Monday, 23 December 2019

The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters by Balli Kaur Jaswal

The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters by Balli Kaur Jaswal
Published in the UK by HarperCollins on the 15th April 2019.

One of my 2019 New Release Challenge reads

How I got this book:
Received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

British-born Punjabi sisters Rajni, Jezmeen and Shirina have never been close but when their mother died, she had only one request: that they take a pilgrimage across India to carry out her final rites. While an extended family holiday is the last thing they want, each sister has her own reasons to run away from her life.

Rajni is the archetypal know-it-all eldest but her son dropped a devastating bombshell before she left and for the first time she doesn’t know what the future holds.

Middle sister Jezmeen was always a loudmouth, translating her need for attention into life as a struggling actress. But her career is on the skids after an incident went viral and now she’s desperate to find her voice again.

Shirina has always been the golden child, who confounded expectations by having an arranged marriage and moving to the other side of the world. But her perfect life isn’t what it seems and time is running out to make the right choice.

As the miles rack up on their jaunt across India, the secrets of the past and present are sure to spill out…

I had such a good time reading The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters, The three sisters are very different, yet believably so, and I could appreciate their somewhat fraught relationships. This is a novel about building friendships which seems very apt in today's angry world! Having recently read Soulla Christodoulou's story, Unlocked, also set in India, I was interested to see how the Shergill sisters view of this country was coloured by their personal experiences while travelling. Being effectively women alone for the duration of their journey allows readers to see deep misogyny running rife through society. Rajni's experience particularly shows that this hasn't changed in recent decades and Shirina discovers that other women can be just as abusive as men.

The only aspect I struggled to believe was the device of the whole India trip being prompted by the sisters' mother writing a letter to them during her last night alive. It's a long letter and, being reminded of my own mother's last weeks with cancer, I just couldn't see how she had the energy. That aside though, I loved Jaswal's engaging prose style and would happily pick up more of her books in the future. I think The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters would appeal to fans of writers like Amanda Prowse, and to readers who appreciate a good family drama.

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  1. That sounds interesting, I'm glad you liked it.

    1. I liked a lot more than I expected! An entertaining and rewarding read

  2. This sounds really good! I'd like to see just what happens to the family during all this!

    1. I was impressed with how Jaswal portrays the relationships within the family, especially between the three sisters