Love's Garden (Paperback)
It is 1898. India is ruled by the British, and India's women are ruled by British masters as well as Indian men. A desperate young widow makes a tragic sacrifice to save herself from ultimate dishonor. She marries a stranger for security and shelter, but her damaged second family pays dearly for this Faustian bargain. Then, an extraordinary atonement and strange liaisons in politics and love -- spanning the two world wars and the Indian independence movement -- help her descendants heal from this traumatic private history. LOVE'S GARDEN demonstrates the strength, resilience, and unbreakable spirit of mothers and daughters navigating layers of oppression, all while the sun is not-so-peacefully setting on British India.
Rated 5 out of 5Laura Catherine Brown — author of “Made by Mary”
Wonderfully dense and wise, with a narrative sweep recalling the work of Dickens, Love’s Garden conveys both characters and ideas with impassioned intelligence. The garden of the title is India, gorgeously portrayed in all its complexity through the personal travails and occasional triumphs of one fragmented family centered on Prem, who struggles to hold her fragile clan together. Bhattacharya’s love for her subjects and for India shines through in her lyrical prose, creating a compelling saga of broken people navigating through a broken world, its brokenness illuminated by beauty and heart, and by the courageous human individuals trying to survive.
Rated 5 out of 5Sybil Baker — author of “While You Were Gone”
A gripping historical novel set in India in the first half of the twentieth century, Love’s Garden is about a young mother’s deal with the devil that sets in motion extraordinary sacrifices, atonements, and twists of fate in three generations of “mothers,” during a time when women struggled to have a say in their lives and that of their children. The novel astutely examines what women will do to protect those they love, and how they survive after devastating loss.
Rated 5 out of 5Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni — author of “The Forest of Enchantments” and “Before We Visit the Goddess”
Love’s Garden is a fascinating and well-crafted journey into India’s complex past with characters that will entice you, fill you with indignation, and sometimes break your heart. I particularly enjoyed the stories of the women, who are complicated, brave, headstrong, and impetuous—in other words, deeply human.
Rated 5 out of 5Indira Ganesan — author of “The Journey” and “Inheritance”
From the first chapter of Nandini Bhattacharya’s novel, one recognizes the urgent, unflinching voice of an author who lays bare the political and cultural barriers towards choice faced by women in Ango-Indian society as the subcontinent struggles with the weight of imperialism at the turn of the 20th Century. We follow the lives of women sobered by the limits class, money, and color play as they navigate their world as best they can.
Rated 5 out of 5Danielle Rae Bryant
In Love’s Garden, Nandini Bhattacharya weaves a lush and beautiful and complicated landscape, a “not-good-enough love.” The prose is lyrical and smart. The lens, critical and human.