The Dowry Bride is the story of a young 21 year old girl who runs away from her home when she realizes that her in-laws and husband are trying to kill her. How she manages to survive; where does she find the support and help to fight the odds and win. The book cover was the first thing that attracted me to the book and of course the topic of dowry, an ill that ails our society. It is a very aesthetically pleasing cover and the fire on the cover following the footsteps of a bride was a big pull for me to read the book as was the story.
This is also a book that made me think and wonder what exactly I wanted to share in my review. The Dowry Bride is a reflection of our society, urging us to take action and change our ways.
The twist in the plot is when she finds refuge in the home of a relative of her husband who is secretly in love with her. Kunal comes across as a solid, sensible and calm guy. He is her glimmer of hope, the one supporter for Megha to start a new life. I enjoyed reading their interactions and discussions. The caring nature was just what she needed to blossom. He was truly her knight in shining armor.
The story very astutely highlights the pitfalls our young girls face. How a beautiful, educated girl gets married to a lying, spineless guy. The tyrannical mother-in-law and total lack of support from her own family add to her woes as does the never ending, back-breaking work. The society that looks upon young girls as burdens to be shed off, rather than to be nurtured as family members.
Shobhan paints a true picture, scores of women face all this and more through their lives, just surviving and hoping for a change. Many are not so lucky as Megha and countless have lost their lives. The book creates awareness about this heinous crime and shares the story that could have been any young girls.
The character of her mother-in-law, Amma and her spineless husband Suresh are well etched, realistic. The cruel streak in Chandramma is so obvious that even I felt quite upset and angry; any one would wish to move out. The diabolical plan devised by them both is the catalyst in Megha’s escape. It is true; fear is a big motivator as well as a hindrance. She runs but knows not what to do next. Her escape is temporary since her in-laws are still searching for her. The lack of Dowry, the greed for more money has ruined many a lives.
Megha herself is a strong girl; even though she feels unsure of herself yet with Kunal’s support she not only survives but also achieves her goals. The book works on many levels. The premise is excellent; the escape is adventures as is her acceptance of her feelings for Kunal. Add to it the struggle she faces, along with disapproving relatives makes for a good read. The book was a bit slow for me in the middle wherein she is just holed up at Kunal’s house. I felt as if she is not trying to do anything but the situation changes soon enough. vcfx
The book has excellent language and the conversations just flow.
The plot has a lot of hidden twists with Ajji, Kunal’s grandmother and Appaji who supported Megha even though he could not do much. Attacks, goons, spies and enough hidden secrets to put any Saas-Bahu serial to shame The Dowry Bride has a solid story as well. Meghna manages to survive but just; she starts living after she almost dies. Their presence makes a lot of difference to Megha’s future, as well as adding a human touch to her story.
The author ends the story on a optimistic note while sharing a message of positivity making it a very apt ‘feel good read’. The book evokes many emotions and even though it talks of an evil practice it left me with a encouraging frame of mind. A book with a message of hope and a whole lot of love.
(©InderpreetKaur. I got a copy of the book from Fingerprint Publishing, the views are my own.)
The Dowry Bride by Shobhan Bantwal
She is 21, married, childless . . . and she is about to be burned. As the dowry culture in India, in spite of the Dowry Law, remains an ugly reality, will Megha Ramnath contribute to changing it, or will she silently succumb to its dark existence? As Megha wakes up in the dead of night to the squeaking of the woodshed door, she steps out to see the cause behind it. What she witnesses is something so dangerous, so sinister that she is soon racing through the deserted streets of Palgaum, with only one thing on her mind: to put as much distance as she can between herself and the place she has come to call home for the past year, for her very family members—husband and mother-in-law—are plotting to burn her alive that very night! What will she do now? Where will she go? Making her way through the dim-lit streets, there is only one name that comes to her mind—Kunal, the one man who has shown her friendship and respect in her new household. Hiding in his apartment, he becomes her protector. As the forbidden attraction between them grows and complicates an already messy situation, will Kunal be successful in safeguarding Megha? Torn between her affections for Kunal and the conventional ethos of the society, which path will she choose? Follow Megha as she struggles to piece together her life and work towards an unblemished future, unveiling the brutal realities faced by the Dowry Brides.