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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 27 February 2014
I read and enjoyed the author's first novel, Monsoon Memories, but I absolutely LOVED The Forgotten Daughter. Set partly in England but mainly in India. It is the story of three women.

Nisha is mourning the death of her parents when she comes across a letter from them announcing to her that she was adopted. We follow her coming to terms with the news and making the decision to travel to India to discover her roots.

Devi is holding a vigil by her sick mother's bedside. She has always felt angry at her mother who tended to smother her with love and possessiveness. Her part of the story is told in the letters she writes to her sick mother, Shilpa, whose part of the story is told by her diary entries. I particularly loved the way the entries were interspersed with recipes for the food she loved to cook. It really made my mouth water and is tempting me to try some of them.

To say much more about the plot would be to spoil the read for anyone else, but it is a story of mothers and daughters with the underlying theme running through it of Nature versus Nurture as we come to understand the very different lives Nisha and Devi lead. They have had very different upbringings as Nisha has always felt that she was never shown love by her parents, whereas Devi feels smothered by her mothers' love. The Indian setting was brilliantly portrayed - the food, the colours, the people, the sights and the smells.

It is a fascinating read with some truly wonderful characters who grow and mature throughout the book. I absolutely adored the book and can't recommend it highly enough.
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What is it like to find out you are adopted? How much worse would it be to find out on the death of your parents by way of a letter?

The Forgotten Daughter examines the life of three women, Nisha who lives in England and the recipient of the news that she was adopted. The only piece of information she has is the address of a convent in India to start the trail of why her mother gave her away. Nisha longs to know why her parents chose to bring her to England to start a new life with no knowledge of her roots. Nisha narrates her journey of discovery from a dispassionate young women who finds solace in analysing numbers to one who begins to remember some long buried memories.

In India Shilpa is a traditional Indian mother, determined that her daughter Devi abides by the familiar traditions while Devi wants to break free from her claustrophobic love. When Shilpa is admitted to hospital Devi gets to know her mother through her diary. This isn't any old diary though, this has the notes of the dishes she has cooks interspersed with the story of her life. These recipes included are complete instructions, not just a list of ingredients so you too can have a go at recreating the food Shilpa cooked for her family.

Devi's story of a young woman desperate to break free from the constraints of her upbringing where her culture dictates that she behave, dress and abide by traditions that she longs to leave behind.

If you want a book to savour then this is the book for you. Renita D'Silva writing means the smells, sights and sounds of life in India come to life through her brilliant descriptions. The beautiful saris the weight of the gold, the gaudy sandals that the women use to adorn themselves with shimmer on the page. The more or less constant companion of the food that Shilpa prepares will make your mouth water as the story of the three women unfolds. I have rarely read a book where the picture painted by the author is quite so vivid.

Like Renita's debut novel Monsoon Memories, the contrast in culture of life in England compared to that in India is apparent and as the reader we get to see these first hand through the stories of Shilpa and Devi and through the eyes of Nisha who sees it as a newcomer. As the women examine their lives you get the feeling nothing will be ever be quite the same.

A quietly emotional book of discovery this is an accomplished second book to follow Monsoon Memories.

I received a copy of this book which will be published on 28 February 2014 from the publishers Bookouture, in return for this honest review.
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on 27 February 2014
This is the second book that I’ve read from Renita D’Silva, and I love how her writing completely transports you to India. I’ve never been there, but you can almost feel the heat and dust and smell the cooking as you turn the pages!

A wonderfully told, emotional story and perfect for travelling from the comfort of your armchair.
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on 27 February 2014
This is another great story by a new and upcoming author. This is Renita D'Silvas second book that ive had the pleasure of reading and i loved it. Its a little gem with a good story line and interesting and likeable characters, and the way its written makes you feel that your in India. Will be telling my friends and family to read it.
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on 2 March 2014
This is a beautiful and moving book. Renita D’Silva skilfully weaves together the distinct voices of three women into a compelling, bittersweet story of the joy, pain and complexity of the love between a mother and her daughters. Sumptuously described, the lyrical prose paints a vivid picture of the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of India, evoking the beauty and the richness of culture alongside the poverty and the mystery. A highly recommended read.
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on 7 March 2014
I really enjoyed discovering India through the eyes of Nisha - a woman who goes on an emotional journey of self-discovery after finding out that she was adopted. For me the book was an interesting insight into Indian culture and a touching story - all beautifully described.
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on 26 March 2014
I really enjoyed this book. It took me a few chapters to get into it and realise who the characters were. Once this was established,I really enjoyed it.
I visited India ten years ago and because of the excellent descriptions,I felt that I was back there again.
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on 18 May 2014
Having not heard of this author before, I was pleasantly surprised with the ease in which I read the book. I was drawn in like an old friend and very early on, grew to love the characters. You feel a pull of love for the mother really will Nisha to find inner peace.

Culture included within was a really helpful insight and it really brought your focus into the characters plight at times, as though you were standing next to them and smelling the smells/ seeing the sights.

I have purchased another novel by the same author and look forward to reading it. Would certainly recommend!
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on 5 October 2015
This is a heart warming read of a mother, guided by superstition and discrimination in giving up one of her twin daughters to an institution. Shilpa is a young woman married to Rohaj in an impoverished village who discovers she is pregnant. Guided by an old woman, who the local villagers name the mad woman, tells Shilpa that there is a curse on her unborn children.
When Shilpa gives birth to her children, she discovers she has twins. Discovering that one of them has a facial deformity, she struggles to feed the two daughters, before being guided by the mad women, to give one of her daughters away. Caught in a stew of guilt and despair, she gives away Nisha who has the deformity thinking that she would not be able to marry, and is adopted by nuns in a convent, thinking she would benefit more in their nurturing.
The story leaps from the account of Nisha her unknown twin Nivi and her mother Shilpa, chapter to chapter. Shilpa gives her account of the story in the form of a diary. With which she also notes down her food recipes, while her two daughters who are unaware of having a twin sister, give their account of their lives.
This unknowing of her history, is finally broken, when Nisha's British adoptive parents are killed in a car accident, and discovers she was adopted by them in a letter she finds. When she discovers her real mother is living in India, she begins a mission to finally find her mother and long lost twin.

The forgotten daughter gives an accurate account of Indian life and tradition. Relying on religious practise and superstition. The neighbors of the village think the child deformity varies from not eating the right kind of food to not honouring the right gods. Shilpa though relies on the teachings of the mad woman for her advice.

The story goes back and forth in time, and gives the story a distinctive edge, and at the beginning of the book with the account of the women put together in chapters, keeps the reader wondering of the women's connection to one another.

This kind of book will especially appeal to women. But hey! I enjoyed the book and if you want to read something different, heart warming and heaped in Indian culture. Check this out.

A great read and recommended immensely. 9/10
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on 13 April 2014
The authors writing style is very descriptive, almost flowery, in its attempt to lure the reader in. That's not a criticism, but after a time I did start to feel a slight irritation
that the story in itself was spun out by the authors need to describe the scenes at length at every opportunity. To some this would be acceptable, but for me I was almost shouting for the author to get on with the story! Having said that I did enjoy the book and look forward to her next.
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