Customer Reviews for

The Dowry Bride

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( 16 )
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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2008

    Exceptionally High Charged Reading - A must for all romance and freedom lovers.

    I HAVE GREAT PLEASURE WRITING THIS REVIEW FOR SHOBHAN BANTWAL. I know Shobhan as family friend before I learnt of her as a writer. Getting to know her through her articles, her mouth-watering recipes, short stories, and now this novel has been an exceptionally delightful process. Though The Dowry Bride is written amidst the backdrop of today's more burning issues, and may well be juxtaposed and come short when compared to issues like the horrors of women raped and killed in African wars, effects of Global Warming due to the indiscriminate plunder of mother earth, and news of many atrocities that are heaped on our collective consciousness by the media, reading this book is time well spent because the answer to every one of our problems is self determination, whether it is set in Palgaum or in Congo, whether it is a nation or a woman under attack. The answer lies in reaching out for help, deciding that you are worth the struggle. Respect, affection, and freedom are worth fighting for. This is the quintessential message that struck me about the Dowry Bride. 'At the age of 21, Megha was not only married for a year, but was about to be executed.¿ The first sentence of this sociological mystery-romance jolts you out of your chair or makes you sit up, no more of that slouching! With a spine erect and your attention riveted you read on ¿ turning pages in quick succession as your appetite for illumination increases. We are taken in flashbacks to her childhood in the mango grove of her father¿s house. Her unadulterated joy in eating a mango is totally endearing. As you follow her from lonely streets, strange backyards, to her highly eligible brother-in-law, Kiran¿s apartment, to a dying relative's bedside, and a creepy cremation place, you begin to relate to the heroine on all levels of your being. This is an affinity that extends far beyond the romance and mystery, it takes you into the very depths of the human soul. I have never felt so at home within the chapters of this book as I did in all my life of reading western fiction. You want Megha to achieve freedom from both mental and social enslavement which is a hard thing for her. Event after event reinforces a sense of hopelessness in the heroine. It becomes personal to you that her struggle to thrive ends in victory. Every page is an eye opener, from superficial to deep insights and it keeps your brain neurons lit up till you have to know what's on the next page. With consummate skill Shobhan develops her characters, introducing elements of a very subtle catharsis in all, from Megha to Mr. Ramnath ' Senior', all of whom she nurtures rather well. Besides being Megha¿s victory you are pulled into other lives as well, and the fabric is woven, piece by colorful piece until you see a quilt - of the victory of human souls that are purged of excessive passions, decadent traditions and immobilizing fears. Megha¿s lover Kiran, her father in law, her father, and the cab driver and indeed everyone who know Megha are affected deeply by her grace, beauty and ¿courage under fire¿. Her mother in law is the most affected, though in a negative way. In stark contrast to Megha own light bearing, Megha's dark and heavy mother-in-law, Chandramma's character is incredibly evil leaving the reader searching for some redemptive quality in her. The satisfaction of knowing her completely comes only in the end - a surprise twist that is chillingly convincing. One part that I particularly enjoyed and related immediately to was when we are taken to Chandramma's usual haunt - the astrologer Haridas- taking up an entire chapter ' Chapter 14'. I am glad this side of our culture is brought to light in such minute detail. We are made to look at the ways the devious greedy mind works. The chapter is full of simple but telling details and achieves an astounding degree of truth telling that strangely frees you- something that no amount of new age wisdom, psycho analysis or pre

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2007

    A reviewer

    Although the reading of this book will sometimes shock you, it also gives you a better understanding of India and their cultures of arranged marriages, control of mother-in-laws and abuse of some wives.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2007

    A real page turner!

    Shoban Bantwal has managed to accomplish two things with this book. She supplies us with colorful knowledge of Indian culture and an engaging story to sink our teeth into! Not to mention bringing the sometimes deadly practice of 'The Dowry System' out in the open. I look forward to future work from this author.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    insightful look at India┬┐s culture

    In Palgaum, India, Megha Ramnath overhears her mother-in-law Amma insist that her son kill his wife because divorce is unacceptable, but a widower can find a new spouse. Amma is irate that Megha has failed to produce the heir and her father has not paid the dowry. Megha knows law enforcement will think she is an inane bride and not intervene until she is dead from the execution of a fiery plan. Frightened she flees into the night to escape the arson¿s death. --- However, anyone she turns to for help will be ostracized by society. Her own family will reject her as a woman belongs to and with her husband and her best friend would be ruined. Megha decides her only hope resides with kindhearted Kiran, Ramnath¿s cousin as he has showered her with respect although he has kept his distance from her. Outraged by his aunt¿s plan, he hides her in his apartment even while their attraction to each other turns to unacceptable love --- THE DOWRY BRIDE is an insightful look at India¿s culture as the beleaguered heroine has no options once Amma decides she must go without a scandal which means homicide not divorce. The story line is incredible when the frantic Megha seeks help once she mentally settles in Kiran¿s apartment, the exigency and stress abates somewhat yet also continues to provide a powerful discerning look at relationships. Still this is a fabulous look at the importance of a dowry in India in spite of laws protecting the rights (and apparently the life) of a bride. --- Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2007

    Leaves you wanting more......

    The Dowry Bride was a wonderful story of a side of life I never knew existed. The characters were written with such depth that you immediately connected with them and felt their trials and tribulations which was mixed with love and caring. When I finished the book, I was hoping there would be a second book describing what happened to the characters - you were that involved in their lives. I will eagerly be looking forward to anything more Shobhan Bantwal will be writing in the future. This book will be the center of many discussion groups and will generate a lot of opinions. Irene Mason

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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