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Where Have We Come - Saz Vora: Review

     Where Have We Come is the second book in the Reena and Nikesh series by Saz Vora, and picks up the story after the marriage of the couple, as they expect the birth of their first child. It follows Reena and Nikesh in their first year of marriage, through the birth of their severely disabled son, and, ultimately, coming to terms with his death, with the support of family and friends. Can their relationship stand the pressures of grief, shock revelations, and cultural prejudices?      This is a touching novel that provides a strong contrast to the fairytale romance and Bollywood glamour of the first book, with its more serious tone and consideration of some weighty themes. If the first book had its head in the clouds, this one has its feet firmly planted on the ground. Author Saz Vora’s depiction of what it’s like to be the mother of a severely disabled baby is moving and honest, and it was this that kept me reading to the end.      What Vora does best is to take us through a moth
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Black History Month 2020: Round-Up

Greetings, readers, on this lovely October day. As you may know, October is Black History Month. It’s been just over a year since my last Black History Month post and it feels like so much has changed in the world since then: the pandemic and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement have highlighted structural racism and inequalities that still affect black communities in Britain and the US today. As a result there are more open conversations being had about privilege and prejudice, and there are initiatives to decolonise education at all levels. Black representation in publishing is an area where a lot of work remains to be done, although it’s heartening to see that this is also changing for the better. And so, today I am rounding up some of the titles I have read in the last 12 months by black authors, as well as some I still want to read.  Let's start with what I read: Queenie, Candice Carty-Williams: I had heard a lot about this book so I was very interested to try it. The

My One Year Blogoversary: 6 Lessons I Learned & 6 Goals For Next Year

On this day exactly one year ago, I launched this blog. I can't believe it has been a whole year already, and how far I've come since then. To mark this VERY special day, here are some things I've learned in my first year of blogging, and some goals I have for the next year. Although I feel like I still have so much to learn, I hope the insights I've gained so far will help or encourage some of you who may be starting out on your blogging journey. 6 Lessons I Learned: 1. People are interested in what I have to say! It took me the longest time to summon up the courage to put my writing out there; I thought nobody would be interested in my thoughts, or they would think that what I wrote was stupid, or not very interesting, or irrelevant. But the more I wrote and shared, the more I realised that this is not true, and I was just talking myself down. I didn't really believe it until I shared a translation I had been working on, and the comments I got were so positive -

Back To School with The Demon Headmaster

How is it October already?! There's a chill in the air, the leaves are turning, and the kids have been back at school for a month, local lockdowns notwithstanding. It is actually great for them to be back in a learning environment with their teachers and friends, despite all the new restrictions. But the return to school has been amid some worrying news of political intervention in education, most notably the directives not to teach using materials from 'anti-capitalist groups'; being opposed to capitalism is now apparently classed as an 'extreme political view'. So it seemed like a good time to share this post I wrote - last year! I didn't share it then, for many reasons, but mainly because I was starting out on my blogging journey and was still riddled with self-doubt. I'm learning not to overthink things; I've realised that if I don't get over my fears and post, then often the moment passes -  and then I have to wait a whole year for things to bec

The Tigers In The Tower - Julia Golding

Hello Brown Brontë readers! I have something very special for you today: a review AND a sneak peek of this brand new book:  It was the gorgeous cover that first caught my eye; the girl with the brown skin and swirling red hair, flanked by those tigers, just ooze power and mystery. The book tells a beautiful tale about staying true to who you are, and overcoming adversity with the help of friends.  Read my review below, and take a look at the extract here . Synposis: Sahira Clive arrives in England with two Royal Bengal tigers that she must deliver to the Tower of London Menagerie. They are her last link to her home in India, and to her parents, who died on the voyage to England. Friendless and alone, she is forced to live in a grim orphanage; her one joy is being able to go and see the tigers at the Menagerie. But then, when the Menagerie is in financial troubles the tigers are to be sold. Can Sahira rescue them, and will her father’s family rescue her from the cruelty of the orphana

8 books for Women in Translation Month

  August is Women in Translation Month, a month dedicated to recognising women’s writing translated into English. I read several languages, but not all of them as well as I would like, and I often feel like I’m missing out on incredible writing just because it happens to be in a language I don’t know. In an ideal universe I would be equally fluent in any language I fancy, and devour beautiful, powerful, striking fiction from all over the world. But alas, I’m not the polyglot I would like to be, and so reading books in translation is the next-best thing. Here I share with you some of the titles which I’ve read in the past year and a couple of others which I included just because. Prayers For the Stolen, Jennifer Clement, translated by Jennifer Clement: Told through the eyes of Ladydi, a sixteen-year-old girl living in rural southern Mexico, in a community living under the shadow of cartels. The menfolk in her tiny village have mostly fled to the US and the women disguise their y

Mystery & Memory in 'When Secrets Set Sail' – Sita Brahmachari

I was so excited to receive a copy of this book to review; it was a perfect book to read for South Asian Heritage Month, as it delves into a history that many of us know nothing about.  Imtiaz has been adopted by the Joseph family, who live in an interesting house consisting of a community hub for refugees on the ground floor called the Hearth, and a whimsical home on the 'Top Deck', designed like a ship. She isn’t sure what to make of her new sister, Usha, who seems distracted and withdrawn after the death of her grandmother, Kali Ma. But when their Hearth and home are threatened by locals who don’t want refugees in the area, the two girls are drawn into a journey to uncover the hidden history of the house - and of the ayahs of long ago who once took refuge there. In this middle-grade historical mystery with a sprinkling of the supernatural, Sita Brahmachari takes you on a wonderful odyssey of secrets, unravelling mysteries of the past and bringing forgotten histories to