The Sari Shop Widow

The Sari Shop Widow

by Shobhan Bantwal


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Pungent curry. . .sweet fried onions. . .incense. . .colorful beads. . .lush fabrics. Shobhan Bantwal's compelling new novel is set on the streets of Edison, New Jersey's Little India, where a young businesswoman rediscovers the magic of love and family. . .

Since becoming a widow at age twenty-seven, Anjali Kapadia has devoted herself to transforming her parents' sari shop into a chic boutique, brimming with exquisite jewelry and clothing. Now, ten years later, it stands out like a proud maharani amid Edison's bustling Little India. But when Anjali learns the shop is on the brink of bankruptcy, she feels her world unraveling. . .

To the rescue comes Anjali's wealthy, dictatorial Uncle Jeevan and his business partner, Rishi Shah--a mysterious Londoner, complete with British accent, cool gray eyes, and skin so fair it makes it hard to believe he's Indian. Rishi's cool, foreign demeanor triggers distrust in Anjali and her mother. But for Anjali, he also stirs something else, a powerful attraction she hasn't felt in a decade. And the feeling is mutual. . .

Love disappointed Anjali once before and she's vowed to live without it--though Rishi is slowly melting her resolve and, as the shop regains its footing, gaining her trust. But when a secret from Rishi's past is revealed, Anjali must turn to her family and her strong cultural upbringing to guide her in finding the truth. . .

Praise for Shobhan Bantwal and her novels. . .

"Compelling and memorable." --Mary Jo Putney on The Forbidden Daughter

"Vivid, rich. . .expertly portrays a young woman caught between love and duty, hope and despair." --Anjali Banerjee on The Dowry Bride

"Splendidly depicts passion, brutality, and cultures in conflict."--Dorothy Garlock on The Dowry Bride

"The Dowry Bride is an eye-opener to the challenges many Indian women face in a culture few foreigners comprehend., 4 stars on The Dowry Bride

"A beautifully written book. . .Wonderful, vivid, and worth reading." on The Dowry Bride

"An amazing story of modern India."--The Kaleidoscope on The Dowry Bride

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780758232021
Publisher: Kensington
Publication date: 09/01/2009
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Shobhan Bantwal was born and raised in India and came to the United States as a young bride in an arranged marriage. She has published short fiction in literary magazines and articles in a number of publications. Writing plays in her mother tongue (the Indian language of Konkani) and performing onstage at Indian American conventions are some of her hobbies. She lives in New Jersey with her husband. Shobhan loves to hear from her readers.

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Sari Shop Widow 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a must read and if you want to get hold of a good Indian Author this it the author you want to start with. She has written 3 books and all have been excellent....she needs to write more books. Very intersting reading. Becareful....Hard to put it down....
Lalima_Jenckes More than 1 year ago
In the novel, the author traces the fulfillment of dreams of a young Indian widow in the United States, through her personal loss, entreprenurial success,and relationships. She has dreams for herself and her father's business, but even as an adult, she must submerge her true feelings in deference to her parents' wishes. The author depicts the dichotomy of cultural values as the story develops of the Indian woman in her adopted country. The characters are predictable, and do not grow to assume multi-dimensional facets. The love story between the two main characters is the main theme against the backdrop of a tired sari shop that needs renewal, belief, and a new face lift.
Dr.BF More than 1 year ago
Interesting story line, good characters.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Anjali Kapadia had once dreamed of raising children, but after a decade since she cremated Vikram, the Indian-American has little hope of a second marriage as she has not found anyone she wants to marry though she has a secret boyfriend she hides from her parents. Nearing forty with her biological clock winding down, she has all but given up on her dream. Everything else in her life is good as she and her parents Mohan and Usha run the Silk and Sapphires upscale boutique in the Little India neighborhood of Edison, New Jersey where she designs clothing. However, Anjali is ignorant of the fact that the shop is failing. Her desperate father Mohan asks his wealthy older brother for help. Anjali's Uncle Jeevan-kaka has not been state side in five years, but comes from India to see what he can do to save the boutique. He is a benevolent dictator who drove Anjali and her mom crazy with his demands on his last visit. Jeevan arrives in New Jersey with his London-based business partner Rishi Shah, an expert on saving businesses buried in red ink. They plan to save the shop but also demand fifty-one percent ownership of the store. As Anjali and Rishi fall in love, she must decide can she trust him with her heart, her boutique, and her future when he already has a client girlfriend? This is a super ethnic family drama from an author who consistently provides readers with great profound novels that give insight into the Indian especially the Indian-American Hindu culture (see THE FORBIDDEN DAUGHTER and THE DOWRY BRIDE). Once again the fully developed characters make for a strong deep look at Hindu life in central New Jersey with the romance augmenting the insightful look. Shobhan Bantwal's enjoyable novels are incredibly entertaining but also enlightening as the reader sips masala chai. Harriet Klausner
bookczuk on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was not as enchanted with this book as I'd hoped to be. There were small nuggets of life in an Indian family or living as a woman of Indian heritage in New Jersey that were interesting, but somehow, the story lacked passion to me (which is kind of ironic since it was a love story.) I think also stumbling into dacoits (armed bandits of the sort who killed my brother last year in India) probably did not help me find a "happy place" with this book. One thing that was interesting was that a huge premise of the book was that being a widow was not a death sentence for a woman. While I wholeheartedly agree, I can't say that Anjali's life was necessarily proof of that. She was active in her work but her world certainly didn't expand much beyond the shop -- they'd come home to sleep and eat food they'd carried out from a restaurant because they were too tired to cook. Then wake up in the morning and go back to the shop. That's a pretty narrow space to dance in, it seems. Or at least it seems to me. Makes the title just a little more telling.
auntmarge64 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Set in Edison, NJ, this romance tells of a 30-something widow who is a fashion designer and owner of a sari shop with her parents. When the business founders, her overbearing but business-smart uncle arrives from India to advise, and he brings a surprise guest, whom he hopes will marry his niece. After a few twists and turns, all's well, as might be expected. The cultural setting was interesting, especially since I have family in Edison, but the plot (initial distrust, misunderstandings, family connivings, and the inevitable reconciliation) were a bit too pat for me. Fans of the genre might like it, though.
jo-jo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As this book opens, Anjali is helping her parents run the Silk and Sapphires boutique in a community known as Little India in New Jersey. After her beloved husband passed away ten years before, she has invested all that she had into the little boutique, so she definitely has a vested interest in the success of the business. Anjali found that she had quite a knack for design so she ran that aspect of the business while her father took care of the administrative side.Anjali has noticed that business has been a bit slow lately, so she really wasn't too surprised when her father informed her that the boutique is in serious financial trouble and they stand to lose everything. Not knowing where to turn, her father decides to seek advice from his older brother Jeevan. Jeevan has been known to always have a good head for business and if anyone was going to help them get out of this jam he knew Jeevan would be the one to accomplish the task.Since uncle Jeevan lives in India, he has only been to the United States to visit his family a few times, but the impression from those few visits as being the rich, tyrant uncle was embedded into everyone's minds. When Anjali and her parents are informed that Jeevan will be helping them with their dilemma, and he will be staying with them until the task is completed, everyone is on pins and needles awaiting the arrival of this demanding man. When he does show up at their doorstop everyone is quite shocked when they find that not only will he be staying with them for the duration of the project, but he has also brought along his business partner Rishi as a consultant.As Rishi and Anjali are working so closely to get the store on the right track they can't help but notice the spark that has been created between them. Anjali knows that she hasn't felt anything like this since she lost her husband but is worried about the outcome of their relationship if it should develop. She thinks that after his consultation project is over he will be on his way and out of her life, so she finds it very difficult to let her guard down around Rishi and allow her to share her true feelings.While Rishi and Anjali are appearing to be building a relationship, Jeevan uses this time to try to mend his own relationships with his family. As the story develops we find that Jeevan came to the United States with his own secrets and we learn more about what made him the businessman that he has become. It is not until Jeevan confides honestly in his family that they can finally come to terms with his demanding ways and accept him wholly into their lives. I believe that this book may fall into the romance genre, but to me it was really much more than that. This book really gives you a good taste of the Indian culture. It helped me to visualize the beauty of the elegant silk fabrics and smell the aroma of the ethnic foods. I loved how this novel shared the importance of family bonds, stressing that when one is in trouble you strive together as a unit to work it out.
dk_phoenix on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ugh. And this book looked so good when I saw it in the library... attractive cover, intriguing premise (albeit a little unoriginal, but I thought it might be interesting from an Indian perspective), author with several other books under her belt known as 'Bollywood-in-a-Book' stories. This one was apparently a bit of a departure for her, as it's set in the U.S. rather than India, and it's a little more 'chick lit' in tone... but ultimately I was sorely disappointed.The main character is perfect. Oh, how I abhor perfection in main characters. The only flaw she has is falling for the wrong guy and having casual sex with him now and then, but even that isn't portrayed as a "bad" thing because it's her only attempt at being with a man since her husband died ten years ago. This woman is in her early thirties, and yes, I understand that the grieving period can last for a very, very, very, long time. I certainly would mourn my husband for decades, so I can understand that, but at some point you really do have to move on -- especially so young! According to the story, the main character's marriage was so brief that as a reader, I wondered whether she really had a chance to get to know her husband, and as a result, why did she keep moping about ten years later?!?Oh, but back to the story. The characters are flat. The romance is contrived and there's no chemistry between the main character and the love interest. We get chapters from the POV of the love interest that are: a) not believable as a man's voice; b) boring as heck; c) consisting mostly of mooning about how perfect the main character is and how he loves her even more because she doesn't know how wonderful she is.The most interesting part of the story was the subplot of the rich, dying (oh nooo, spoiler that you saw coming ten miles away!) uncle -- well, that is, until he stopped being obstinate (read: having a personality) and became as bland as the rest of the cast.I wondered if maybe this novel was a fluke -- an experiment that didn't quite work out for the author. I've looked up her other novels on Amazon and on here, and unfortunately... none of her other books seem to garner all that much praise, either. How disappointing! To be quite honest, I might try her newest book (released next month, The Unexpected Son... touchstone not working ) simply due to curiosity, but if it's as poorly constructed as this one, I won't finish it and I'll just have to admit that this author's work is not for me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It started off well ,story was interesting and the main character was great. But as the story progressed, the characters and plot become flater and soooo generic.
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YorkieAK More than 1 year ago
Loved this book. Part of my family is Persian and I understand some of their customs. This is so well written I didn't get lost and not understand where the story was going. You knew exactly what and when was happening....the author managed this extremely well. Read book in two days. Now I am ordering her other books. Thank you Shobhan Bantwal for this wonderful story.
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I actually only was able to read the book half-way, before I forgot it at the laundromat. Oops!
LiteratiRhapsody More than 1 year ago
This was my first time reading this author and my first time reading about this culture. And it was interesting. Loved the setting of the Sari Shop and the plot. The characters and culture was interesting and a bit different but not much. The ending was flimsy though. It needed solid turbulence to bring the book home but the author's over dramatization of the ex-girlfriend angle did it an injustice and unfortunately downgraded the book in my opinion. If she had a solid ending it would've been a really good read but it didn't so it wasn't. Not horrible or anything it's just that she had the ingredients to make you fall in love and in the end we got an empty bucket of chicklit.
LotusNM More than 1 year ago
Shobhan Bantwal clearly stated in her Author's note that she intended this book to illustrate Indian culture and portray the lives of Desi's in America. Her goal, however, was overshadowed by a sappy love story that had a Pride and Prejudice type plot with a rich, handsome man falling in love with a middle-class, headstrong woman. This seemed more like a romance book with detailed love scenes rather than a cultural experience. At the same time, it was nice to have an easy read with a simple writing style, a straight forward plot, and a predictable ending. This book is great for those who just want to relax and not think too much.