Sheetal Prasad has it all: youth, beauty, wealth, and education. But when this modern Indian woman surrenders love for honor and marries into India's most glamorous "royal family," those very advantages turn against her.
Meet the Dhanrajs-a powerful family bound together by a web of lies where infidelity, greed, secrets, and hidden identities lurk beneath the lush tapestry. The Dhanrajs will do whatever is necessary to mask the truth from the world.
As Sheetal peels back the layers of deceit in the glittering world of Indian mega- wealth-and struggles to control her own fate-she is threatened by the rage she harbors and the blazes of passion she ignites.
|Publisher:||Greenbrier Book Company, LLC|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.68(d)|
About the Author
Anju Gattani was born in India but grew up in Hong Kong. Her Indian upbringing and British education worked together to strongly influence her writing.
Anju's fiction explores how the distinct mindsets and traditions of different cultures permanently shape people's values, thinking, and behavior patternsfor both good and evildespite the "leveling" effects of 21st century communications and travel.
Anju earned a Bachelors degree in English Literature in India and a teaching degree in the United Kingdom. She has also studied creative writing.
Anju has lived in Singapore, Australia, India, New Jersey and Connecticut. She now makes her home in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband and two kids.
Anju is a columnist for a multicultural magazine in the USA. She is also an avid guest blogger, who loves to share her experiences in health and fitness, food, self-empowerment and great fiction reads.
Duty and Desire is her first novel.
Visit Anju at www.anjugattani.com
What People are Saying About This
A compelling glimpse into clashing influences affecting the wealthy in modern Indian culture, Duty and Desire offers intrigue, romance and growing spiritual awakening. (New York Times Best Selling Author, Haywood Smith)
Duty and Desire draws the reader into a culture of fascinating contradictions. A moving story of a girl's transition to womanhood while forced to choose between family and self. Anju Gattani's compelling debut captures the imagination. (Shobhan Bantwal, award-winning author of The Dowry Bride)
Duty and Desire immerses us in the larger-than-life, decadent world of modern India's ultra-wealthy familiesa place sizzling with secrets and lies, love and betrayal. An intriguing, compulsive read. (Anjali Banerjee, author of Haunting Jasmine and Invisible Lives)
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I received this book from a First Reads giveaway as part of my effort to expand the types of books I'm reading. I wasn't sure what to think about it when it arrived. A novel of modern India. I've always enjoyed reading about cultures that are different from my own and this one fit the bill nicely. As I began reading it, I found myself drawn in by the voice of the main character, Sheetal. A modern woman forced into a traditional arranged marriage. The book follows Sheetal's journey to discover who she is and where her place is in the world. She is realistically written as she tries to make the best of the situation she finds herself in. Her new family and the life that is thrust upon her cause her to doubt herself and everyone around her as she struggles to become the woman she knows she should be. I quite enjoyed the book and look forward to future works by the author, Anju Gattani.
I have a lot to say here because it was such a fascinating book! While Duty and Desire is a Contemporary Romance, it is not my typical sort of read and not one I would automatically pickup. However, when I was given this opportunity, I could not pass it up. I had the chance to see into a world far different than my own and be immersed in a culture with different values and challenges. It was an intense read, one that I am glad that I picked up! The Good: This is the story of our heroine Sheetal Prasad's path from maidenhood into marriage. We follow how she adapts to her new family as she is bound by the rigid caste system and traditions of the culture in which she lives. At the time of her marriage, the fact that she loves another, Arvind, is irrelevant to her parents. While as a parent, I know they only want what they perceive as best for their beloved daughter, the pain that Sheetal goes through is difficult to read. My heart bled right along with hers! The man her parents chose for her is Sanjeet Dharaj, of India's prominent royal family. Charming, handsome, and spoiled, Sanjeet is a very interesting character. Much of his behavior is that of a spoiled brat, however we do find out things that make him likeable eventually. Before that, he does whatever it takes... bully Sheetal, berate her, mistreat her, even going so far as wanting to beat her... so he can have the 'wife' he desires. What does he desire? A wife who is submissive, docile and manageable, most especially in public. Does Sheetal submit and give in? Well, now I cannot tell you that. You will have to read it for yourself. Suffice it to say that there are few dull moments in this book...one of the main reasons it is so good! Oh and the entertaining and awful secondary characters, Sheetal's beyotch of a mother-in-law Pushpa and equally spiteful sisters-in-law? They are mean, evil, and tenacious females, who are all trapped in their own duty and demons. The Bad: It took me a while to read this book. Not because I did not like it or enjoy it but because the cultural differences were so significant and Ms. Gattani had done such a superb job of including important details like what Sheetal was wearing or what custom was being followed. I had to stop and re-read sentences several times so that I made sure I understood and could visualize what was meant. Beyond that, I got so angry at both Sheetal and Sanjeet from time to time. Sheetal because I wanted her to stand up for herself(even though I understood that she was truly between a rock and a hard place) and act like the woman of worth that she is! Sanjeet made me mad when he would literally ignore and downright abuse Sheetal. I do not care what your customs or traditions, abuse is wrong! The Snuggly: Well now, let me tell you that some of the thoughts that Sheetal entertains about Sanjeet....ooooh mama! Hot and smokin' come to mind! And the romance...let's just say that Sanjeet can be very romantic when he wants to. It was enough to keep me reading, just to see what he would do, or what he really would do next.;) This is truly and adult's book. Final Thoughts: In the end, I saw a woman who pulled herself together and decided that she matters, her needs matter and that she needs to put her wants and desires supersede duty and traditions. Duty and Desire is the debut novel in Anju Gattani's Winds of Fire series, a novel well worth your time! *I received a complimentary copy of this book for a book tour. This does not affect my review in any way.
I received an eBook copy of this book from the author for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review, and all conclusions are my own responsibility. Let me start with saying that I had also purchased this book, prior to it coming up as a potential book for me to review. I have a varied list of purchased books, and Amazon with its recommendations popped this one into my list as I have a few other books by Indian authors that center around women and their relationships. Part of the joy of reading, for me, is the ability to gain perspective on another’s beliefs, traditions and see the differences and commonalities that we all share. In this story, the author has clearly detailed the struggle of a modern woman existing with traditional values that have been in existence for hundreds of years. In addition, her own guilt tends to allow her to behave in less than logical ways: a rather begrudging acceptance of her parent’s choice for marriage turned sideways in a rather Stockholm-syndrome like reaction to the man she has married – against her will, and with his disdain for the custom. The story does jump about quite a bit: rich with imagery and information it takes a bit to fix all of the strangeness to the western reader to complete the picture. And the author has provided a glossary of terms that are frequently used throughout – my suggestion is that you look at those before starting in on the book; it does help to eliminate some of the strangeness. What I found is that the characters of both Sheetal and Sanjeet are developed with care and a completeness that depicts, better than expected, the inherent conflicted feelings they both have with the situation. What I don’t have experience with, is the overtly traditional and paternalistic society in which she is expected to live: where some of her reactions feel overblown or excessive to me – they do seem to fit with both the story and her character. So the tug of the modern against the expected and traditional is a core component of her psyche and her actions. Sanjeet, on the other hand, is a spoiled brat of a man child – who will bully, batter and berate to get the submissive and compliant reaction he wishes to have, while all the while wanting a ‘western style’ woman who flouts the conservative norms of their society. And he can’t express love or caring in words – it is done with grand public gestures rather than softly spoken words. His behaviour and mood swings deepen the conflict within Sheetal: because there is a ‘one she left behind’ that she sees as the behavioral polar opposite from her husband. The whole story reads very much like a fly on the wall that is privy to all of the secrets that you don’t share outside your own family, and as such tends to jump about a bit. But the overwhelming sense I got from this story is that it felt ‘real’. I could easily imagine the conflicts and the struggle that Sheetal experiences in coming to claim her place as the wife, and the constant intrusions of a modern sensibility meeting the traditional expectations. It was not an ‘easy breezey’ read, at times it was certainly uncomfortable: but still and all quite a good book that left me with a better understanding of the tradition of arranged marriages and the pitfalls that can arrive with them. It’s an interesting peek into the world of the privileged and wealthy in Indian society, where everyone seems to have some conflict with traditional expectations and the modern wants. I’d gladly read more from this author, and am happy to recommend this book.
This was a great read with a wonderful story line. I totally understood where the main character was coming from regarding duty and desire. Anju did a wonderful job and can not wait for more.
I'm not an avid reader but when I picked up this book, couldnt put it down. Very intriguing story with vivid details about everything. Would love to see this story made into a movie to see those characters and the extravagant set-up transform onto the big screen. Looking forward for more from Anju!
Okay, so when I picked up DUTY AND DESIRE, I had pretty high expectations. The premise sounded great and I'm always game for anything with fresh characters and a fresh setting. Thankfully, Anju Gattani totally delivered. The descriptions were vivid. You really root for Sheetal. It was great. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a refreshing setting and a determined, brave heroine.