(I received this book from TripFiction.com in return for an honest review)
Romantic Fiction set in India My rating: 5 out of 5
Ever since Ruby, aged thirty-something, caught her (now ex) fiancé in flagrante with another woman life has been in a bit of a rut - staying in watching tv, curling up with her dog etc. That is until her elderly next door neighbour points out that "There's plenty of time to be sensible when you get to my age." so she jumps on a plane to join her sister on holiday in Goa.
After a seemingly death defying journey from the airport to their holiday destination, Ruby finds herself in a wonderful peaceful hotel away from the outside hectic world. Yoga classes are held in the open air as the sun sets, flower petals adorn the bed and all is calm and beauty. That is until Ruby's sister runs away. Ruby is then swept away on a whirlwind of adventure that takes her from Goa, to Agra and the Taj Mahal, to the stunning scenery of Pushkar, to the wedding season in Udaipur and finally onto Jodhpur.
"Look after your little sister" is a refrain Ruby has been brought up with, so she cannot let her parents down. But what about Heathcliff back in London, and the tall, dark, handsome, but annoying, American she meets? Ruby is definitely not looking for love, just her little sister - and during her incredible journey through India provides the reader with many laugh out loud moments. As Ruby says, "What a difference a week makes", from her old life which was safe and predictable including "a whole drawer full of clean underwear" to the chaos that is her current life, which brings with it the extraordinary feeling of being free. Her search opens her mind to new experiences as she discovers all that is magical about India.
For the traveller, this book gives a great idea of what it is like to travel in India, from train journeys to tut tuts, from touring the Taj Mahal to sleeping in a tent. How to enjoy the spices in Indian cooking, and what not to do if you have had your hands henna'ed. The unbelievable colours, the friendly people and the scary traffic are all depicted in a bright, light amusing way.
Light romantic comedy is not a genre I usually read, but I really enjoyed this lively, humorous and upbeat book. The characters in the book are wonderful, from Ruby's literary agent who must be obeyed, to Rocky a taxi driver, to the awful Cindy. The plot had plenty of twists and turns to keep me interested and the insights into India (from a tourists viewpoint) were fascinating - in fact so good that I certainly want to re-visit this country, in particular Pushkar. I even learnt some urban slang!
This is a book that rainy days are made for - a wonderful escape into warmer climes.