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The Sari Shop Widow


The Sari Shop Widow

Anjali Kapadia is the queen of Silk & Sapphires, the loveliest and most luxurious sari shop in Edison, New Jersey's Little India. While other shops in the area are content to fill their shelves with inferior merchandise of cheap quality, Anjali has made sure that her shop carries only top-of-the-line clothes, accessories and jewelry. She has poured her heart and soul into the shop that she co-owns with her parents. No wonder it hits her hard when Mohan and Usha reveal to her that Silk & Sapphires is in dire financial straits.

Not to worry, though, they assure her. Her uncle, Javeen Kapadia, is arriving from India to bail the shop out. Her wise uncle will surely know what to do to bring their business back to a profitable level. While Anjali doesn't want the shop to fail, anything would be better than bowing and scraping to her dictatorial uncle who holds fast to the old ways. Anything at all.

It isn't enough that Uncle Javeen arrives with his demanding ways and little criticisms that annoy her mother and intimidate Anjali. He is accompanied by his young, handsome and mysterious business partner, Rishi Shah. Anjali's equilibrium is completely out of whack when she comes into close contact with the sexy British entrepreneur, whose money and advice seem to be the only way to save the shop she cherishes. At 37 the widowed Anjali isn't looking for love. She barely survived the pain of losing her beloved husband, Vik, a decade ago. She isn't interested in giving her heart away again, and she sure as heck isn't interested in giving away any part of her business, especially to her uncle and his all-too-smooth partner. But what choice does she have?

Anjali had best watch out, though, because she has piqued Rishi's interest, and he isn't a man to be easily deterred. While he understands why Anjali is a bit on the prickly side, he wants her to know that he is only there to help her and not to hurt her. As Rishi lives and works with Anjali and her family, she finds his close proximity at first disturbing and later strangely comforting. He fits in with her close-knit family as if he were one of them, charming her parents and befriending her younger brother, college student Nilesh. Still, it isn't enough for Anjali to fully open her heart to him.

As Anjali fights to save her business and delves into the mystery of her Uncle Javeen's close relationship with Rishi, who isn't even family, she begins to see both of them in a new light. Her crotchety uncle seems to have mellowed, and why is he so beholden to Rishi? Will it be enough to make her take a chance on love, or will she miss out on the opportunity of a lifetime in the name of self-preservation?

THE SARI SHOP WIDOW is a lovely story of a lonely widow who throws herself into her business and a close and loving relationship with her family. Shobhan Bantwal paints a vivid picture of life in Little India with her colorful descriptions of traditions, clothing, cuisine and characters who will worm their way into your heart. Somewhere along the way I forgot that I was reading a story and truly felt that I was spending time with the kind characters she created. When the book ended, I found that I wasn't quite ready to say goodbye.

Reviewed by Amie Taylor on January 23, 2011

The Sari Shop Widow
by Shobhan Bantwal

  • Publication Date: September 1, 2009
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation
  • ISBN-10: 0758232020
  • ISBN-13: 9780758232021