Title : Secrets and Sins
Author : Jaishree Misra
Publisher : Harper Collins, 2010
Pages : 400
Genre : Fiction
My Rating : 8/10
Reviewed For : Chicklit Club
Well for those wondering - Why put up the review for a book that released way back in 2010, the reason goes like this - It's because this was the first book that I reviewed..and happily so!!! I picked up this book from a local library on an impulse (for which I am still thankful!) and after reading the first few pages, I got hooked!!
This book is a part of a three-book deal that the author made with Harper Collins in UK for their Avon imprint that specialises in commercial fiction. As per the author this book is a "study of infidelity" & once you sit down with this one, the book will grip you with its poignance..
To start with, the plot basically revolves around Aman Khan & Riva Walia...Aman & Riva, for whom, the ten days at the Cannes film festival, after an estrangement of 15 years, is like escape therapy from their respective troubled marriages. The cover page of this book says "Be careful what you wish for" & I have to say that their couldn't be a more apt adage for this book..The story starts in Leeds University where Aman & Riva first cross each other & have a brief but passionate affair..
Riva & Aman couldn’t come from more diametrically opposite worlds…Indian born but raised in London-Riva is confident, witty, intelligent, a passionate feminist who would never think twice before protesting against anything unfair while Aman is a handsome freshman from India, a teetotaller who isn’t so streetwise and has his innocence & shyness bordering on aloofness.. And then there is Ben who is head over heels in love with Riva & comes from Riva's own world..Needless to say, Riva chooses reliability & security with the familiar Ben over her passion for Aman who comes from an exotic land. Riva marries Ben while Aman returns back to Mumbai nursing a broken heart…
The plot then moves 15 years ahead in future where Riva is a bestselling & award winning novelist while Aman moves on to become the biggest Bollywood star albeit both are having a tough time in their respective married lives. But an indefinable tug still exists between them & they follow each other’s careers from a distance. So when fate conspires & their worlds collide again at Cannes film festival (where both are invited as jury members) they create a world of illusion for themselves, with renewed passion & love for each other, where fairy tales exist & their deepest wishes come true albeit without the customary happy ending. But when the colourful & romantic journey comes to an end Riva finds herself standing at the same crossroads again where she stood 15 years ago-struggling to make a difficult choice between her husband Ben-whose frustration with himself at failure in professional life has seeped cold bitterness into the warmth of his marriage with Riva & her old flame Aman who himself is married with a kid but has the world to offer at her feet. The plot then revolves around Riva and her emotional roller coaster of a ride when her world takes a full spin & everything that she believed in, cared for & promised changes.
I especially loved the book for it's vivid yet simple description of how there are secrets in every marriage-even the seemingly happy ones. Jaishree Misra has captured a heartrending account of how infidelity can be brutal to a relationship of 15 years on one hand while on the other how the same thing can be inevitable, heartbreaking & yet beautiful. Jaishree Misra also gives us an insight into the secondary characters & the adjacent sub-plots so that the storyline doesn't seem uni-dimensional. It makes you wonder about the "other perspective" & not just about the protagonist...
This is a wonderfully crafted tale..all about love, infidelity, the heart break and the ache around it..