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Book Review: The Abandoned Daughter by Hyma Goparaju

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 Book: The Abandoned Daughter by Hyma Goparaju

We are ready with another Book Review.
Hyma Goparaju's second book: The Abandoned Daughter has just been released. The blurb and the Title of the book made me think twice before picking up the book. I being a mother to a daughter and with an impressional imagination, I was skeptical if I will be able to read the full book. This book pulled me right in, from the first few pages.

 Book: The Abandoned Daughter by Hyma Goparaju

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This story is about Gomti Devi, a feudal landlady with 7 sons and 100s of acres of land. The only aim of Gomti Devi is to have a male heir to their family. She is a terror to her family members, villagers and the surrounding villages. She yields extreme power and uses it keep everyone around her suppressed. This thirst for Grandson(s) is unquenched and she resorts to unimaginable cruel deeds.

The British rulers have started their census survey and they come across many glaring discrepancies. They set out to re-verify these errors or facts.
Will Gomti Devi's tyrannical reign come to an end now? How will she maintain her powerful position and retain her family honour and name? What will the British officers uncover ?

What I liked:
This is not a documentary or fact stating book that I was expecting it to be. This book contains a story which will keep you rooted, make you want to scream or shed tears, bile rising but you will keep reading till the end. Reading the book was like walking around in your nightmare hoping there is some happy ending and subconsciously knowing there will be none.

This book re creates the scene of Pre-Independence in Northern India. The reader is transported to the old era of patriarchy, oppressive rules, caste and race discrimination, gender discrimination etc. The book has a story about a family and its decades of inhuman deeds conducted on everyone around them coz they yield the power of money, muscle and guts.

The story is big and has many characters. The women pysche is shown clearly here.
This story highlights the phrase: Women can together stand up only when they stop putting other women down.

 There is balance of men, women characters and each play their role effortlessly. The Author has penned each character beautifully. You visualize the hefty Gomti Devi growing like a demoness after each page. You are irked by her sons and their censurable ways. The daughter-in-laws and their state are pitiable.

The story shows the grim reality of female infanticide, sati, women oppression, infidelity, caste divide, etc. These were practiced rampantly in those ages. Even if now the situation has improved there is little hope for Women.

I liked the way the Author has shown both sides of the coin. As they say the rituals were formed for a reason but later we turned them into superstitions and blind faith. This is explained via the story and its characters.
For example, It shows that the daughter-in-laws are from poor families hence do not question the mother-in-laws authority and slavery she forces on them. But it also shows the reason why the mother-in-law chose wives for her sons from poor families. Many such rituals, thought process  are laid bare as the story progresses.

I liked the deep thought process, planning, scheming the older ladies did to always have an upper hand in all activities. The author has given mettle to even the vamps of the story. The male characters are incorrigible and need thorough bashing up. Each gets you into a boiling rage. I was hoping the other characters work together to end their suffering. But this is no movie. The story shows how these inhuman deeds have been happening for decades now and rules are meant to be broken.

Like I said, it is a big story and it flows effortlessly. The language is good and simple. I didn’t have to remind or motivate myself to pick up the book. I used to pick it up every time I had a few minutes to spare.

The story describes the native scene nicely. Simple things like the well, hookah, beetle juice, horse cart, flowers, etc are inter woven creatively to bring each scene to life. Small details like knee joint pain of Gomti Devi, the spices used in the recipes, the grandeur of British officers upkeep or mansions in Lucknow city added color to the scenes.

What I wanted more:
I wanted justice served. It was served by a twist of destiny but I still think it was a mild sentence.
I wanted to rush through the part of Kulbhushan going to Lucknow and his so called reformation. Those few pages could have been cut down.

I am glad I read this book till the end. It is a balanced book and didn’t leave me with irreversible vivid imaginative scenes as a mother or a woman.

About the Author:
 Author Hyma Goparaju

Hyma Goparaju is an entrepreneur with a Ph.D. in business management. Storytelling delights her, art forms interest her and engaging conversations hold her. Writing is a cathartic release turned into a passion she frequently likes to immerse herself in. The Abandoned Daughter is her second work of fiction.

I am now curious to read Author Hyma Goparaju's first book: The Withering Banyan  which I have come across many times at our library.

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Do buy a copy, read it, leave a review on Amazon and Goodreads and comment below your thoughts about the book.

Bye. Take care.