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The Girl in the Garden

by Kamala Nair

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2332590,744 (3.8)15
When Rakhee Singh is ten years old, her mother takes her from their Minnesota home to visit relatives in India. There she discovers a family secret that will haunt her. Only as a woman on the verge of marriage does Rakhee find the strength to confront the events of that summer and face the price of secrets.… (more)

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» See also 15 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
A family drama set in India tells the story of an expat mother and her daughter who go to India, ostensibly to visit family, leaving the father behind in Minnesota. The story is told by Rahkee, the eleven-year-old daughter, who discovers family secrets, at first puzzling, then sad, as she realizes what they will mean to her life. Nair captures the setting and culture in this story that would be appreciated by a YA audience. ( )
  VivienneR | Jun 15, 2018 |
The Girl in the Garden is a a vivid novel that keeps the reader turning the pages. This story has so many aspects to it that it is hard to sum up, but it is well worth the read. Nair is an excellent writers who combines beautiful imagery with mystery all in the unique setting of a remote Indian village.

To see my full review go here ( )
  dragonflyy419 | Feb 5, 2014 |
Now a newly engaged adult, Rakhee remains haunted by the events of her one summer in India. The novel tells the story of that summer in a long letter written to her fiancee, explaining why she must defer their engagement. Until she confronts her past, she cannot face her future. What happened that summer?

One of these days, I would really love to read a novel set in the Indian subcontinent or with first generation desi folk and not have it be almost entirely depressing. Sure, times are hard there, but there must be some books where no characters commit suicide by jumping into a well. I mean, there just have to be.

I did like this much better than Tiger Hills, but, be warned, its still very sad. Pretty much the only part that isn't completely depressing is the epilogue. Reading both of these novels, I get the idea of just how much family history can haunt people. The mistakes of the previous generation snowball into even worse mistakes by the next. Also, never try to marry your daughter off to an awkward, stuttering creeper, because it never ends well.

The Girl in the Garden confronts tough issues, like depression, arranged marriage, pregnancy and divorce. These issues are dealt with well for the most part, not hitting the reader over the head with an agenda. Through Rakhee, it is clear that issues of childhood take a long time to get over (so true), but that it is important to get closure before trying to be a real person, so that you can close the cycle.

The plot twists were pretty much all things I saw coming from many miles away. There really was no other way things were going to go. There is one twist that I swear was not revealed but must be the case. I rather wish I could talk with someone else who read the book so that they could tell me if I'm crazy or not; all I can say is that it involves Prem.

Overall, this wasn't a book I particularly enjoyed, but, for those who enjoy tragic family stories, this is quite well done. ( )
  A_Reader_of_Fictions | Apr 1, 2013 |
Wow. Whoa. To start with. A beautifully written book, poetic style that's easy and flowing and lush. And the story...intriguing from the start and with some useful detours and twists that has me reeling after finishing this book last night. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. ( )
  ming.l | Mar 31, 2013 |
Usually when I’m reading a book for review I think about things to say as I read. Halfway through this book I didn’t know what I was going to say and now that I’m finished I still don’t think I can do it justice.

We are introduced to Rakhee as she is preparing to leave her sleeping fiance in the middle of the night. She knows she can’t marry him until she goes back to India and deals with her past. She leaves him a long letter explaining, and that explanation is the rest of the story in the book.

I thought this book was magical. The story unfolded at the perfect pace; not once was I tempted to skim or skip ahead. I did not want to miss a single word. As I was reading, I felt like I was sitting at the knee of some wise grandmother listening to her stories. Ms. Nair’s words carried me slowly and calmly through the story, introducing characters smoothly. These characters were developed perfectly. Oh, they had their faults, but were so well written that you couldn’t help but like them.

I have always been a fan of stories set in India and Ms. Nair did a fabulous job describing her setting. Just as with her characters, she took a dry and not always pleasant setting and made is endearing and almost homey.

From reading other reviews, I just knew I would like this book. I heard about it, requested it from the library, and finished it in just five days. It was a page-turner for sure, and I would not hesitate to read her next book. ( )
  kathydassaro | Jan 24, 2013 |
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When Rakhee Singh is ten years old, her mother takes her from their Minnesota home to visit relatives in India. There she discovers a family secret that will haunt her. Only as a woman on the verge of marriage does Rakhee find the strength to confront the events of that summer and face the price of secrets.

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