Bookish Witch

Desire by Anna C

Blurb (as on Amazon)

Orphaned heiress Chandni Upadhyay is running from the mother of all cliches – an evil stepmother and a forced marriage with her villainous nephew. Her cobbled together escape plan is limping along until she ends up in the wrong seat on the train.
American photographer Steve Paxton has many secret demons to fight but all he really wants, in that moment, is his window seat. One that is occupied by a very beautiful and very annoying young woman.
From unwilling travel partners to unexpected friends and finally, explosive lovers, Steve and Chandni are on the ride of a lifetime.
Steamy daydreams, weird co-passengers and shady hotels are just par for the course. Until the day Chandni’s past catches up with her and drags her back, kicking and screaming.
Will their temporary relationship stand up to scheming family, past grief and their own insecurities? Or will they finally accept that there was nothing ‘temporary’ about them at all?

Genre: Fiction/Romantic Comedy and Drama

Pages: 221

Format: Kindle eBook

Price: 125 INR/$2.99

My Ratings: 4.4/5

After losing her father, in a bid to escape the clutches of her stepmother and an enforced marriage, Chandni runs away from her palatial home. She meets the helpful but deliriously sexy Steve on the train she boards while escaping to Mumbai from Kolkata. As they undertake a journey of a lifetime together, a lot of twists, tragedies, and laughs await them. By the time they reach Mumbai, they mutually decide to part ways and promise to not stay in touch. Will they be able to keep that promise though?

Book cover taken from Amazon

What I liked about the book:
-> Though it’s a Bollywoodish story, it manages to break so many stereotypes.
-> While outwardly it seems that Steve is ‘knight in shining armor’ for Chandni, it is also the other way round because Chandni helps Steve face his demons and come to accept some hard-hitting truths.
-> Small-town India is brought to life quite vividly via the scenes aboard the Indian Railways, the sounds and sights of the railway stations, the types of people we come across while traveling, the nondescript hotels that have so much drama going on within and so much more.
-> The best part about the book is that though Steve helps Chandni, it is ultimately Chandni herself who fights her battle. I absolutely loved how the author breaks the sexist stereotype that a woman always needs a man to save her from the clutches of danger. Chandni comes into her own, gets her revenge and builds a successful life for herself. Her path to self-discovery and her victory is her own doing (albeit with a little help from Steve and Poorva)
-> Both the protagonists have their own past baggage and flaws and come out of it on their own, with some help from each other.
-> How Chandni undergoes the sexual violation and comes out of the trauma.
-> The story is told from the POVs of both the protagonists. This gives us a deeper insight into the characters and the story’s development.
-> The book is a laughter ride with many LOL moments, especially the chapters with Chandni’s POV.
-> The sizzling, goosebumps-inducing chemistry between Chandni and Steve.

What I did not like about the book:
-> The bits about the villainous stepmother and her henchman were a little predictable. I wish this stereotype was also done away with.

Quotable quotes:
-> Emotions aren’t a tap to turn on and off at will.
-> Watching the world go by as you sit on the steps of a moving train is something quite unique.
-> I don’t need to explain further. We both stand there in silence, looking outside the train. Strangely, it doesn’t feel awkward or anything. I feel at peace.
-> I’m running away because I don’t know who I am.
I’m every cliche in every literary fiction novel I’ve read.
I’m running away because that’s the only way I can find myself.
-> I wonder why she has to get married at all. But of course, it’s something I’ve learned not to ask since I came to India. Marriage is a touchy subject here. Even among those who don’t want anything to do with it.
-> When pain is shared, it lessens.
-> The gentlemanly thing would be to see her to the door. But we’ve already confirmed that I’m no gentleman.
-> Being around other people makes you less self-absorbed and more insightful.
-> You can’t argue with feelings and emotions. They just happen.
-> It’s nice to see that some things don’t change at all where matters of love are concerned.
-> It’s not the amount of time you spend with someone that decides how much they mean to you. It’s the way they make you feel. It’s how alive you feel in those moments. Sometimes it can be as little as an hour.

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20 thoughts on “Desire by Anna C”

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