Tag Archives: Indian writers

#BookReview ‘The War Child’ by @RenitaDSilva #WW2 #historical

Two women, two generations apart. In The War Child, Renita D‘Silva explores the connections between a mother and child, through danger and separation, self-sacrifice, unstoppable events and the pressures of modern life. D’Silva tells the dual timeline stories of Clara and Indira over many decades, setting the strength and promise of women across four decades against the twentieth century prejudices of chauvinism and racism. Renita D‘SilvaIn London, 1940, teenager Clara is woken by her mother as their home is bombed. Her mother presses into Clara’s hand a necklace, a St Christopher’s medal, with the promise that it will always protect her. Orphaned, Clara is taken in by her aunt and begins helping at a local hospital treating injured soldiers. When nurses and doctors ignore a wounded Indian soldier because of the colour of his skin, Clara nurses him to health. When the war ends, she decides to fulfil a long-held promise to herself. Inspired by sitting on her father’s knee and listening to his stories of India, Clara takes a job as nurse companion to a delicate boy whose parents are re-locating to India. And there, she falls in love.
In India, 1995, 33-year old Indira is chairing a board meeting when she gets a message to ‘go to the hospital’. Fearing her young son is dying – he is in hospital for a minor surgical procedure – she finds her husband and son both well. The message refers to Indira’s father who has had a heart attack. Indira returns home to her parents, somewhere she hasn’t been much of late as she seeks to avoid their simplistic boring life, resenting their dissatisfaction with her life choices.
Sometimes raw and painful, always emotionally complex with surprising twists that make you gasp, The War Child is another brilliant book by my first-choice author for Indian historical romance. D’Silva is such a visual writer that India is a real place on the page, the colours and scents are both beautiful and challenging, her descriptions as full of contrasts as fresh guava sprinkled with chilli powder.

I’ve loved every one of Renita D’Silva’s books I’ve read to date, so far my favourite is The Orphan’s Gift. Click on the title to read my reviews of A Mother’s Secret, Beneath an Indian Sky, The Girl in the Painting and The Orphan’s Gift.

If you like this, try:-
The Tea Planter’s Wife’ by Dinah Jefferies
Heat and Dust’ by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
The Sapphire Widow’ by Dinah Jefferies

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
THE WAR CHILD by @RenitaDSilva #bookreview https://wp.me/p5gEM4-5mW via @SandraDanby

My Porridge & Cream read: Renita D’Silva

Today I’m delighted to welcome Indian novelist Renita D’Silva. Her ‘Porridge & Cream’ read is the classic To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

“The book I keep returning to time and again is To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I love every character – Boo Radley, Jem, Atticus, and, especially, Scout: her innocence, her wonderful narrative voice through which she reveals more to the reader than she herself understands.
Renita D’Silva

I first read the condensed version as a teen. Being a voracious reader, I could never find enough to read in the village in India where I grew up. There was a small library – a couple of shelves of worn books with falling apart pages, woodlice ridden spines, crumbly to the touch and smelling yellow, of rot and stale lives. Having read each book multiple times, I was desperate for something different when I found this fat book wedged behind the shelves, forgotten and unloved.

I dusted it off, thrilled to have something new to read. I was ecstatic when I discovered that it was a Readers Digest anthology of four condensed books; one of them, To Kill a Mockingbird. I read the first line (they left that in), Scout’s sweet voice saying, ‘When he was nearly thirteen my brother Jem got his arm badly broken…’ – and I was hooked.

I read that version so many times that I knew sections by heart. I had a huge crush on Atticus – typical bookworm that I was, all my major crushes were from books. I graduated, in time, to nursing infatuations on Mr Darcy and others but my love for Atticus remained constant, made all the more steadfast when I finally watched the movie. Years later, I read the full version of the book and it was like discovering a new side to an old and trusted love. I have re-read the book countless times since then and each time, I find something – a word, a sentence – to cherish within its beloved pages.”

Renita D’Silva’s Bio
Renita D’Silva loves stories, both reading and creating them. Her short stories have been published in The View from Here, Bartleby Snopes, this zine, Platinum Page, Paragraph Planet among others and have been nominated for the ‘Pushcart’ prize and the ‘Best of the Net’ anthology. She is the author of Monsoon Memories, The Forgotten Daughter, The Stolen Girl, A Sister’s Promise and A Mother’s Secret.

Renita D’Silva’s links

Renita D’Silva’s books
Renita D’SilvaWhat if you discovered that everything you knew about yourself was a lie?
When pregnant Jaya loses her mother, then her baby son Arun in a tragic cot death, her world crashes down. Overcome by grief and guilt, she begins to search for answers – to the enigma of her lonely, distant mother, and her mysterious past in India.
Looking through her mother’s belongings, she finds two diaries and old photographs, carrying the smoky aroma of fire. A young boy smiles out at Jaya from every photograph – and in one, a family stand proudly in front of a sprawling mansion. Who is this child? And why did her mother treasure this memento of a regal family lost to the past?
As Jaya starts to read the diaries, their secrets lead her back to India, to the ruin of a once grand house on a hill. There, Kali, a mad old lady, will unlock the story of a devastating lie and a fire that tore a family apart.
Nothing though will prepare Jaya for the house’s final revelation, which will change everything Jaya knew about herself.
Read my review of A Mother’s Secret.

‘A Mother’s Secret’ by Renita D’Silva [UK: Bookouture]

Porridge & Cream

What is a ‘Porridge & Cream’ book? It’s the book you turn to when you need a familiar read, when you are tired, ill, or out-of-sorts, where you know the story and love it. Where reading it is like slipping on your oldest, scruffiest slippers after walking for miles. Where does the name ‘Porridge & Cream’ come from? Cat Deerborn is a character in Susan Hill’s ‘Simon Serrailler’ detective series. Cat is a hard-worked GP, a widow with two children and she struggles from day-to-day. One night, after a particularly difficult day, she needs something familiar to read. From her bookshelf she selects ‘Love in A Cold Climate’ by Nancy Mitford. Do you have a favourite read which you return to again and again? If so, please send me a message via the contact form here.

Harper Lee


‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ by Harper Lee [UK: Arrow]

Discover the ‘Porridge & Cream’ books of these authors:-
Sue Moorcroft
Jane Cable
Claire Dyer

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Why does @RenitaDSilva love TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee? http://wp.me/p5gEM4-2b5 via @SandraDanby #reading