Widows of Malabar Hill, TheMassey, Sujata
Perveen Mistry, one of India's first female lawyers, knows from personal experience the importance of the legal code in safeguarding women's rights, especially after marriage. Working for her father's law firm, Perveen becomes involved in executing the will of a wealthy Muslim businessman whose three widows live in strict isolation. When there is some doubt that the household's appointed guardian has the widows' best interests at heart, Perveen is drawn into an intriguing mystery, one that will put lives at risk.
Engaging and original, this multifaceted story of 1920s Bombay is rich with period detail and the religious and cultural practices of the day.
Interesting, but would have preferred the story to be sequenced in time. Impressive research on legal matters in colonial India. Too long to get to the murder and nothing about how the 3 wives managed after leaving - that would be a good sequel. Legal drama and cultural background well done. Readers frustrated by constant and misplaced flashbacks.
Most of the group enjoyed this book. It was a good mix of a crime novel plus information on the customs of the different racial and religious factions of the population in 1920s India, particularly Parsi, and the place of women in these factions.
We loved it, especially those of us who had spent time in India. A mystery - an added bonus. More like this please!
We all really enjoyed this book. Learnt a lot about India - colonisation, ethnic groups within India and their differences. Well-written.
All members thought this book to be excellent. Well-written, informative with shockingly accurate details of women's lives in 1920s India. We thought the strands of the plot were woven together seamlessly - the law, the mystery, the lives. Parveen was believable and engaged our sympathies from the start. The contrast between her family and Cyrus's was stark. We wondered if life for strict Parsis has changed much over the years
The group was impressed with the wealth of information in this book over the various cultures in India, the English colonisation, the situation at the start of the 20th century and, in particular, the matters relating to the situation of women in that world. The writing was excellent and the structure of the novel was interesting and lucid. One of our members said that it was ruined by the murder mystery aspect.
A well thought out storyline, generally well written, with a good pace and interesting details. Insightful and sensitive descriptions of various religions, especially the Parsis.
We loved the book!
An interesting book with cultural insights into Indian life. Some in our group found the beginning hard going - but worth pushing on.
We all loved the book. Many layered and felt realistic of the time.
This would be one of the most popular and enjoyable books this year. A story well crafted, with interesting snippets of 1920s India where the British were still ruling, plus a mystery to solve.
Everyone in the group found this a very interesting read as well as being informative. The book was well written, the storylines were interwoven well and it covered many aspects of different cultures from not such distant times. This is a great book for discussion as it provoked us into issues of gender, race, religion, culture and era.
All our group enjoyed this book. It was interesting and well-written with a good storyline. We all learned much of the Parsi Indian culture. Best book so far this year. We will look for further books by this author.
Enjoyed by everyone. Well-written and very interesting to learn about the different Indian cultures and customs. Created extra dimensions to the plot.
We all loved this book. Apart from the theme of a ripping good murder mystery, we had an interesting glimpse of life as a young woman lawyer in 1920s Bombay. There was an introduction into purdah, and also women's legal rights at that time. The book sparked many interesting topics for discussion, which was spirited and enlightening.
Mixed views of the book. Cultural details enjoyed - in fact the insights were the interesting aspects. Some of the questions were difficult to answer, with our ignorance of contemporary clashes between cultures.
Everyone in the group enjoyed this book. Some loved it and immediately read other books by the author, others saw it as a good holiday read but not particularly compelling. Interesting setting and plenty of information about the culture to ensure a good discussion.
All enjoyed. Learnt interesting facts. Some found writing a bit predictable.
A nice easy read. It was Rom Com meets Murder Mystery, with an added bonus of an insight into Indian culture and traditions. Some likeable characters - would make a good film!
Good discussion on Muslim culture and women's oppression according to Western standards. We thought the ending was too abrupt, almost as if the author got tired of the story. Some of us thought the murder made the book more 'tawdry'.
We thought there was a plethora of events - a narrative 'overkill'. However, we enjoyed the journey into India and the subversive culture for females. Lots of conversation was had regarding the era, and how lucky we are to be a female in NZ in the 21st century.
Half really liked, others not so much. Some felt the mystery part not needed, and it could have had tighter editing.
An easy read, incorporating a lot of background information.
Members enjoyed this novel so much, that we request the Book Discussion Scheme consider having more novels by Sujata Massey on the book list.
Easy reading. Great holiday read. Well-written and complex enough to hold attention.
Group really enjoyed this book. Found that most of us were motivated to do research to learn more about the history of India, the Parsi people etc. Characterisation of Parveen was interesting...many layers were revealed throughout the book. We were shocked by many of the cultural practices.
Loved it! Interesting insights into a unique time and place. well-developed characters, and a likable 'leading lady'.
Everyone loved the book - the historical content, learning about the Parsi culture and the storyline. One member immediately read Sujata Massey's second book.
A nice easy read. It was Rom-Com meets Murder Mystery, with an added bonus of an insight into Indian culture and traditions. Some likeable characters - would make a good film!