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The Storyteller's Secret

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From the bestselling author of Trail of Broken Wings comes an epic story of the unrelenting force of love, the power of healing, and the invincible desire to dream. Nothing prepares Jaya, a New York journalist, for the heartbreak of her third miscarriage and the slow unraveling of her marriage in its wake. Desperate to assuage her deep anguish, she decides to go to Indi From the bestselling author of Trail of Broken Wings comes an epic story of the unrelenting force of love, the power of healing, and the invincible desire to dream. Nothing prepares Jaya, a New York journalist, for the heartbreak of her third miscarriage and the slow unraveling of her marriage in its wake. Desperate to assuage her deep anguish, she decides to go to India to uncover answers to her family’s past.Intoxicated by the sights, smells, and sounds she experiences, Jaya becomes an eager student of the culture. But it is Ravi—her grandmother’s former servant and trusted confidant—who reveals the resilience, struggles, secret love, and tragic fall of Jaya’s pioneering grandmother during the British occupation. Through her courageous grandmother’s arrestingly romantic and heart-wrenching story, Jaya discovers the legacy bequeathed to her and a strength that, until now, she never knew was possible.


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From the bestselling author of Trail of Broken Wings comes an epic story of the unrelenting force of love, the power of healing, and the invincible desire to dream. Nothing prepares Jaya, a New York journalist, for the heartbreak of her third miscarriage and the slow unraveling of her marriage in its wake. Desperate to assuage her deep anguish, she decides to go to Indi From the bestselling author of Trail of Broken Wings comes an epic story of the unrelenting force of love, the power of healing, and the invincible desire to dream. Nothing prepares Jaya, a New York journalist, for the heartbreak of her third miscarriage and the slow unraveling of her marriage in its wake. Desperate to assuage her deep anguish, she decides to go to India to uncover answers to her family’s past.Intoxicated by the sights, smells, and sounds she experiences, Jaya becomes an eager student of the culture. But it is Ravi—her grandmother’s former servant and trusted confidant—who reveals the resilience, struggles, secret love, and tragic fall of Jaya’s pioneering grandmother during the British occupation. Through her courageous grandmother’s arrestingly romantic and heart-wrenching story, Jaya discovers the legacy bequeathed to her and a strength that, until now, she never knew was possible.

30 review for The Storyteller's Secret

  1. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    This was my choice for this month's free Amazon prime book and I was very disappointed. If you know nothing about India or Indian culture and you don't mind a very predictable book with few twists or turns, then I'm sure it's an acceptable novel. If you do know even the basics about India then you'll soon spot it's a bit of a mess. Jaya lives in America and decides to take a trip to India after suffering her third miscarriage and the breakdown of her marriage. She's responding to a letter her mot This was my choice for this month's free Amazon prime book and I was very disappointed. If you know nothing about India or Indian culture and you don't mind a very predictable book with few twists or turns, then I'm sure it's an acceptable novel. If you do know even the basics about India then you'll soon spot it's a bit of a mess. Jaya lives in America and decides to take a trip to India after suffering her third miscarriage and the breakdown of her marriage. She's responding to a letter her mother received from Jaya's grandfather asking her to return to India and learn something about his wife. If Jaya's mother won't go - and she clearly won't - then Jaya figures a bit of India might be just what she needs. By the time Jaya arrives, her grandfather has gone and she's left with her grandmother's friend and servant, Ravi, to tell her about the past. Nothing about this book rings true. My irritation started with Jaya arriving at an airport whose description is completely unrealistic. You don't find beggars INSIDE an Indian airport (it's not a railway station) and they don't call an NRI woman 'memsahib'. She takes a 'rickshaw' for 45 minutes - even assuming she means an autorickshaw or tuk tuk, most airports don't allow them to pick up. She looks out of the 'open window' - despite autorickshaws and cycle rickshaws having no windows. She comments about scarves that would cost hundreds of dollars in the USA costing '5 rupees'. It's all just fantasy. I can't help but wonder if she has even been to India. That's all just in the first few chapters. The errors in the grandmother's story are even more extreme. Her grandmother is supposed to be a simple girl who only had a few years of schooling in Hindi but she speaks English with a bizarre eloquence despite not being able to write or read a word of the language. She invites an untouchable into her in-laws' house and nobody makes a particularly big deal about it. She spends hours alone and unchaperoned with a British soldier and again, nobody makes a big deal about it. The whole thing is fine if you don't care that it's totally unfeasible. Did I mention it's also completely predictable? Maybe I did. I read a LOT of books by Indian writers and books set in India and this is third-rate. Sorry - I've read reviews that people loved it, but I didn't. I really didn't.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Bette Crosby

    Absolutely awesome book. I started reading and did not stop until the very last page. Great story, beautifully told. The culture, the setting, the pace, and the emotions were perfectly on target. 5+ Stars for me.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    The first few chapters begin in America with Jaya as the narrator. I was immediately pulled in - but found Jaya an annoying protagonist. I eventually warmed to her — but it took almost a dozen chapters. Regardless, the storytelling was engaging. After several miscarriages...Jaya and her husband, Patrick, separate. Their communication was weak. Patrick moved out quickly. Next we are introduced to Jaya’s parents. Jaya went to spend time with them - one night sleep over - hoping to find comfort...f The first few chapters begin in America with Jaya as the narrator. I was immediately pulled in - but found Jaya an annoying protagonist. I eventually warmed to her — but it took almost a dozen chapters. Regardless, the storytelling was engaging. After several miscarriages...Jaya and her husband, Patrick, separate. Their communication was weak. Patrick moved out quickly. Next we are introduced to Jaya’s parents. Jaya went to spend time with them - one night sleep over - hoping to find comfort...from the pain she was feeling since Patrick left. Jaya’s mother, Lena, received a letter from her father in India to come home because he was dying. Jaya learns of the letter. For reasons we don’t know yet Lena will not go back home to India…because her father told her years ago when she got married, to never return home. Jaya and Lena’s mother/daughter relationship has been strained for years. Jaya was frustrated with her mother because she would never tell her anything about her past. “Focus on the future”, Lena would say. Jaya was hurting - ( I’d say clinically depressed)....she desperately wanted a child but could never carry one to full-term. Jaya loved Patrick ....but he was at his wits end - suffering and suffocating in the relationship .... So after Patrick bolts - Jaya does the same - bolts America- bolts her husband - and bolts her mother... Off to India Jaya goes to meet her grandfather.... The mysterious man...( Lena’s father), that Lena refused to discuss. Once in India, Jaya discovers she was a couple of days too late. Her grandfather had already died. The transition from America to India, didn’t feel cohesive...but we get the point - Jaya was angry - hurt - and devastated about everything in her life. Bolting to India was a great idea. ( I was reminded that no matter how Far East you run - you take yourself with you no matter where you go). I once bolted to India too. Besides needing a personal escape journey from her present troubles .....Jaya also wanted some answers .....she’ll get them. Jaya will meet Revi, her grandmothers faithful servant and close friend. We learn the story of grandmother, Amisha.....who lived during the era of oppression. It’s heartbreaking....but she was a very resilient woman. This is a touching story about a woman searching for answers, wanting to know the hidden secrets that have been hidden by her family for generations. Wonderful stories throughout....we become a fly on the wall learning about these characters. The descriptions of British occupied India intertwined with modern day India...was also beautifully written. Having been the Indian myself I especially enjoyed the descriptions of the customs, the people, the holidays, the foods, the family history and India’s history. Themes - Love, loss, betrayal, sacrifice, friendship, ....were heartbreaking & heartwarming.....with a transformational shift that was really lovely. 4.5 stars

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ahw

    I think I must have read a different book to everyone else, looking at the ratings and reviews. I was really looking forward to it - I've read lots about India and thought it sounded like an interesting premise. The problem was it was SO predictable - I even wrote the synopsis after I'd read about 15% of the book and gave it to my husband - and I was spot on. That wasn't the real problem - the problem with the novel is that it just couldn't have happened and it was SO inconsistent. At one point I think I must have read a different book to everyone else, looking at the ratings and reviews. I was really looking forward to it - I've read lots about India and thought it sounded like an interesting premise. The problem was it was SO predictable - I even wrote the synopsis after I'd read about 15% of the book and gave it to my husband - and I was spot on. That wasn't the real problem - the problem with the novel is that it just couldn't have happened and it was SO inconsistent. At one point Jaya talks about going to the village to find an internet cafe to send her blog and only a couple of chapters later she's sitting on her bed and 'presses send' to upload the latest installment. There were loads of these sorts of examples. How could a simple, ill educated girl from a small village have enough English to have a relationship with a soldier from the British Army (don't even get me started on how utterly ridiculous the two of them spending hours alone in a school is), and yet she can't write one word of it. He is able to read her poems (in Hindi)? And then there is the 'untouchable' essentially being left to run the household of a very well respected businessman - without his wife having any male relatives of his to protect her and his children during a time of civil unrest in a volatile country. The whole book irritated me beyond belief - I really don't understand why everyone else loved it so much! If you can totally suspend your disbelief about the period of history in which it was written, the shoehorning of the feminist message into a character from the 1920s and the dialogue which just didn't ring true (a British public school educated officer talking about his 'mates' and his 'mum' for example), then I'm sure you'll love it.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    "Try a new genre," they said. "It'll be fun," they said. A real life friend who clearly doesn't realize the icy shriveled up state of my psyche gave me a copy of The Storyteller's Secret, calling it one of his favorite books ever. I gave it 100 pages before deciding that, while I might need a new genre, Hallmark-y emotional dramas about Finding Yourself in Foreign Travel™ and Reconciling with Your Difficult Past and Relatives™ are not it. I'm also exactly the wrong person to feel sympathy for a "Try a new genre," they said. "It'll be fun," they said. A real life friend who clearly doesn't realize the icy shriveled up state of my psyche gave me a copy of The Storyteller's Secret, calling it one of his favorite books ever. I gave it 100 pages before deciding that, while I might need a new genre, Hallmark-y emotional dramas about Finding Yourself in Foreign Travel™ and Reconciling with Your Difficult Past and Relatives™ are not it. I'm also exactly the wrong person to feel sympathy for a woman who implodes her life over not being able to have babies. As a misanthropic ecologist, I feel compelled to point out that there are currently 7.7 billion humans (and rising) on Earth. As a species, we are busy vacuuming up, digesting, and shitting out all the space and resources that used to support organisms arguably a lot more wondrous than humans like redwood trees (5% of old growth forest remaining), amphibians (of which 200 frog species have gone extinct in the last 50 years), and amur leopards (60 remaining in the wild). 60 amur leopards. 7.7 billion humans. How is that not enough humans?? I first thought that my personal lack of connection with the main character Jaya was the biggest problem, but the writing is clunky and overrun with awkward metaphors, cliches, modifiers, and adverbs. Virtually all of the dialogue goes something like this: "You stood in front of this building, and you watched the walls go up," Stephen said. "Even from afar, I could see your hope." He stared into the distance before admitting, "He always wanted more also and believed others should be able to live their dreams. Drove me crazy talking about it." He laughed, seeming desperate to alleviate his memories. And: "I am an old man, Beti." He massages his hands together. "Weariness has seeped deep into these muscles. If I do not give my mind its necessary rest, my body may rebel and break down completely." He raises his head and offers me a weak smile. "Then you will have to come and serve me my meals in bed for the completion of the story." He closes his eyes and leans back against the bench. Who even speaks like this. WHO. The awfulness of the writing, while not perhaps immediately obvious, has an oleaginous quality that seeps into your consciousness and makes you question whether you'll ever read good writing again. (You will. Just not in this book.) Predictable, emotionally overwrought, and ultimately uninteresting in the specific way that books targeted as 'women's fiction' often seem to be. No. There are too many books well worth reading to waste any more time on this one. Fellow curmudgeons, steer clear.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Zoeytron

    A quiet read, free of twists and turns and other serpentine machinations.  The beauty is in the simplicity of the story.  Perspective is achieved in recognizing what some take for granted are the same things for which others yearn and will never achieve.  The freedom to make choices that will chart our destiny, the absolute value of a true friend.  Every story holds a secret.     This has been languishing on my Kindle for a very long time.  Although the story was a bit on the saccharin side for m A quiet read, free of twists and turns and other serpentine machinations.  The beauty is in the simplicity of the story.  Perspective is achieved in recognizing what some take for granted are the same things for which others yearn and will never achieve.  The freedom to make choices that will chart our destiny, the absolute value of a true friend.  Every story holds a secret.     This has been languishing on my Kindle for a very long time.  Although the story was a bit on the saccharin side for me, the writing was lovely and I enjoyed learning a bit about the underpinnings of India from two different time periods.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Gina

    I don't even know where to begin with this book. I didn't read it, I devoured it. I lived it. It slowly brought me in and then refused to let me go. I read until my eyes needed toothpicks to stay open, and yet I kept reading. It is that good. The book is written from two vantage points: those of the person telling the main story, Jaya, and the second is from the viewpoint of her grandmother, Amisha. Jaya is reeling from her third miscarriage. A writer living in New York, the third miscarriage is m I don't even know where to begin with this book. I didn't read it, I devoured it. I lived it. It slowly brought me in and then refused to let me go. I read until my eyes needed toothpicks to stay open, and yet I kept reading. It is that good. The book is written from two vantage points: those of the person telling the main story, Jaya, and the second is from the viewpoint of her grandmother, Amisha. Jaya is reeling from her third miscarriage. A writer living in New York, the third miscarriage is more than she, or her husband Patrick, can take. Lena, Jaya's mother, has never been a close, loving mother, and when Jaya questions her about her past in India, she never really answers anything, telling her to "let it be". On day, Jaya comes across a recent letter, begging her mother to return to India where she was born as a recent family death required her attention. Lena had refused, and Jaya decides to go to India herself and finally hear the true story of her mother and her grandmother. Once in India, the book lavishly describes the countryside, the sights, the smells, the culture shock Jaya experiences. Nothing can prepare her for the village where her mother and grandmother lived. Finding their home, she meets Ravi, an "untouchable" who is more valuable than a pot of gold. Ravi is the one who will enlighten her about her family history - finally. It is only now that the story can be told following the death of Deepak, Jaya's grandfather who was married to Amisha. Horrified at the poverty, the division of the classes, the babies and children living in an orphanage waiting for adoption, she nonetheless falls in love with India and all its secrets and beauty. Amisha's story is beyond heartbreaking. Ravi is the lowest class, the untouchables, and yet he is worth a million of the upper classes due to his golden heart, his loyalty, and his bravery in the face of prejudice. I cannot say much more without introducing spoilers, and I do not want to do that. A voracious reader, this book has become one of my all-time favorite reads. It left me wanting more, and yet I was strangely satisfied that, in the end, all would be well.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    I love reading books about India and thought this would be a winner but unfortunately it was too predictable and I figured out early on how it was going to end. Thank you Lake Union Publishing and Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    I have never written a Goodreads review before, but I am astounded this book got 4.47 stars. It was totally predictable, trite, cheesy, melodramatic, and basically read like a cheap romance novel set in India. The writing style was hard to stomach. I normally read 6 books a month and this took me 3 weeks because I couldn’t bring myself to pick it up and finish it. Spent endless hours playing FreeCell on my phone rather than pick up my Kindle. Not sure why I even finished it but if I make it half I have never written a Goodreads review before, but I am astounded this book got 4.47 stars. It was totally predictable, trite, cheesy, melodramatic, and basically read like a cheap romance novel set in India. The writing style was hard to stomach. I normally read 6 books a month and this took me 3 weeks because I couldn’t bring myself to pick it up and finish it. Spent endless hours playing FreeCell on my phone rather than pick up my Kindle. Not sure why I even finished it but if I make it halfway I usually try to finish. Thankfully I can move on to something better now.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Karla Jay

    I had no idea what this was about except the it was historical fiction and that could never be boring in my opinion. I loved the setting and have read very little about India during WWII. The writing was mesmerizing and the story was beautiful and tragic all at the same time. I highly recommend this book!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Stefanie

    You know those books that just leave your heart and soul satisfied after reading it? Well, The Storyteller’s Secret was one of those books for me. This book was one of my Kindle First picks and I’m so glad I picked this one. Not only did it keep me gripped from beginning to end it left me feeling lighthearted after reading it. The Storyteller’s Secret tells the tale of two women, grandmother and granddaughter, one set back in India when the British were ruling and one set in modern day time. Jaya, You know those books that just leave your heart and soul satisfied after reading it? Well, The Storyteller’s Secret was one of those books for me. This book was one of my Kindle First picks and I’m so glad I picked this one. Not only did it keep me gripped from beginning to end it left me feeling lighthearted after reading it. The Storyteller’s Secret tells the tale of two women, grandmother and granddaughter, one set back in India when the British were ruling and one set in modern day time. Jaya, the granddaughter, is in India trying to learn about her past and where she came from after suffering her third miscarriage and not knowing how to survive life at this point. Amisha, the grandmother, is in the midst of India’s ruling under the British during WWII and is desperate to escape the world she lives in. A world where women are only good for childbearing and running a household. No freedoms, no real life. It’s the culture, but Amisha wants to be free from it all. The Storyteller’s Secret shares Amisha’s heart wrenching story through the voice of Ravi, her dearest friend. Jaya listens intently and throughout the story comes to find herself. This book was special. Truly special. I highly recommend it!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Betsy Renzetti

    This is the book of the summer for me. I felt like i was right there in India with Jaya. I had to read this book in one day. Now i have to find a book that comes up to its excellence. Wonderful story, written sooooo well.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Melike

    I know I am in the minority here, but I found this book boring and most of the characters unlikable especially Jaya. The story was predictable and it read like a cheesy, badly written romance novel. I also had nagging suspicions about the author's description of India that were later confirmed. When writing about other cultures more care needs to be taken, otherwise it ends up being a sloppy novel. I know I am in the minority here, but I found this book boring and most of the characters unlikable especially Jaya. The story was predictable and it read like a cheesy, badly written romance novel. I also had nagging suspicions about the author's description of India that were later confirmed. When writing about other cultures more care needs to be taken, otherwise it ends up being a sloppy novel.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Soly Azari

    If I could merely submit an eye roll For my review , it would successfully summarize my feelings about this book. Sigh.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Shweta Ganesh Kumar

    This novel is a well-written train wreck. While the modern part of the novel is relatable, the British Raj part is barely researched in terms of societal set-up and even amenities available at the time. The basic writing is good, but the utter lack of research, even the basic kind, was a complete let down.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Princess under cover

    it's 12 am and I've stayed up to read the whole book in 1 sitting, then spend time writing its review bc I can't wait, so you can believe that the book was good. So why just 3 stars? Actually, 3.5, rounded down. I'll explain: WARNING - SPOILERS AHEAD What I loved about the book: * The details about India, the caste system and the place of women, the beauty of Amisha and Stephen's love story * The writing was good, though there were typos throughout that makes me feel it could have used a better, mo it's 12 am and I've stayed up to read the whole book in 1 sitting, then spend time writing its review bc I can't wait, so you can believe that the book was good. So why just 3 stars? Actually, 3.5, rounded down. I'll explain: WARNING - SPOILERS AHEAD What I loved about the book: * The details about India, the caste system and the place of women, the beauty of Amisha and Stephen's love story * The writing was good, though there were typos throughout that makes me feel it could have used a better, more thorough editor * The morals of the story, of strength and weakness and different kinds of love, choices, regrets... * I did like that there was at least a happy ending for Jaya and Patrick. I would have given this 1 star if that were not the case What I REALLY didn't love: * Stephen got a raw deal!!! He went back for his love TWICE! He never got to see his daughter!! He never got to know her even after he had to accept that he couldn't have Amisha!!! And maybe this is realism, but he died shortly after her. She died young herself, and she'd starved herself for THREE DAYS so the gods could guarantee that Stephen could live a long life! And he died shortly after her without ever knowing about their daughter or seeing her or potentially LIVING and LOVING her! Not nice at all. I don't think I can forgive the storyteller for making that decision for Amisha AND Stephen. Extremely upset at this part of the story. The Amisha torture stuff at the end, OK, whatever, dark ages and outdated beliefs and all that... but what about Stephen!!! Just NOT fair at all. And look at the effect on Lena, poor woman, how she was hated all her life by her stepmother, and a father who couldn't love her because he KNEW she wasn't his. I mean It wasn't just Stephen's life Ravi ruined he really caused lasting damage to Lena too (tho she married well and has a good life, she's SCARRED forever!) This is pretty much why I can't give it a higher score. Just can't. I know the focus wasn't on Stephen or even Lena, but damn! I felt like the damage done to them wasn't fully addressed. And this was Jaya's REAL grandfather, whom she never met, whose family she never met. Book could have had something in there about finding the other half of her family tree, but it was totally ignored. So I better stop writing this spoiler filled review before I rip another star off in my pissed off state.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ceecee

    This is a beautifully written story which I liked and enjoyed but I can’t say I absolutely loved it and I can’t put my finger on why. The story is told of grandmother Amisha in India and granddaughter Jaya who is American. Jaya has suffered several miscarriages and from a health perspective cannot try again. Her marriage to Patrick fell apart under the psychological and physical strain. Jaya’s parents came to the USA from India on their marriage. Her mother Lena is remote and hard to reach emoti This is a beautifully written story which I liked and enjoyed but I can’t say I absolutely loved it and I can’t put my finger on why. The story is told of grandmother Amisha in India and granddaughter Jaya who is American. Jaya has suffered several miscarriages and from a health perspective cannot try again. Her marriage to Patrick fell apart under the psychological and physical strain. Jaya’s parents came to the USA from India on their marriage. Her mother Lena is remote and hard to reach emotionally and perhaps that is linked to the fact that on her marriage her father told her that she was to leave India and never come back. The family receive a letter informing them that the father is dying and requests that Lena return to India. Lena refuses and will not explain why so Jaya sets off to India to try to learn why. The unfolding story of Amisha is a bold one and helps to explain why Lena is as she is. Amisha was a woman before her time, a square peg in a round hole during the last years of the Raj. It centres around the 30’s and 40’s and I really did enjoy the historical background with the advent of world war and the rise of Indian desire to break free of colonial shackles led by Gandhi. Amisha is independent of thought, very creative as she’s the storyteller, unique in that she insists that an untouchable Ravi become her servant against custom, she tries to be subservient as is expected of her but it does not come easy. Her husband Deepak tolerates her ways to an extent and she is lucky too in that he was frequently away on business which allowed her more latitude than many other in her position. Amisha meets Stephen, an army Lieutenant who runs a local school. She wishes to learn to write in English and in return for teaching some storytelling lessons Stephen agrees to teach her. Their feelings grow for each other and you can work the rest out!!! Sadly, Amisha died shortly after giving birth to Lena and she is raised by a cruel and hard hearted stepmother Omi. Jaya learns so much from Ravi about herself and her grandmother and the storytelling allows her to show compassion and understanding to her mother. The book ended on an optimistic note both for Ravi and his family and for Jaya. The book describes India past and present beautifully as well as its customs, some of which seem harsh to westerners such the caste system and the fate of the untouchables. How Amisha suffered at the end of her life was also shocking but has to be placed in the culture and perceived wisdom of the time and so it’s wrong to judge. All societies have things that others do not always understand. Ravi and his family were luckier than many thanks to Amisha. I really liked the Hindu customs which are so well explained and I liked and admired the characters. It’s a good book which is well worth reading and I’m glad I read something different from my usual genre.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Staci

    This story is told in a dual timeline. Jaya’s narrative is modern day. She is struggling to cope with recurrent miscarriages and with the stress it’s putting on her marriage. Her relationship with her mother has always been distant and she has never understood the reason. Jaya decides to travel to India in hopes of meeting her grandfather, who is on his death bed. She learns many things about her family which give her a better understanding of her mother. She is also able to process her grief ov This story is told in a dual timeline. Jaya’s narrative is modern day. She is struggling to cope with recurrent miscarriages and with the stress it’s putting on her marriage. Her relationship with her mother has always been distant and she has never understood the reason. Jaya decides to travel to India in hopes of meeting her grandfather, who is on his death bed. She learns many things about her family which give her a better understanding of her mother. She is also able to process her grief over her lost pregnancies, as well as come to understand what went wrong in her marriage. Amisha is Jaya’s grandmother and her narrative takes place in India during the 1930s-1940s. She is a woman ahead of her time, always wanting more than she is allowed. She lives in a time and place where who she actually is and what she wants is difficult to reconcile with who she is expected to be and what she is allowed to do or want. This was a really great story, heartbreaking at times but also uplifting. I learned so many cool things about the Hindu Indian culture. The Karva Chauth scene with Amisha and Stephen was intimate and romantic in a very unique way. The progress made from one generation to the next and then the next was very well illustrated. Amisha’s oppression was difficult and maddening to read about but I enjoyed her narrative the most. Highly recommend.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Harley

    Rarely do we ever know the stories of our parents lives and understand what events made them who they became. And we almost never learn much about the lives of our grandparents. Jaya, the main character in this novel, has the good fortune to learn the crucial stories of both her mother and grandmother. This is an emotionally powerful novel and will touch people's hearts. I did find the action to be very predictable. I guessed a key event long before it happened. About a third of the way through th Rarely do we ever know the stories of our parents lives and understand what events made them who they became. And we almost never learn much about the lives of our grandparents. Jaya, the main character in this novel, has the good fortune to learn the crucial stories of both her mother and grandmother. This is an emotionally powerful novel and will touch people's hearts. I did find the action to be very predictable. I guessed a key event long before it happened. About a third of the way through the novel, I made the mistake of reading a few of the reviews. One mentioned how the physical details of India were inaccurate. Having never been there, I could not judge for myself, but the review colored my reading of the book. I began to question if the author had ever been there. Even if the details are not accurate, the emotional power of the story makes it worth reading. If you enjoy love stories, you will enjoy this book.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lorna Robinson

    Loved this book cried so many times, totally awesome.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kerrin P

    I had such high expectations and was disappointed with this story. Sejal Badani has a beautiful writing style. I can see why so many people enjoyed the book. However, it was just too difficult for me to stretch my imagination to find the story of Jaya’s grandmother, Amisha, to be totally believable. First, intimate details of the grandmother’s life are being told by Ravi, who was not present during most of the scenes. Second, the grandmother was an uneducated Indian woman who spoke perfect Englis I had such high expectations and was disappointed with this story. Sejal Badani has a beautiful writing style. I can see why so many people enjoyed the book. However, it was just too difficult for me to stretch my imagination to find the story of Jaya’s grandmother, Amisha, to be totally believable. First, intimate details of the grandmother’s life are being told by Ravi, who was not present during most of the scenes. Second, the grandmother was an uneducated Indian woman who spoke perfect English. Third, it is unbelievable that Amisha and the British officer could spend hours alone in the school garden. Didn’t he have a job to do? Didn’t all the other teachers notice the two of them alone? My other problems with the present-day story are that it gets over-dramatic, cheesy, and a bit preachy. Jaya is very self-absorbed from depression. I was able to predict the ending. On the plus side, the descriptions of Indian life and culture, both past and present, are interesting.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Grant Mathews

    I read this because it was highly rated both on Amazon and Goodreads, and it was free with Kindle Unlimited. Man, what an awful mistake. I will never read a book again just because I can. OR because you guys say it's good! Shame on anyone who votes this higher than 3 stars. This book is so bad I feel like it has made me into a worse person. Every female character is horribly weak and can't do anything without some guy telling her what to do. Like, I don't think there's a single female character t I read this because it was highly rated both on Amazon and Goodreads, and it was free with Kindle Unlimited. Man, what an awful mistake. I will never read a book again just because I can. OR because you guys say it's good! Shame on anyone who votes this higher than 3 stars. This book is so bad I feel like it has made me into a worse person. Every female character is horribly weak and can't do anything without some guy telling her what to do. Like, I don't think there's a single female character that makes a single decision on their own in this entire book. WTF. Strong female character? What's that? The women in this book can't make a decision without crying about it 5 times and asking a dude for support at least 3 more. ARGH. Oh, and apparently it's totally fine for a dude to want to be unfaithful to you. Just wait for him to come back, don't worry about standing up for yourself or anything ridiculous like that. As if that wasn't bad enough, this entire book feels like a huge argument that Americans are brilliant and Indians are all really stupid. The plot is basically that a woman comes from America to India and immediately identifies like 10 reasons why Indian culture is "bad" and at every point when she tells Indian people this they're like "oh my god you're right, I've been living my entire life wrong until you pointed this out." Like the whole deal with arranged marriages, where our main character points out that arranged marriages are bad for women and everyone is just like "wow, amazing, I never thought of it that way before!" Really? You don't think there's any complexity in disrupting established cultural conventions going back millenia? No? You can talk people out of them with a single, well-phrased sentence? Ah. Okay. (The worst part of this whole thing were the moralizing paragraphs of narration that followed any of these "revelations." Or was the worst part the awful "articles" the main character wrote, which essentially repeated what the moralizing paragraphs said, in case you were *really* dumb and didn't get it the first 5 times? If you don't believe me, just saunter on over to the Quotes section on Goodreads. The top quote is "at the end, we are all the same, just a body with only our actions and others’ memories to define who we are." If you find this kind of thing revelatory and amazing - not the kind of obvious, trite, vapid observation you might have in elementary school - then this just might be the book for you.) All Indian traditions and customs are rendered in this same sort of "wow, look at how dumb these guys are for doing this thing which is obviously wrong, and everyone in India hates it." They would have continued living in their dumb ways forever. Fortunate for them, an AMERICAN came to show them the way to enlightenment! Oh, and the plot was incredibly predictable. Wait, was there was a plot?

  23. 5 out of 5

    Alaina

    When I read this synopsis, it kind of reminded me of another book. No that the title or the actual synopsis. Nope just a book mentioned in the synopsis. It's weird, but I liked it. In The Storyteller's Secret you will meet Jaya. Low-key, I liked getting to know this character. She was just so freaking refreshing and likable throughout the entire book. However, before I diveinto an actual review of this book I feel like I should confess something. I only really ever dove into this book because I w When I read this synopsis, it kind of reminded me of another book. No that the title or the actual synopsis. Nope just a book mentioned in the synopsis. It's weird, but I liked it. In The Storyteller's Secret you will meet Jaya. Low-key, I liked getting to know this character. She was just so freaking refreshing and likable throughout the entire book. However, before I diveinto an actual review of this book I feel like I should confess something. I only really ever dove into this book because I was trying to show a co-worker how KU works. Lol it's funny and sad.. but so freaking true. Anyhoo, Jaya is a character. She's been through hell. Went through some miscarriages, which definitely fucks with a woman's mind, but she is still so freaking strong. I loved her character from start to finish. Overall, I loved this book. I did have some expectations walking into this book and even though it didn't meet all of them - I still enjoyed it. I would totally dive into another book from this author too.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    I enjoyed this one, but it wasn't gearing up to be all that memorable. Then I found myself literally sobbing in the last 20% of it. I found that i had gotten more and more wrapped up and invested in it as it went on. Even minor characters were moving to me. Its a very well done book, and I greatly enjoyed it. Book club to discuss it is in 2 days. I enjoyed this one, but it wasn't gearing up to be all that memorable. Then I found myself literally sobbing in the last 20% of it. I found that i had gotten more and more wrapped up and invested in it as it went on. Even minor characters were moving to me. Its a very well done book, and I greatly enjoyed it. Book club to discuss it is in 2 days.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sandi Mooney

    This one came up as an August Prime First Reads. I recognized the author, I loved her first book, Trail of Broken Wings so I jumped on it immediately. Read it over just a couple days and loved this one too. A story of 3 women, grandmother, daughter and granddaughter, all facing different obstacles. It drew me in and I could hardly put it down.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Whitney

    Overall: A sweet and light story about love, secrets, loyalty, and finding oneself. Told in two storylines and focused primarily in India, this is an easy, enjoyable, and quick read 3.5/5 Summary: Told in two storylines this book is focused on the stories of Jaya and Amisha. Jaya is a journalist in New York who has suffered from infertility and a failing marriage. After her third miscarriage, she leaves to India to visit family she has never met before and in hopes of finding herself. Jaya has a Overall: A sweet and light story about love, secrets, loyalty, and finding oneself. Told in two storylines and focused primarily in India, this is an easy, enjoyable, and quick read 3.5/5 Summary: Told in two storylines this book is focused on the stories of Jaya and Amisha. Jaya is a journalist in New York who has suffered from infertility and a failing marriage. After her third miscarriage, she leaves to India to visit family she has never met before and in hopes of finding herself. Jaya has a strained relationship with mother and knows little of her past so a large part of the novel is dedicated to discovering her family's past. While in India, Jaya is told the story of Amisha, her grandmother, who is also known as the storyteller. The Good: Amisha is a very likable character from the beginning. I got to like Jaya more as the story progressed and also really like Ravi. Strong characters and a quick-paced and interesting plot kept me engaged for the duration of the story. Both stories have love stories but I enjoyed Jaya's more than Amisha's. I also really loved all the descriptions of Indian food! The Bad: Quite predictable plot line with several coincidences that were unrealistic. Both storylines had love stories and though I think Amisha's was supposed to be the focus, I found it a bit trite and very predictable. Overall, quite a "fluffy" read but still enjoyable. Favorite Quotes: “But it is not always the sun that must shine to have light. In darkness, we must seek out the stars. Their brightness has its own power.”

  27. 5 out of 5

    Amy J RAREtte4Life

    6++++++ ⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ TOP READ OF 2018 KU and Free on Audible at the time of purchase. I love epic life stories and getting immersed in foreign cultures. READ THE BLURB. If you don’t like life/generational stories and/or you don’t know what you’re jumping into you may not enjoy it. Expect a slowly unfolding story, a story revealing life lessons of three generations. I fully enjoyed learning about Indian culture and fully appreciate positive changes women have seen in the last sixty plus years. No 6++++++ ⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ TOP READ OF 2018 KU and Free on Audible at the time of purchase. I love epic life stories and getting immersed in foreign cultures. READ THE BLURB. If you don’t like life/generational stories and/or you don’t know what you’re jumping into you may not enjoy it. Expect a slowly unfolding story, a story revealing life lessons of three generations. I fully enjoyed learning about Indian culture and fully appreciate positive changes women have seen in the last sixty plus years. No words can do this story justice. If you loved The Joy Luck Club or Memoirs of a Geisha you will enjoy this story and the beautiful life lessons within. Fantastic narrator

  28. 4 out of 5

    John McConnell

    This book is clearly targeted at women, just not intelligent women. The text is plodding and pedestrian. The plot has a few twists but is overall predictable. If I had a nickel for every time a female character "teared up", "held back tears" or "stifled a sob", I'd be rich. Happy endings abound. Can't recommend. This book is clearly targeted at women, just not intelligent women. The text is plodding and pedestrian. The plot has a few twists but is overall predictable. If I had a nickel for every time a female character "teared up", "held back tears" or "stifled a sob", I'd be rich. Happy endings abound. Can't recommend.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Quirky Shauna

    Disappointing. Trite. Predictable. The only slightly redeeming factor is her servant who becomes her friend.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Shalini

    This was initially the story of the main character Jaya who, after her 3 miscarriages, ran away from home in United States to her small native village in the interiors of India. She came to the ancestral home of her forefathers where she met Ravi, her grandmother Amisha’s best friend and her untouchable servant. India still has the caste system prevalent and some are still considered to be lower caste. From there on, it became the story of Amisha, a storyteller, as told by Ravi. This was Amisha’ This was initially the story of the main character Jaya who, after her 3 miscarriages, ran away from home in United States to her small native village in the interiors of India. She came to the ancestral home of her forefathers where she met Ravi, her grandmother Amisha’s best friend and her untouchable servant. India still has the caste system prevalent and some are still considered to be lower caste. From there on, it became the story of Amisha, a storyteller, as told by Ravi. This was Amisha’s story and the reveal of her secrets. A beautiful story by author Sejal Badani, this captured the emotions of a woman’s heart. In most homes of India, women rarely have a choice about whom they can marry. Arranged marriages are still the norm. I loved the way the author portrayed Amisha’s life when she first came to her husband Deepak’s home. There were rules put forth by the mother-in-law which she had to follow. There were instances when Amisha tried to spread her wings and soar to the sky, at least take a gentle hop, by writing her stories. Her desire to better herself took her to the English school started by the British Raj to learn the language. Amisha and her servant Ravi’s friendship warmed my heart. There were no barriers of the caste system in their minds and hearts. They spoke freely and kept each other’s secrets. The author brought out the emotions with her simple words, and they were extremely impactful. Sejal’s writing had a strange rhythm to it, a beat so silent but at the same time so loud, that it touched my heart and broke it into pieces and then joined them back again. The words at certain points were so mellifluous that I couldn’t help holding my breath to stop my tears from falling down. Only a woman’s heart can hear this story about a woman’s plight, and nobody other than a woman who has seen those circumstances would understand the language of its silence, the emotions underlying the words and the sacrifices a woman has to make. Then came my infamous niggles, a lot of the prose to show India or describe the conditions or the way the women are addressed were wrong. They didn’t sound authentic. It felt Google and its translator were used freely. Another point I strongly object to as a doctor was how a child with polio was described to be in full metal cast from neck to foot. In my years of studying and practice, I have not seen such a thing. It is no longer practiced in modern medicine. Overall, Amisha’s story was every woman’s story who killed her heart’s desires to fulfil the parent’s wishes and follow the norms of the society. It is the story which was seeped in Indian culture and its roots. It bespoke of a lifetime in the 1930-40 when India was on the brink of Independence. It was simply a woman’s journey as her life and circumstances dictated.

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