Skip to main content

Made In Heaven - Review

We're coming up to the last week of the summer, but there's still time to get away and enjoy the last of the warm weather. And if you do, I know the perfect read for you to relax with.


When modern-language graduate Hema, orphaned and unloved from a young age, applies for a job one summer as an au pair to a little girl in the South of France, she doesn't imagine how her life will change as a result. Her employer, Rahul Raichura, is handsome, rich and charming. Her charge, Amelie, is sweet and loving. Hema thinks perhaps she has found the family she lacked, growing up; but first she has to contend with disapproval, secrets, and bitter memories. 


This Jane Eyre-inspired romance with an Indian flavour will make the perfect light beach read for fans of Saz Vora’s other novels. Its more serious themes such as family loyalty, responsibility, and living with a disfigurement, are not laboured too much. Instead, they are woven around the passionate love story of au pair Hema, as she cares for five-year-old Amelie at the home of Amelie’s wealthy guardian, in the South of France.

As a Brontë enthusiast I enjoyed the nods to Jane Eyre – the first encounter in the lane showing Hema being almost knocked down by Rahul’s motor car, instead of almost trampled by Rochester’s horse. The tensions of the social classes of Jane Eyre are translated convincingly from the contempt of the upper classes towards a modest governess, to the snobbery of the wealthy Indian set towards the young au pair. Vora also explores cultural attitudes to physical disfigurement and disability, as she has in her previous novel Where Have We Come (read my review here) – a conversation that many might say is much-needed in South Asian communities.

Vora has taken Charlotte Brontë’s original story in a direction that plays down the Gothic horror elements and ramps up the romance. Apart from the age difference with Hema, Rahul is no Rochester, being handsome, earnest and missing the cutting sarcasm of Brontë’s gruff, Byronic hero. Hema is not so completely friendless as Jane either, making for a more relatable and self-assured heroine, and there are no real villains – only misunderstandings and tragic circumstances.

While Christian values and moral dilemmas are at the heart of Jane Eyre, Vora’s characters turn to their Hindu faith for strength and solace, and as a motif the book taps into the symbolism of fire as sacred and purifying rather than destructive, which works well within the overall context.

The book allows you to escape into a world of idyllic countryside, perfect weather and elegant dinner-parties, where guests wear couture sarees instead of the latest French crinoline gown, listen to old Bollywood love-songs instead of drawing-room piano recitals, and dine on mouthwatering Gujarati specialities instead of stodgy Victorian fare. As always, Vora gives the reader a complete sensual feast to evoke the sights, sounds and tastes of the world she creates. One for your beach bag.

Follow me on TwitterInstagram and Facebook.

Join the conversation at The Brown Brontë's Book Club .


  1. Thank you for the review, my aim for this novel to provide, just that a summer read that takes you on a sensual journey, music, food and the backdrop of an escape to France. A romance, I hope the readers take something away from the themes. That beauty is in the beholder's eye, and it really doesn't matter.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Six Striking Titles For Mother's Day

The pandemic has meant lots of us have not been able to see or visit our own mothers for a whole year or more. There are many who are dealing with the pain of having lost their mothers during this time. For those of you who are yourselves mothers – whether you’re homeschooling, working from home or not for whatever reason, worrying about work, finances, the mess in your home, the amount of time the kids are spending staring at screens, or generally feeling like you’re doing a rubbish job – fear not, you are not alone. I have put together some of my recent reads about the joys and sorrows, fears and hopes of modern motherhood. They’re not all pandemic-specific, but a lot of them focus on the big eternal concerns as well as the minutiae of mothering. Sad or funny, long or short, thrilling or thoughtful – I hope there is something here to suit different tastes. And the best part is, you don’t have to be a parent to enjoy any of them! So take a look below, at my Six Striking Titles f

Chatting with Kate Morrison, Author: A Book of Secrets

Something special on the blog today, readers: I'm thrilled to be chatting to Kate Morrison, author of stunning debut A Book of Secrets, as part of its Random Things Tour. Join us as we talk about historical research, women's independence and racism in Elizabethan England. "A Book of Secrets is the story of a woman named Susan Charlewood living in Elizabethan England. Born in what is now Ghana, Susan is enslaved by the Portuguese but later rescued by British sailors, who bring her to England. Once in England, she is raised in an English Cathoic household. When Susan comes of age, the family marry her off to an older Catholic man, John Charlewood. Charlewood runs a printing press and uses it to supply the Papist nobility with illegal Catholic texts and foment rebellion amongst the Catholic underclass. When Charlewood, Susan takes over the business and uses her new position to find out more about her origins.  A look at racial relationships at the beginning of the eve of the

Sultana’s Dream: A Bengali Feminist Sci-Fi Utopia

Sultana’s Dream is a science fiction short story by the Bengali writer and activist Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain , which was first published in the Indian Ladies’ Magazine, Madras, in 1905.  It imagines the journey of a woman – Sultana - to a fantastical place called Ladyland, “free from sin and harm, where Virtue reigns supreme”. Here, the powers and spheres of men and women are reversed so that women are active in public life, and men are restricted to domestic duties.  The result is a utopia where there is no crime, violence or corruption. Their main diet is fruit; they use technology to carry out manual labour and grow crops, and flying cars to travel. Work is carried out more efficiently as women do not waste time smoking and talking, and they come up with innovative, non-violent ways of defending themselves against enemies. At a time when India was under British colonial rule and women’s emancipation had not yet become a reality even in Britain, Hossain satirised the patri