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Sister of My Heart: 12/14/20
Sister of My Heart by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is the first of the Anju and Sudha dualogy. Anju and Sudha are cousins, born on the same day, living in the same house. Anju is the daughter of an upper caste family and her cousin, who feels more like a twin to her, is the daughter of the black sheep of the family.
After a slow set up that goes through their childhoods as well as some meandering into the family backstory, the novel settles on the marriage prospects for both young women. One finds an American husband and through him possible freedom. The other has a local suitor.
The narration (words chosen) while poetic throughout, crafts a rather flat narrative (story). I never really connected with either. Instead I found the tale of their fortune seeking fathers the most interesting piece of the book, even though (perhaps because of) they failed utterly.
With the themes of mothers' duty to their daughters and their daughters' struggle to assert themselves gives Sister of My Heart a similar reading experience to This Time Will Be Different by Misa Sugiura (2019).
The follow up novel is The Vine of Desire (2002).