Adult Fiction · Book Review · Contemporary

The Girl in the Garden

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Rakhee is content living with her parents in America. Things could be better of course. She would like to have friends that invite her to birthday parties, but she is happy enough gardening with her mother and spending time with her dog. Rakhee’s mother is not quite as happy though. One day she starts receiving strange letters from India. When Rakhee’s mother wants to take her to visit her family in India- without taking her father along- she knows something is very wrong. Little does she know that her life is only going to become more difficult as she begins unraveling long held family secrets.

This book was around a dollar on Book Outlet and it is easily one of the best dollars I have ever spent. This is one surprisingly good book. It is full of Indian culture, family relationships, struggles of feminism, love, and many secrets. Though it is a realistic novel it feels very magical and comes close to magical realism at times. Rakhee’s family has been keeping secrets from each other for generations. Many of these secrets are slowly tearing the family apart and as they add up over the years younger generations must bear the burden. Not every reveal is a complete surprise, but I found the conclusions to be satisfying and at times very sad.

So yes, the plot is very good. I will admit that some readers may find it to be a bit slow. The mysteries deal with Rakhee’s family and relationships so if you dislike getting to know characters and their family drama then the novel may not be your cup of tea. That being said, I like these characters. Rakhee actually feels like a young girl. She makes believable mistakes as she tries to understand the grown-up world. The adults in the novel try their best to do right by their families even when there is no correct path to take. My only problem with the novel is that the ending does tie up a bit quickly after the slow build. Some of the reveals are rushed, but it does not hurt the pacing or my overall opinion of the novel too much. This is the author’s first novel and I think it is a great start to her career.

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