Wednesday, February 9, 2011

#BookReview: Haunting Jasmine - Anjali Banerjee

It's early in the year, but I can honestly say this book is a contender for my favorite book of the year.  If you know me, you know I'm a fan of Bollywood.  So it'll come as no surprise to you that I loved Haunting Jasmine.

The recently divorced Jasmine Mistry comes to Shelter Island in the middle of Puget Sound to run her aunt's bookstore for a month.  More than that, she's come to get away from the painful memory of her former husband's betrayal.  Her family believed that as a Bengali American she should have married a Bengali man.  Unfortunately she chose a cheating American.  Her Auntie believes that working in the store will help heal Jasmine's heart.

Left to run the store while her aunt goes to India, Jasmine doubts the store will heal anything.  What it may do is drive her crazy.  She could swear that she hears voices talking to her.  And people keep showing up in the strangest places in the Victorian mansion turned bookstore.  In addition, visitors to the store seem to expect her to know exactly what book they need without them telling her.  The only thing that seems sane in her bookstore world is the handsome Dr. Connor Hunt, a frequent visitor to the store.

What did you like about this book?
First, I have to say I loved the cover.  It's one of the prettiest that I've ever seen.  You can't tell by looking at your screen, but the scarf she's wearing has iridescent glitter in it.  And the colors are just beautiful.

I also loved the storyline.  It reminded me a lot of The Mistress of the Spices, which also happens to be one of my Bollywood favorites.  While the lead character in Mistress was guided by the spices, Jasmine is guided by the literary authors that speak to her.  This was an absolutely fascinating read.

What didn't you like about this book?
I really wanted Jasmine to have her happy ending.  Let me re-phrase that.  The book ends with a potential happy ending for her, but I wanted to read more about it only because I grew so fond of her and wanted to make sure she was really happy.

What could the author do to improve this book?
One of Jasmine's childhood acquaintances walks out on her family and though it's speculated that the pressure of being the perfect Indian wife/mother/daughter may have gotten to her, it's never confirmed.  She was a very minor character, but since she was introduced into the story, I felt like her story line should have been completed.

Published February 2011
Disclosure: Copy received from the publisher.

Theme: Sounds Like A Love Song by Phyllis Hyman

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