Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Book Review: The Unexpected Son by Shobhan Bantwal

Earlier this year, I wrote a review on a book that portrayed life in the Middle East. I was fascinated with the descriptions of the culture and attitudes of the people who live in that part of the world. So when I read The Unexpected Son, I again became captured by how these people are, in some ways, so different than we are, yet I also realized that they are very much the same. We all have the same struggles, the same desires, and experience many of the same consequences of our sins. And we all feel things deeply, no matter where we live or what we may believe.

The Unexpected SonThe main character in The Unexpected Son is Vinita Patil, a wife and mother from India who now lives in the United States. The story pulls the reader in from the first few pages, when Vinita receives an anonymous letter informing her that her son in India is very ill and needs a bone marrow transplant. However, Vinita is unaware that she has a son, having left her country of birth many years before. She is understandably stunned by the letter. The letter's author indicates that Vinita should ask her brother about this boy. She calls her brother in India who responds to her inquiry with a "Good God!". Thus ends the first chapter.

The author then takes us back to the time when Vinita was still in high school and fell in love with a "bad boy", Som. Her story is told and the events unfold to explain the mystery of the Unexpected Son.

Shobhan Bantwal proves to be a talented author who reveals the events of her story little by little, pacing it just so, not too slow, yet not too fast. The descriptions of the culture are again engaging. Since the author herself was born and raised in India, I am convinced that she writes with an integrity that comes from a personal knowledge of that country and its people. She is therefore a reliable narrator for Vinita's story. And although the book's ending contains some sadness, it is not predictable nor uninteresting. At first, I felt as though it left us hanging at the end, but then realized that it was better to allow the reader to finish out the story. It helps us to be a part of the story, not merely observers.

I will be looking for more of Ms. Bantwal's books and I hope that they are as good as this one.

I give The Unexpected Son 4 1/2 out of 5 stars!

For more information on how you can get The Unexpected Son, click on the book cover or book title, or go to the author's website.

(I received this book from the author for review. I received no monetary compensation for this review. All opinions expressed are completely my own.)


Shobhan Bantwal said...

Thank you for this lovely review of my book.

Shobhan Bantwal

Amy said...

This sounds really interesting... though I'm confused how someone would not know that they had given birth! I'm adding it to my wish list :)

susan said...

this sounds like an awesome book and hope to read it in the future. susan L. garysue@dejazzd.com

Violet said...

Your summary of the first chapter has me intrigued! What a great start to a story. Thank you for sharing your review! :)