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Sister of My Heart by Chitra Banerjee…

Sister of My Heart (1999)

by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,377308,481 (3.87)40
  1. 10
    The Mistress of Spices by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni (cometahalley)
  2. 00
    Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda (dara85)
  3. 00
    Dolceamaro a Bombay by Namita Devidayal (cometahalley)
  4. 00
    L'odore del mondo by Radhika Jha (cometahalley)
  5. 00
    Neela: Victory Song by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni (sundancer)
    sundancer: 1. Chitra Banerjee Divaaruni wrote both 2. Both have strong female leads 3. Both take place in India 4. Both are about courage, bravery, family, and friendship

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English (28)  Danish (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (30)
Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
I read it a very long time and ever since wanted to go back to it but have been unable to find a copy. I loved the way Divakaruni projected the characters by giving them individual voices although I cant say I liked the sequel vine of desire, which failed tohave the same impact. ( )
  ashkrishwrites | Aug 29, 2018 |
This is one of those long-spanning books, taking Anju and Sudha from childhood through the early years of their adulthood. There are the secrets that both tie them together and hold them apart. Love is the interesting theme that ties it all together - love in all its varieties. ( )
  tjsjohanna | Jan 21, 2017 |
Anju is the daughter of an upper crust Calcutta family, and Sudha is the poor cousin relation. Both mother's are widowed, supposedly by Sudha's father taking Anju's father on a Ruby expedition. The story revolves mostly in India, following the girlhood, and then arranged marriages of the girls, with one settling into her mother-in-law's house in India, and the other following her engineer husband to California. But when tragedy strikes both of them while pregnant, distance becomes no object and they figure out what to do ( )
  nancynova | Dec 20, 2016 |
The story centers on the lives of two Indian girls, Anju and Sudha. The girls use their own voices to narrate the story of their lives. In alternating chapters the reader closely follows the lives of Sudha and Anju through childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood. Although some of the characters immigrate to the United States, most of the story is set in India

Book one
The Princess in the Palace of Snakes follows two cousins from birth until their wedding day. The sudden death of their fathers on a reckless hunt for rubies sends Anju and Sudha’s mothers into premature labor, and the two girls are born twelve hours apart. From a young age the girls become best friends, sisters, and each other’s constant companion.
Anju and Sudha grow up in a household run by their three mothers: Pishi, Gouri, and Nalini. Even though Anju and Sudha call each other sisters, they are technically cousins. Pishi is the girls’ aunt. Pishi’s youngest brother, Bijoy Chatterjee, married Gouri. Anju is their daughter. So in addition to Pishi and Gouri, there is Nalini, Sudha’s mother. The family relationships may seem complicated, but they play an important role in the novel.
Anju and Sudha are inseparable, but different. Beautiful and calm, Sudha is a storyteller and dreams of designing clothes and having a family. Anju has a fierce spirit and longs to study Literature in college. The girls get caught skipping school and this event, along with a health scare in the family, suddenly changes plans for college to plans of marriage. Book one ends with Anju and Sudha getting married on the same day. Sudha will move in with her husband and in-laws who live in another part of India. Anju’s husband works in the United States, and she plans to join him after getting a visa.
More than marriage has driven Anju and Sudha apart. Sudha has learned a dark secret about their family’s past. Shame and guilt over keeping this secret causes Sudha to pull away from Anju. But her love for her sister does not falter, and she even refuses to elope for fear it would damage Anju’s reputation. On the night of their double wedding, Anju becomes aware of her husband’s attraction to Sudha. Anju does not blame Sudha, but it is with some relief the two young women begin to live separate lives.
[edit]Book two
In The Queen of Swords Sudha quickly learns the ways of her demanding and controlling mother-in-law. After five long years, Sudha is elated to learn she is pregnant. Meanwhile, Anju’s life in the United States has not entirely turned out as she expected. Anju and Sudha exchange regular letters and short phone calls, but their old intimacy is missing. The friends discover they are pregnant at the same time and both seem finally happy.
Sudha’s mother-in-law finds out that Sudha’s child is a girl. She demands Sudha abort the baby, believing the first child should be a son. Sudha has nowhere to turn, leaving her husband would be grounds to talk to each other again as true sisters. Refusing to tie her life to another man and realizing Anju needs her, Sudha and her daughter decide to go to the United States. After many years, the sisters are reunited, but future obstacles still loom.
  bostonwendym | Mar 3, 2016 |
3.5 stars

Anju and Sudha are cousins, raised by their mothers and an aunt who live together (their fathers died when they were young). As they get older, one falls in love with someone else and the other wants to go to college, but they have arranged marriages that they must go through with. Although they each have their own “trials” to deal with, they are always there for each other.

I enjoyed this. It took me a little bit to get “into” it, and I had a hard time remembering who was who (I did eventually figure it out while reading, but as I write this review, I'm already getting them mixed up again!). Overall, though, I did like the story. I did lose interest in the parts that discussed their fathers, though, I must admit (until the very end). I don't know if there is a sequel or not, but I am interested enough that if there is one, I'd love to continue the story! ( )
  LibraryCin | Sep 26, 2015 |
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Book description
Divakaruni’s new novel is entitled Sister of My Heart. This book is about how the lives of two women are changed by marriage, as one woman comes to California, and the other stays behind in India.

Anju is the daughter of an upper-caste Calcutta family of distinction. Sudha is the daughter of the black sheep of that same family. Sudha is startlingly beautiful; Anju is not. Despite these differences, since the day the two girls were born—the same day their fathers died, mysteriously and violently—Sudha and Anju have been sisters of the heart. Bonded in ways even their mothers cannot comprehend, the two girls grow into womanhood as if their fates, as well as their hearts, are merged.

When Sudha learns a dark family secret, that connection is threatened. For the first time in their lives, the girls know what it is to feel suspicion and distrust—Sudha, because she feels a new shame that she cannot share with Anju; and Anju, because she discovers the seductive power of her sister’s beauty, a power Sudha herself is incapable of controlling. When, due to a change in family fortune, the girls are urged into arranged marriages, their lives take opposite turns. One travels to America, and one remains in India; both have lives of secrets. When tragedy strikes both of them, however, they discover that, despite distance and marriage, they must turn to each other once again.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 038548951X, Paperback)

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni made an indelible impression on the literary world with her first novel, The Mistress of Spices, a magical tale of love and herbs. Sister of My Heart is less reliant on enchantment but no less enchanting as it tells the tale of two cousins born on the same day, their premature births brought on by a mysterious occurrence that claims the lives of both their fathers. Sudha is beautiful, Anju is not; yet the girls love each other as sisters, the bond between them so strong it seems nothing can break it. When both are pushed into arranged marriages, however, each discovers a devastating secret that changes their relationship forever.

Sister of My Heart spans many years and zigzags between India and America as the cousins first grow apart and then eventually reunite. Divakaruni invests this domestic drama with poetry as she traces her heroines' lives from infancy to motherhood, but it is Sudha and Anju who give the story its backbone. Anju might speak for both when she says, "In spite of all my insecurities, in spite of the oceans that'll be between us soon and the men that are between us already, I can never stop loving Sudha. It's my habit, and it's my fate." Book lovers may well discover that reading Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is habit-forming as well. --Margaret Prior

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:45 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Anju and Sudha, cousins in an upper-caste Calcutta family, grow up together, bonded by fate and heart, but their lives take opposite turns when they are urged into arranged marriages, until tragedy brings them back together again.

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