Tuesday, 4 October 2016

A New Dawn - Sudha Balagopal

warm hearted, feel-good debut.

It is fun to discover new writers and this debut was a delight.

I have read some of Sudha's short stories before and admire the way she infuses feelings to elevate ordinary situations.

Thanks to the author and the publishers for sending me the ARC in return for an honest review.


Usha is a 48-year-old woman who has lost her husband. Being used to his controlling, decisive presence she is still coming to terms to a new lifestyle. Years of habit have made it difficult to accept that new independence. Married at an young age and becoming a mother soon after, Usha has always lived in her husband's shadow. She wonders if her older, mature self can have a second shot at companionship, this time, on her own terms.

She decides to sign herself up on an online dating site to see if it works for her. Does she manage to find that true love or does she fall prey to a predator?

What works:
  • The writing. The opening chapter is compelling and very vivid. The opening scene gives an insight into Usha's nature and the reason she was put into that situation. It is a very powerful opening scene that takes the narrative forward.
  • The characters. They sound real and very easy to empathise. Usha sounds a bit dated but her insecurities and character are so heartwarming. Raja is also another character that is etched well. My favourite, though is Marcy.
  • The plot. It is quite straightforward and there are no major twists there. What makes it work is the compelling narrative and the insight into the mindset of a bereaved partner.
What doesn't:
  • Sometimes it feels like a short story has been stretched into a novel.
But having said that, it is a quick read with a good writing style that caters to the contemporary reader.

A well written weekend read.

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