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4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 16 February 2010
The book starts off with a conversation between two chicks (yes, it's a chick-lit) in a lingo that is a delectable mash of Hindi-English, much like Amitav Ghosh in Sea of Poppies, but more modern, more with-it. If you don't comprehend Hindi, this book may be a complete waste of time unless you doggedly managed to enjoy the movie Three Idiots. If you do comprehend Hindi, this book is a complete waste of time, but unbelievably fulfilling if you love wasting time.

I read a few pages and thought to myself, it's funny alright, but not classy; far from it. Chubby Zoya destined to fall in love with the most handsome captain of the Indian cricket team, of all times. I thought the Bridget Jones love story was passé. It has trended out even by the time the sequel was released. I tch-tched through the first few chapters, very mindful of how trashy and Shoba De-ish the style was (having never read a Shobha De, don't ask me how I manage to be so opinionated).

Half way through the novel, something strange began to happen. I felt that this novel was threatening to draw me into the plot, despite my staunch views about elite fiction, et al. The plot? A convoluted mass of jiggery-pokery - Zoya, quite by accident, is turned into the durga goddess of cricket, holding supreme power over a game she barely understands - but I don't mind that, you see, I worship Salman Rushdie.

I was beginning to laugh, not just snigger. Even so, I was still deliberately resisting warming up to the novel. By now I had proclaimed to my mum, during our weekly catch-up, that how ridiculous it was of me to be reading a book like the Zoya-factor, right after finishing off with my series of Man Booker Prize Nominees (no, I don't have a book club. I have no excuse. Period). Zoya makes up and falls out with Nikhil as often as there are songs in bollywood movies, portrayed with the literary equivalent of dancing around trees in figure eights - enough to make one dizzy. Like "Mills and Boons" - I am not saying this, I am merely quoting the author here.

But on the other hand, Armaan singing a song back to the IBCC Chief totally cracked me up. Absolutely ingenious.

Finally, I gave up all resistance, all dignity, and openly started to devour every syllable, once Zoya's brother breaks his leg. He alone is faithful to his creator, which, at this point I turned the book around to note is called Anuja Chauhan. It is through Zaravar's merciless and increasingly frequent repartees to Zoya that Anuja brandishes her true wit. The fiasco during the agarbatti shoot (and shoot-out!) is the scene that gets closest to non-fiction in the entire novel - what, no? Ever watched NDTV? It is brilliantly written, and could have been the perfect denouement, except that twists of the ZN love story needed to continue. Sigh!

Towards the end, I was completely immersed in the Zoya factor. I was won over. There is definitely something unique in how Anuja expresses herself. Despite having, seemingly, poached bits and pieces of all medium and all genres of art, Anuja has presented a concoction which has a flavour of its own, something new and refreshing, and irresistible. (Sadly, when I write something in earnest appreciation of the author, I sound like I am being paid for the endorsement.)

Anuja Chauhan does manage to hold the attention of her readers for longer than sixty seconds. In fact, she makes them sit up, take notice, and grudgingly but surely, hand it to her.
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on 21 October 2008
It took a little while to get into this book, but once I did I really enjoyed it. Although published in English, there were a lot of Indian expressions and phrases in here that I didn't understand and couldn't help feeling it would have helped if I had. Harper Collins, if you're reading, some footnotes might have been useful.

I love cricket and enjoyed reading about it from another woman's perspective. However, I wonder if the author ever intended for this book to be read outside of India? She occasionally has her heroine express her fear of being surrounded by "white people" during her trip to Australia. This took me by surprise, as the rationale for her fear is never explained.

This aside, it follows the traditional chick lit path with the heroine over analysing the actions of the hero and almost ruining their chances of happiness. But it provides a wonderful insight into India's culture, their obsession with cricket and is generally a good fun read.
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on 29 May 2000
Danielle Steel has outdone herself again. This book is wonderful and only inspires me to read many more of her books. The story of a young girl fleeing to France from war torn Russia and then on to America is definatley one to touch the heart and had me in tears from cover to cover. I couldn't put it down and ended up reading it in a day. I would recommend this to anyone with a love of all good romance stories.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 17 February 2007
Great story from Danielle Steel. This is one of the first novels I'd read of hers a few years back.

I've read this book more then once,( come to think of it I've read all her books more then once as I think she's a great author), the story was also released on video and DVD.

An easy read, it's a compulsive story, so be warned. It's like all her book, once you start reading it you can't put it down.

Zoya over comes everything that fate throw's at her and with this she gains strength to get through anything and everything that life has in store for her.

I don't want to tell you too much about the story as it will spoil it for you, and to me that wouldn't be fair.

A lovely and emotional novel by the great Danielle Steel.

A must for all fans and for people who have never read any of her books. Keep up the great work Danielle Steel. :-)
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on 5 August 1999
Beginning first in Russia during the revolution in the early 1900's, a lot of history can be learnt from this book.
The story moves onto Paris to where Zoya escapes to with her beloved Grandmother, after her father and mother were killed in the revolution and her brother in the war. In order to survive the days in Paris, where many people are starving as they feel the affects of the war and Russian Dukes and Princes are found to be driving taxi's, Zoya must go against her Grandmother's wishes and join the Balet.
Danielle Steel ingeniously leads the reader through Zoya's lifetime from Russia to Paris to New york and finally, back to Russia. Through love and loss she encaptures Zoya's passion and beauty until one really feels as though they know her personally.
As with many others, Danielle Steel has outdone herself with Zoya!
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on 3 June 2006
St Petersberg: one famous night of violence in the October Revolution ends the lavish life of the Romanov court forever - shattering the dreams of young Countess Zoya Ossupov.

Paris: under the shadow of the Great War, emigres struggle for survival as taxi drivers, seamstresses and ballet dancers. Zoya flees there in poverty ... and leaves in glory.

America: a glittering world of flappers, fast cars and furs in the Roaring Twenties; a world of comfort and cafe society that would come crashing down without warning.

Zoya - a true heroine of our time - ermeges triumphant from his panoramic web of history into the late 1980's to face challenges and triumphs.

The story of growing up. A priviledged young girls flight across country from Russia to France following a revolution. Life in Paris during the First World War and her marriage to an American army officer. Experiences in America prior to and during the Great Depression and the rise from the ashes. The

plunge into World War Two and recovery into old age.

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on 23 April 2014
The Zoya Factor is exuberant, funny, full of Indian English and Hindi slang, and I adored it. The romance subplot is not very surprising, but the cricket thread is knowledgable and interesting, especially the Indian cricket fans contrasted with Australian "cricket fever". Zoya herself is sweet and friendly and magnificently self-sabotaging at times. She's not perfect but she is likeable.

There is a large cast of distinctive supporting characters, some of whom get the funniest lines. Never once do I get that "who is this again?" feeling, which I have with certain other books with a much smaller cast.

The Indian slang and bits of Hindi are a bit surprising at first, but I found almost everything made sense in context and I've had more difficulty getting used to the English of Jane Austen, or some of Georgette Heyer's more strictly historical novels. I didn't find it much of a barrier and once I was sucked into the story I stayed there to the end. This is a great read and very enjoyable.
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on 5 December 2010
My teenage friend really wanted me to read the book. It is a light, easy read that gets very bollywood, here and there. I am not surprised they want to make a movie as well. The book, like I said, is okay for a 24yr old. I would've probably loved it, had I been 16.
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on 24 June 2009
Loved it, Loved it,. Loved it!!! I am a cricket fan and couldn't help enjoying this. It was slow to begin with but then once the main character came into her own with the star player of the cricket team - it was a laugh out loud story the rest of the way through.
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on 12 May 2014
Its good to read this refreshing book from an Indian author. Of course there are words which would be probably best understood if you understood some Hindi but all in all a quick light hearted fun read :) Good to gift as well!
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