When she drops out of law school and then her father dies, she starts working as a creative writing teacher. However, she quickly realizes that most of the Punjabi widows who signed up for the class can barely read English.
By the book’s title, you can probably tell where this is going. I love Nikki’s character, and I respect her trying to straddle her traditional Indian community with her modern British community. Her sister, Mindi, is a good foil to Nikki, as she searches for an arranged marriage throughout the book.
Overall, there is a lot of humor in the book, and I enjoyed the characters and the widows’ stories, as well as the glimpses we get of their inner lives. This book isn’t fast paced, and because of that, we really get to know Nikki as a character. By the halfway point, more community tensions start appearing that add another layer to the book.
I really liked the first ¾ of the novel, but the last quarter was a little too melodramatic. A lot of the events that happen feel very soap opera to me. And since the rest of the book rings very true, this threw me off a bit. And because of that, I knocked this review down to 4 stars.
VERDICT: 4 stars
I also found Nikki’s reaction to the gossip about Jason too overblown. She knew that the gossip the widows spread isn’t always 100% reliable, and yet she takes their gossip and just assumes the worst of Jason. I like the Pride & Prejudice style letter that he writes to her, however!