My top 10 favourite reads – Anju Gattani

Duty And Desire by Anju Gattani: The debut in the Winds of Fire series, Duty and Desire follows the story of Sheetal Prasad, a modern young Indian woman, and the twist of fate when she is forced to marry playboy millionaire Rakesh Dhanraj. Secrets, lies and deceptions tear apart Sheetal’s sanity, but when it comes to protecting her infant son, Sheetal questions whose honour is really at stake and must fight to protect her world. The Winds of Fire series has been a journey and I can’t wait for the release of book 1 in the series. Hope, you’ll enjoy the read and leave online reviews.

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini: An international runaway bestseller set in Afghanistan, the story revolves around Amir and a lifelong guilt in having failed to save his best friend, Hassan. The story traverses generations and decades of a country’s transition from monarchy to the rise of the Taliban. Amir is given a second chance to pay for his sins and a chance at redemption but this time he’s fighting a greater demon. It has successfully been adapted into a movie. I’ve read this book thrice and could read it all over again, and again.

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini: The author’s second successful novel follows the journey of two women, Mariam and Laila in war-ravaged Afghanistan and how their paths cross. Alone, each burqa-clad woman is powerless against her fate, but together they overturn the forces of domestic violence, handcuffs tied by the Taliban and one must sacrifice so the other lives on. A book I love to death.

Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult: A beautiful story of a young girl Jenna Metcalf’s search for her missing mother, Alice. Jenna’s parents were once owners of an elephant sanctuary in New Hampshire where Alice disappeared, but Jenna can’t turn to her father for help and teams up with a failing detective, Virgil, and lapsed psychic, Serenity, to find Alice. The story explores issues such as paranormal, animal consciousness, the search for family and one’s place in the world. The story will leave you searching for your own answers.

Still Alice by Lisa Genova: Shortly after her 50th birthday, Alice Howland, a professor of linguistics at Harvard, is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s. A fierce and independent woman, the disease begins to chip away at Alice’s mind and strip away her sense of self as Alice struggles to piece together her sanity for her future self before she totally loses her mind. This unforgettable read has also been successfully adapted into a movie.

Behind Closed Doors by BA Paris: Jack and Grace couldn’t be more perfect for each other. He has good looks, great manners and is a prince charming. Grace has style, elegance and is perfect to a T. However, nothing is as it appears because what Jack and Grace portray to the world is far from the reality they live. A story of psychopath abuse, mind games and sleeping with the enemy would be putting it mildly. You’ll be gripped and on the edge of your seats. I was hooked, horrified and turning every page.

Girl In Translation by Jean Kwok: Kimberly Chang and her mother emigrate from Hong Kong to Brooklyn, New York, and her double life as a student by day and factory sweat-shop worker by night, are her secrets. Though Kimberly aces her way through school, she must decide between duty towards her family or the boy she loves. A story every immigrant will connect with in the struggle to straddle two worlds – the culture and country you’re from and the one you want to assimilate into.

The Pilot’s Wife by Anita Shreve: The story begins with the dreaded knock on the door when Kathryn Lyons learns her husband, a pilot, died aboard a plane crash. As the truths of the crash unravel, the secrets of his double life unfold and Kathryn must come to terms with a horror she’d never imagined. A timeless masterpiece.

The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory: 14-year-old Mary Boleyn’s life spins out of control when King Henry VIII falls for her and strategises to keep her as the unofficial queen. However, when her sister, Anne replaces her in the game of chess to win the king and crown, the story grows into a lush tapestry of love, sex, ambition, greed and the drive to survive. A gorgeous read that spins into a sequel, The Boleyn Inheritance, has also been adapted into a film.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins: The harsh and cruel Capitol, Panem, enforces its regime with the annual sacrifice of one boy and one girl (12–18 years) for the Hunger Games aired on national TV. Katniss Everdeen steps in for her sister and though survival is her game, Katniss must choose between humanity and survival in the race to stay alive. You may have watched the blockbuster movies, but you have to read the books they are based on.

Anju Gattani is a fiction author, freelance journalist, fiction-writing instructor and blogger.
Duty and Desire, the debut in her Winds of Fire series, is slated for release on June 2, 2020.
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