My Review of "The Madras Affair" by Sundari Venkatraman
The story started with a glimpse of the present, where everything seemed so positive but with foreshadowing hints that I just knew something big had to be amiss. Sure enough, the next chapter was like a slap in the face.
I suffered alongside Sangita, and I could associate with her plight because the situation here in Sri Lanka is similar to the one in India, though not as severe and tragic. From that chapter on, the author had me hook, line, and sinker. She whisked me away in a maelstrom of emotions, portraying a deeply hurt heroine who had been pressed into a mould and made to obey, and felt like a caged bird to me. But she wasn’t as weak as she could have been, as the encounter with Gautam proved soon enough. And suddenly I had a different image while reading about her dilemma: a raw gem plucked from the depths of mud, with just a bit of sparkle to entice. The more I read about her – and the more she got involved with Gautam and his cajoling and admiration – the more of the gem shone through the rough shell, as if someone were polishing the stone. And once enough colours had broken through, Sangita bedazzled like the most beautiful of gemstones, showing her hidden strength, her awakened passion, and her potential.
Most of it was thanks to wonderful Gautam, a hero I have been dreaming about since. It wasn’t just his mix of India and America that is perfect, but also the way he never gives up. I loved the way he wooed Sangita, and the way he shaped her present and their future throughout the book. He too underwent a change, though much more subtle than Sangita’s immense transformation. I loved and hated the other characters with a passion.
As a beta reader, I look for inconsistencies in the plot, for superfluous scenes and for abrupt developments. I found none in this book. The flashbacks were neither too many nor too few and inserted in the right places.
I can highly recommend this novel to all those who love heroines that are anything but ordinary and refuse to be trampled upon. And to all who love reading about hunky heroes that are not ashamed to show emotions and know how to fight for what they want and what is right. The story is full of sizzle, thrill and insights into the human mind and heart. It’s thought-provoking, sensual and alive not just with the many authentic characters but also with the exotic setting of Madras, which the author clearly seems to love.