Indireads Reviewer Program
Girl from Fatehpur by Sarita Varma
A romance novella should ideally be enjoyable and easy to read on the mind. This is certainly what Indireads author, Sarita Varma’s Girl from Fatehpur is – a light romance peppered with expression of Indian culture. The context of the ‘Big Fat Indian wedding’ is used cleverly to spin Sanjana’s romantic tale or rather, tales. She is the ‘girl from Fatehpur’ as the title says. The story starts with her escape from a rather unexpected proposal in Mumbai by her colleague at work, Krish. As she heads home, she finds herself reuniting with Rajan, her teenage crush and neighbour who has returned from the United States for business matters.
Varma’s inclination towards the ideal Bollywood-kind romantic moments is clear as Rajan and Sarita find themselves together on road trips and unexpected confessions in the course of Sanjana’s cousin’s wedding at her family home in Fatehpur. Her characterisation of Krish and Rajan as two unrelenting suitors adds the necessary bit of humour to this romance. Yes, Krish also makes an unexpected entry into the wedding scene! Hence, readers will enjoy the growing suspense and share the growing dislike towards Krish with Sanjana. What then remains is the question of how and whether Sanjana and Rajan will be able to confess their love for each other. Moreover, the reader is intrigued whether Rajan, who is against marriage, soften under his love for Sanjana, who is very much the ‘small-town girl’ at heart?
South Asian readers will be familiar with descriptions of the wedding, and those of the cultural milieu. Varma does a good job of keeping language simple which makes the novella a light read. The characters too aren’t too much and the plot is easy to follow. Zoya and Devika are very suitable assistants for the damsel-in-distress, Sanjana. Perhaps a few readers familiar with South Asian writing may find the concept of the Indian romance cliched. My advice for them would be to enjoy the plot as it goes!
The efforts by Indireads to publish South Asian writing must be commended. They have made books in all formats available at their online bookstore: http://www.indireads.com/books/