Sunday, 30 March 2014

Guest Book Review: Renita D'Silva - The Forgotten Daughter

Reviewed by Danielle Pullen

‘You were adopted’. 

Three simple words, in a letter accompanying her parents' will, tear Nisha’s carefully ordered world apart. Raised in England, by her caring but emotionally reserved parents, Nisha has never been one to take risks. 

Now, with the scrawled address of an Indian convent begins a search for the mother and family she never knew and the awakening of childhood memories long forgotten. 

The secrets, culture and people that Nisha discover will change her life forever. And, as her eyes are opened to a side of herself she didn’t know existed, Nisha realizes that she must also seek answers to the hardest question of all – why? 

Amazon links: Kindle

D’Silva’s second novel is the story of three women, Nisha, Devi and Shilpa. The story begins with Nisha who has lost both of her parents in a car accident. If that is not enough, she learns shortly after their death that she was adopted from a nunnery in India. Devi is dealing with her own difficult circumstances. Her mother is dying and Devi is holding vigil by her bedside, reading her mum’s journals while watching her slip away. Shilpa’s life is colourful. She grew up in a small Indian village, surrounded by a close network and relying on traditional cultures and values.

The story is told by alternating chapters focusing on each of the women. This sort of structure only works if the characters are distinct and the voice and tone of the writing reflects these differences. Unfortunately, I did not feel that this was the case and, at the beginning of each chapter, I found myself flicking backwards and forwards to try to follow each woman’s narrative.

Although there is some rich description in the novel, much of this is accomplished via similes and metaphors. These become rather tiresome and the novel does, at times, feel a little like an exercise from a writing workshop rather than a well-rounded balance of description, characterisation and plot.

Despite these issues with the technical nature of the writing, I was carried along by the storyline. I was a huge fan of D’Silva’s first novel, Monsoon Memories, and although this novel did not feel as accomplished as that text, aspects of The Forgotten Daughter have remained with me.

I'd like to thank Oliver at Bookouture for sending me a copy of this eBook and Danielle for reviewing it for me.  

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