The Girl in the Garden by Kamala Nair
At once a powerful family saga and compelling personal odyssey, Kamala Nair’s debut novel tells the story of a haunted young woman who, in an effort to seek clarity about her impending marriage, confronts one fateful summer from her childhood.
When Rakhee Singh is just ten-years-old, her world is shaken irrevocably when her beautiful yet troubled mother spirits her away from her father and their Minnesota home to visit her ancestral estate in an Indian village untouched by the centuries. It is there that Rakhee meets her enigmatic relatives for the first time, seeks adventure with her three cousins, and learns the devastating truth about why her mother fled the childhood home she loved. During the course of that scorching summer, Rakhee will discover in the mysterious jungle behind the house, a walled-up garden holding a terrifying secret. It is a secret that will expose long-hidden family skeletons and forever influence her beliefs about fidelity and love.
Kamala Nair brings enormous powers of description to her first novel, infusing scenes with potent emotional depth. Lush and
sensual, THE GIRL IN THE GARDEN is a dark, grown-up fairy tale that will enchant and resonate long after the last page has been read.
The Girl in the Garden doesn’t really has the feel of a debut novel. I just totally loved it.
The above synopsis is enough to give you a preview of the story. I just loved the young Rakhee, she sounds so natural and innocent. I did read from the other reviews that this book has echoes of The Secret Garden, which I have not read (I Know!) but I am going to do that very soon.
I think this is a very powerful book which portrays a whole lot of complex relations, the characters are believable and the author does a good job at making you turn the pages as fast as you can. Despite the web of emotions, there is a serene calm that you feel at the end. I loved the character of Rakhee’s mom, Rakhee’s mom’s elder sister who valued the pride and name of her family more than anything else and even the lousy uncle who was looking after the hospital ( Rakhee’s family owned it) but was in turn trying to turn it to his own name and all others.
I really do want to say more but I think I cannot recommend this book enough. It is a lovely read.