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The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters

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The author of the Reese Witherspoon Book Club selection Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows follows her acclaimed America debut with this life-affirming, witty family drama—an Indian This Is Where I Leave You—about three Punjabi sisters embarking on a pilgrimage to their homeland to lay their mother to rest. The British-born Punjabi Shergill sisters—Rajni, Jezmeen, and Shirin The author of the Reese Witherspoon Book Club selection Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows follows her acclaimed America debut with this life-affirming, witty family drama—an Indian This Is Where I Leave You—about three Punjabi sisters embarking on a pilgrimage to their homeland to lay their mother to rest. The British-born Punjabi Shergill sisters—Rajni, Jezmeen, and Shirina—were never close and barely got along growing up, and now as adults, have grown even further apart. Rajni, a school principal is a stickler for order. Jezmeen, a thirty-year-old struggling actress, fears her big break may never come. Shirina, the peacemaking "good" sister married into wealth and enjoys a picture-perfect life. On her deathbed, their mother voices one last wish: that her daughters will make a pilgrimage together to the Golden Temple in Amritsar to carry out her final rites. After a trip to India with her mother long ago, Rajni vowed never to return. But she’s always been a dutiful daughter, and cannot, even now, refuse her mother’s request. Jezmeen has just been publicly fired from her television job, so the trip to India is a welcome break to help her pick up the pieces of her broken career. Shirina’s in-laws are pushing her to make a pivotal decision about her married life; time away will help her decide whether to meekly obey, or to bravely stand up for herself for the first time. Arriving in India, these sisters will make unexpected discoveries about themselves, their mother, and their lives—and learn the real story behind the trip Rajni took with their Mother long ago—a momentous journey that resulted in Mum never being able to return to India again. The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters is a female take on the Indian travel narrative. "I was curious about how different the trip would be if it were undertaken by women, who are vulnerable to different dangers in a male-dominated society," Balli Kaur Jaswal writes. "I also wanted to explore the tensions between tradition and modernity in immigrant communities, and particularly how those tensions play out among women like these sisters, who are the first generation to be raised outside of India." Powerful, emotionally evocative, and wonderfully atmospheric, The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters is a charming and thoughtful story that illuminates the bonds of family, sisterhood, and heritage that tether us despite our differences. Funny and heartbreaking, it is a reminder of the truly important things we must treasure in our lives.


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The author of the Reese Witherspoon Book Club selection Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows follows her acclaimed America debut with this life-affirming, witty family drama—an Indian This Is Where I Leave You—about three Punjabi sisters embarking on a pilgrimage to their homeland to lay their mother to rest. The British-born Punjabi Shergill sisters—Rajni, Jezmeen, and Shirin The author of the Reese Witherspoon Book Club selection Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows follows her acclaimed America debut with this life-affirming, witty family drama—an Indian This Is Where I Leave You—about three Punjabi sisters embarking on a pilgrimage to their homeland to lay their mother to rest. The British-born Punjabi Shergill sisters—Rajni, Jezmeen, and Shirina—were never close and barely got along growing up, and now as adults, have grown even further apart. Rajni, a school principal is a stickler for order. Jezmeen, a thirty-year-old struggling actress, fears her big break may never come. Shirina, the peacemaking "good" sister married into wealth and enjoys a picture-perfect life. On her deathbed, their mother voices one last wish: that her daughters will make a pilgrimage together to the Golden Temple in Amritsar to carry out her final rites. After a trip to India with her mother long ago, Rajni vowed never to return. But she’s always been a dutiful daughter, and cannot, even now, refuse her mother’s request. Jezmeen has just been publicly fired from her television job, so the trip to India is a welcome break to help her pick up the pieces of her broken career. Shirina’s in-laws are pushing her to make a pivotal decision about her married life; time away will help her decide whether to meekly obey, or to bravely stand up for herself for the first time. Arriving in India, these sisters will make unexpected discoveries about themselves, their mother, and their lives—and learn the real story behind the trip Rajni took with their Mother long ago—a momentous journey that resulted in Mum never being able to return to India again. The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters is a female take on the Indian travel narrative. "I was curious about how different the trip would be if it were undertaken by women, who are vulnerable to different dangers in a male-dominated society," Balli Kaur Jaswal writes. "I also wanted to explore the tensions between tradition and modernity in immigrant communities, and particularly how those tensions play out among women like these sisters, who are the first generation to be raised outside of India." Powerful, emotionally evocative, and wonderfully atmospheric, The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters is a charming and thoughtful story that illuminates the bonds of family, sisterhood, and heritage that tether us despite our differences. Funny and heartbreaking, it is a reminder of the truly important things we must treasure in our lives.

30 review for The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    "I also want you to experience the familiararity of our ancestrial state. You girls are British, yes. But all the generations of our family before you lived in India. It is in your blood. The language, the food, the way things are. These things are not erased just because you grew up elsewhere." Sisters: Rajni, Jezmeen, and Shirina have been tasked with completing a week pilgrimage to India on behalf of their mother who deeply wanted to go when she was alive. Their mother organized a list of "I also want you to experience the familiararity of our ancestrial state. You girls are British, yes. But all the generations of our family before you lived in India. It is in your blood. The language, the food, the way things are. These things are not erased just because you grew up elsewhere." Sisters: Rajni, Jezmeen, and Shirina have been tasked with completing a week pilgrimage to India on behalf of their mother who deeply wanted to go when she was alive. Their mother organized a list of places for them to visit as she suspected the experience would enrich them in a variety of ways. Little did she know just how life-changing this would be for her very lost daughters. True to most books about sisters, they find themselves and each other in the process. I so enjoyed The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters. I loved watching these three women navigate their family's country as first-time visitors. This created a fascinating element where the sisters could confront negative cultural expectations while simultaneously understand how a male-dominated environment might have impacted their mother and the other women in their family. Oh, insight. How lovely thou art. Themes related to family, tradition, gender inequality, and taking control of one's life created an interesting and engaging reading experience that is just as humorous as it is heartwarming. I hope you have a chance to read it. Check it out! My favorite quote: “A sunrise is something that you shouldn’t take for granted. Stand still and watch a new day beginning. Think of all the new days you have left, and reflect on how you will choose to spend them.”

  2. 5 out of 5

    Berit☀️✨

    beautifully told this story was bursting with culture, family dynamics, and love! Balli Kuar Jaswal completely captivated me with this engaging story about these three dynamic sisters. I felt as though I was wisked away to India along with the Shergill Sisters. Jaswal’s writing is so descriptive, she made the characters and the setting pop off the pages. Seriously when I was done with this book I felt as though I knew these characters and had been on this pilgrimage with them. Some books you re beautifully told this story was bursting with culture, family dynamics, and love! Balli Kuar Jaswal completely captivated me with this engaging story about these three dynamic sisters. I felt as though I was wisked away to India along with the Shergill Sisters. Jaswal’s writing is so descriptive, she made the characters and the setting pop off the pages. Seriously when I was done with this book I felt as though I knew these characters and had been on this pilgrimage with them. Some books you read, some books you experience, this book was the latter. Sisters Rajni, Jezmeen, and Shirina are not terribly close, in fact they don’t necessarily like one another. BUT it is their mother’s dying wish that they take a pilgrimage to India together. The sisters are all hesitant, they each have things going on in their own lives, but how can they deny their mother her dying wish? What transpires is a remarkable journey of self discovery, sisterly bonding, and forgiveness. These sisters started off this journey as complete strangers and ended it with an unbreakable bond. The book really brought home the fact that in order for people to truly understand you, you need to let them see who you truly are. This book really took me on an emotional journey I laughed, I cried, I got angry, I got frustrated. I found the sister so real and so relatable, I could see a little piece of me in each of them. The cultural aspects of this book were so interesting. The clash between traditional and modern viewpoints appears tricky to navigate. India seems to be a country rich in culture and I’d imagine this would be both rewarding and difficult for people of Indian dissent living outside the country. Simply put this was a beautiful story about remarkable women that should not be missed! 🎧🎧🎧 this was such an engaging and enriching audio experience!Soneela Nankani and Deepti Gupta really brought these characters to life. I think they especially gave a voice to the mother that really added an extra layer to the story. Not to mention they could pronounce all the names and locations that I would have struggled with. *** thank you so much to William Morrow and Harper Audio for my copy of this book ***

  3. 5 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    Five amazing sisterhood of the traveling in saris stars ! Nameste! I found a real gem! A sweet, inspirational, heartwarming book ! I loved this kind of book no matter what’s your gender, nationality, religion, culture, race you have, it embraces you tightly and make you feel deeply for the characters! It doesn’t only serve to your mind, it does also feed your soul and empower your spirit. Three sisters with different perspectives, life choices and characteristic qualities who barely stand each ot Five amazing sisterhood of the traveling in saris stars ! Nameste! I found a real gem! A sweet, inspirational, heartwarming book ! I loved this kind of book no matter what’s your gender, nationality, religion, culture, race you have, it embraces you tightly and make you feel deeply for the characters! It doesn’t only serve to your mind, it does also feed your soul and empower your spirit. Three sisters with different perspectives, life choices and characteristic qualities who barely stand each other take a pilgrimage trip to India for ensuring the final wishes of their mother. It seems like the mother’s bucket list has a crucial purpose to bring the sisters back together and solve their past time regrets and issues with each other. Rajni, eldest sister, married, has 18 years old son and soon to be grandmother, authoritative, doubtful, withdrawn, still has hurt feelings for her sister Jezmeen. Jezmeen, unsuccessful actress suffering from social media attacks because of a viral video which probably ends her short time carrier, lively, stubborn, single,straightforward and most vivid character of the sisters. And Shirina, polite, negotiator, sweet talker, good hearted, sweet girl who made arranged internet marriage and suffers from mother-in law’s hostile attitudes, has a big secret that she keeps from her sisters. I loved their journey, revelation process of the secrets they kept about themselves and the way they start to know each other without judgements and releasing their resentments. It’s an amazing book makes me wanna have a journey to India for seeing all the sacred places. The story is about family, sisterhood, love, acceptance, forgiveness but it’s also about finding yourself by accepting who you are and healing your wounds by making peace with your past!

  4. 5 out of 5

    PorshaJo

    Gotta DNF this one. It's just boring. I'm a number of hours into it and it's just a lot of petty squabbling with the sisters. I just don't care to read anymore (or listen). I loved this authors last book, but this one isn't for me. And sticking to my rule....don't read books you have no interest in anymore.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Marianne

    The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters is the fourth novel by Singapore-born author, Balli Kaur Jaswal. Not long before she died in November, Sita Kaur Shergill set out her wishes for the pilgrimage her daughters were to make to India in her name: a mix of tourism, sentimental and spiritual destinations and activities. Eight months later, Bajni, Jezmeen and Shirina arrive in Delhi. None of them really wants to be there. Rajni, the eldest (and therefore, most responsible) would much rath The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters is the fourth novel by Singapore-born author, Balli Kaur Jaswal. Not long before she died in November, Sita Kaur Shergill set out her wishes for the pilgrimage her daughters were to make to India in her name: a mix of tourism, sentimental and spiritual destinations and activities. Eight months later, Bajni, Jezmeen and Shirina arrive in Delhi. None of them really wants to be there. Rajni, the eldest (and therefore, most responsible) would much rather be at home dealing with the bombshell her eighteen-year-old son dropped just before she departed. A woman twice his age is bad enough but the prospect of being a grandmother at 43 doesn't bear thinking about. Being in India, meanwhile, brings back the awful memories of the trip she made with her mother shortly after her father died. Jezmeen is glued to her phone watching her career as a TV host self-destructing over an unfortunate YouTube clip of her restaurant meltdown. Shirina’s marriage is not turning out to be the idyll she had envisaged. Sehar is wonderful, but being a daughter-in-law is proving challenging. She is finding that acquiescence to the family’s wishes turns out to mean no social life and no job. And now, Shirina is dreading the difficult duty the family requires of her while she is in India. The sisters have not been the sort to get along with each other for many years (if ever, in Rajni’s case, being so much older). They even came to blows over the circumstances of Sita’s death. So they haven't shared thoughts, secrets or fears like some sisters might have, when some support and understanding could have eased their worries to some degree. Travelling like this in India “’It’s hardly a break,’ Jezmeen reminded her. ‘We’ve got this itinerary to follow and we’re sequestered in the hotel most evenings because it’s not exactly the friendliest environment for female travellers.’” As the sisters (mostly) follow Sita’s wishes (Rajni feels her sisters are not taking this as seriously as they should), with the pilgrimage taking them on to Amritsar, not everything goes according to Sita’s carefully laid out plan: one of them is arrested, and later two of them find themselves on a mercy dash across the country in a car daringly chauffeured by a man who insists his name is Tom Hanks. Sita hated to see the discord amongst her three very different daughters: would her gamble to bring them together on this pilgrimage to their roots pay off? “They had all done their part by coming on this trip, this pilgrimage they did not want to take, and what did it achieve? Arguments, ugly memories and none of the healing that Mum had wanted for them.” While being of Indian extraction might enhance the enjoyment of this novel, it really is not necessary and if some of the issues raised apply more to that racial group, giving them a wider audience is important. But if Jaswal draws attention to confronting topics like female feticide and rape culture, her characters are easily relatable and she manages to include plenty of humour. This is a thought-provoking and moving read.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Resh (The Book Satchel)

    Loved it. Rating : 4.5 stars I expected something along the lines of Erotic stories for Punjabi widows. But this was gold. It captures the not-so-close sisters who are on a pilgrimage to fulfill their mother's death bed wish. The scenes of the British sisters adapting to the land of their parents had both hilarious and thoughtful moments. Old grudges and secrets surface and there are talks about sex, wife swapping Punjabi couples, young man-older woman trope, detective trailing of prospective brid Loved it. Rating : 4.5 stars I expected something along the lines of Erotic stories for Punjabi widows. But this was gold. It captures the not-so-close sisters who are on a pilgrimage to fulfill their mother's death bed wish. The scenes of the British sisters adapting to the land of their parents had both hilarious and thoughtful moments. Old grudges and secrets surface and there are talks about sex, wife swapping Punjabi couples, young man-older woman trope, detective trailing of prospective brides, tradition vs modernity, activism, breaking through the entertainment industry, viral videos, 'lassi' and other Indian drinks masqueraded as exotic stuff (and described so in over-adorned language) in menus and more. Books set in India as these are so important. It is refreshing from the forceful sympathy trope and romanticization of poverty that so many writers write about.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sahitya

    After reading Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows and really enjoying it, I was so excited to receive the ARC for this one. This book turned out to be quite different from what I was expecting but it was nevertheless, a very interesting read. Rajni is the eldest sister, a school principal who likes rules and everything to be in an orderly fashion. However, she was not always like this and things that happened in her past completely changed her attitude and now when things are again uncertain in her After reading Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows and really enjoying it, I was so excited to receive the ARC for this one. This book turned out to be quite different from what I was expecting but it was nevertheless, a very interesting read. Rajni is the eldest sister, a school principal who likes rules and everything to be in an orderly fashion. However, she was not always like this and things that happened in her past completely changed her attitude and now when things are again uncertain in her life, she is not sure how to handle everything. Jezmeen is a struggling actress who’s just lost her job and gone infamously viral. She also has always been a rebel and resists every attempt by Rajni to follow their pilgrimage schedule and resents her sister for being so strict. Shirina has always tried to be the perfect daughter but felt too invisible in her own home and being scared of any confrontations has left her as the person who always adjusts and makes sure everyone else is happy. I could relate to some parts of each of these sisters and it made the reading experience quite surreal - sometimes nostalgic and sometimes even uncomfortable. The writing is as usual very engaging. The author uses the stories of these three sisters to give us a picture of immigrant life in Britain, the clash of cultures between traditional parents and their British born kids and sometimes, even the second generation immigrant kids. Through the trip that the characters take, we see a different view of India too - how the noise and crowds can sometimes feel overwhelming; even after so much development, how the sexism and misogyny is so ingrained that it manifests in everyday little things; how female foeticide in parts of India is still rampant and sometimes, these ideas don’t disappear just because someone has immigrated to a more modern country. The author also manages to give us a nuanced portrait of the relationship between three sisters - who were not close while growing up and even held resentments towards each other, but being in close proximity after the death of their mother forces them to acknowledge their issues and maybe pave the way for a better relationship going forward. It’s also great to see them have each other’s back despite any lingering issues. This book is a very interesting portrayal of family dynamics and sisterhood, traditional vs modern thinking and how it affects our everyday life. It’s a very honest picture of three sister’s lives told with drama, humor and mystery which makes for a fascinating read. I would definitely recommend this one if you enjoyed the author’s previous book and are interested in depictions of the myriad of issues that women face in everyday life.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lata

    I loved this story about three sisters and their fractious, discordant relationships, which are on full display during their trip to India after their mother's death. Before dying, the sisters' mother insisted her daughters make a pilgrimage in India for her, planning out their itinerary. Each sister only very reluctantly agrees to this trip, partially because of their feelings towards each other, and partially because of how their own lives are progressing, or not. Each woman has secrets she's a I loved this story about three sisters and their fractious, discordant relationships, which are on full display during their trip to India after their mother's death. Before dying, the sisters' mother insisted her daughters make a pilgrimage in India for her, planning out their itinerary. Each sister only very reluctantly agrees to this trip, partially because of their feelings towards each other, and partially because of how their own lives are progressing, or not. Each woman has secrets she's anxious to keep from the other two; for example, a) eldest sister Rajni's wayward 18-year old son and her reasons behind her desperate need to control every person she knows and situation she's in. b) Middle sister Jezmeen's acting career is going nowhere, and after an embarrassing incident captured by bystanders, appears to have torpedoed it, but is still looking to make it big. Youngest sister Shirina appears to be the one most on top of her life, living in Australia with a rich husband and seeming happy. Unlike this author's Punjabi Widows story, there isn't much humour here. There's a lot of anger and frustration, both amongst the sisters, and towards their mother, and the expectations she raised them with. As the sisters attempt to make their way through their mother's itinerary (which goes off the rails almost immediately) Balli Kaur Jaswal comments on a number of social issues (e.g., expectations on Indian children, which are heightened for Indian girls and women, the prevalence of rape and harassment in India, spousal abuse, female infanticide). Despite the underlying commentary, this is still a story about a family in pain that needs to find a way to repair itself. And though there's melodrama (which, if you're Indian feels believable,) I still really enjoyed the way the sisters find a way to slowly reconnect with each other. And there's even a wee bit of humour towards the end of this terrific story.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kate ☀️ Olson

    (free review copy) Travel + sisters + some secrets to unravel = a captivating and heartwarming story! I loved Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows and enjoyed this one just as much.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Anna Luce

    ★★★✰✰ 3 stars An absorbing start gives way to an increasingly frustrating reiteration of the same arguments which provided little character development. “Grief came to her like a series of aftershocks—every time she thought she had moved on, something new reminded her of Mum.” The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters started well enough. We are introduced to three sisters who are leading different lives and are not particularly close to one another. There is the serious older sister Rajni ( ★★★✰✰ 3 stars An absorbing start gives way to an increasingly frustrating reiteration of the same arguments which provided little character development. “Grief came to her like a series of aftershocks—every time she thought she had moved on, something new reminded her of Mum.” The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters started well enough. We are introduced to three sisters who are leading different lives and are not particularly close to one another. There is the serious older sister Rajni (married and with an eighteen year old son), the loud middle sister (whose career as an actress is having more downs than ups), and Shirina the youngest and most subdued of the sisters (who currently lives with her husband and his husband in Australia). The three embark on a pilgrimage-of-sorts after their mother's death (who in her last letter to them lists the places they should visit during their journey). The unfriendly dynamics between the sisters are apparent from before they reach India. Resentment, jealousy, and misunderstandings abound. All three sisters happen to have a big secret that they are keeping from the others and from the narrators...however obvious this secret was the narrative would only allude to it in an attempt to create some sort of mystery (which ultimately failed as it built 0 suspense ). In spite of the tile and front cover (which is lovely) the story delves into serious topics such abortion, sexism, and abuse. The India portrayed by Jaswal is beautiful but dangerous. For instance, although Delhi is a city that bustles with energy and holds many attractions, it is also full of leering men who can quite readily resort to violence. Yet, Jaswal does not let her depiction of India be submerged by darkness and there are instances in which the sisters are assisted and helped by the locals. Sadly, the sisters frustrated me to no end. They thought the same thoughts throughout the majority of their travels (ex: I can't tell them; they don't know how it is; she is careless, she is mean, yadda yadda). Their arguments were tiring and repetitive, which although is realistic, it also made a lot of scenes somewhat redundant as they added little to the characters or their relationships. The sisters were also somewhat stereotypes of certain personalities which never bodes well... The moments of humour were occasionally jarring or forced. For instance, the characters walk into a laser eye surgery instead of an (view spoiler)[ abortion (hide spoiler)] clinic. A lot of the jokes stemmed from misunderstandings which made for many unnecessarily goofy scenes. These oddly contrived moments of humour undermined the serious tone of the story. Some of the characters seemed cartoonish (the evil mother-in-law, the spineless husband, the you-don't-understand 18 year old). And I was vaguely annoyed by the implications that all the sisters are better off by being more 'chilled' (for example being okay that your son is marrying a woman 18 years older than him when he himself has just become a 'legal' adult...). The story had few adventures, and the pacing felt rather slow, lagging especially in the middle part. A lot of the things that happen seemed predictable (and avoidable), and soon I grew tired of the sisters. Still, I might try Jaswal's future works... Read more reviews on my blog

  11. 5 out of 5

    Padmaja

    This book was an adventure in itself. I liked it, but didn't love it. Read on to know why. 🍭 Rajni, Jezmeen and Shirina are three sisters who embark on a pilgrimage to India, because of their mother's last wish, to reconnect and rediscover their roots. Their mother expresses this wish in form of a letter, which also mentions the places they should go and what they should do. The book started off well, with each sister carrying her own baggage of secrets and secretly wishing the trip to end as they This book was an adventure in itself. I liked it, but didn't love it. Read on to know why. 🍭 Rajni, Jezmeen and Shirina are three sisters who embark on a pilgrimage to India, because of their mother's last wish, to reconnect and rediscover their roots. Their mother expresses this wish in form of a letter, which also mentions the places they should go and what they should do. The book started off well, with each sister carrying her own baggage of secrets and secretly wishing the trip to end as they cannot stand each other. The portrayal of their relationships was written sharply. Each sister is dealing with her own problems in her own way and failing badly at it. 🍭 The journey to India set a very interesting mood and premise and I enjoyed reading about the "cultural shocks" the sisters experience and discovering some things which exist everywhere else but are stereotyped to India alone. The three sisters are as different as chalk is to cheese. During the first half, I really wished for them to be honest with each other, but as their relationships with each other were explored during the course of the book, I understood that it is going to take time. The writing was beautiful no doubt, but very different from Erotic stories for Punjabi widows, a book which I loved through and through. 🍭 I found some recurring themes too in both books which are immigrant parents, British Indian kids and superstitions and the kids leading a double life. I also found this book to be more of a social commentary like Erotic stories.. I guess I expected a bit more adventure, but it was a good read, one which can be read once. I don't think I'll read this again. The ending was satisfying, but it felt a little Bollywoody to me 3.5⭐

  12. 5 out of 5

    Charlie

    Not exactly the kind of novel I usually read. So, for what it's worth I had to do a fast read on this one. Fortunately, the story was well written and fairly easy to comprehend. I loaned the book out to a female and she felt the same way. So, a rating of a 4 is justified. I did win this book thru Goodreads.com and thankful for that.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Carmen

    Right before Sita passes away, she writes a final letter to her daughters, Rajni, Jezmeen, and Shirina. The letter contains her final request: take the pilgrimage to India that she was unable to take herself. Her letter includes specific places she wants them to visit and tasks she wants them to complete. Along the way, she hopes that they will learn something about their mother while bonding with one another. Unfortunately, the three sisters are not close and they each view the trip as inconven Right before Sita passes away, she writes a final letter to her daughters, Rajni, Jezmeen, and Shirina. The letter contains her final request: take the pilgrimage to India that she was unable to take herself. Her letter includes specific places she wants them to visit and tasks she wants them to complete. Along the way, she hopes that they will learn something about their mother while bonding with one another. Unfortunately, the three sisters are not close and they each view the trip as inconvenient. Busy dealing with their own personal problems and secrets, Rajni, Jezmeen, and Shirina bump heads and surprise themselves as their pilgrimage progresses. I absolutely loved this book. The characters and their individual stories are so compelling that I never wanted to stop reading. Rajni, Jezmeen, and Shirina have been living their lives completely separate from one another because they don’t get along. Throw them together on a trip while they’re in the middle of personal crises, going on a trip far from home with people they don’t want to be stuck with is just icing on the cake. They each just want to jam through the trip, spread their mom’s ashes in her final resting place, and head back home. I truly enjoyed each character. Told through rotating perspectives, we get to know Rajni, Jezmeen, and Shirina through their viewpoints as well as through each other’s eyes. We also get to see through Sita’s eyes in the prologue and a few flashback chapters. I loved watching the sisters get to know each other and come closer as well as watch them understand and get to know their mother the way they didn’t during her life. One thing that was clear throughout the book is that there was a clash between tradition and modernism threaded through the character’s lives. Rajni and Jezmeen have very clear and strong modern views while Sita and Shirina are very traditional. It was interesting to see the sisters come to terms with this and see how traditional meeting modernism took them in different directions in their lives. I was a bit confused by two of the secrets that Shirina and Rajni held onto for a good portion of the book. I understood why they didn’t share them with each other, but I didn’t understand why it was kept from readers when we were reading from their point of view. It was presented like readers knew what the secrets were. Whenever they thought about these two big secrets, they skirted around what exactly the issues were in their own minds, which became irritating after a while. I felt like skipping ahead just to find out what they were so I could continue in peace but held on until all was revealed. Unfortunately, after finishing the book, I still don’t see why we were kept in the dark for so long. My other complaint is that the switch in narrators was not always clear. The first chapter had me confused for a hot minute every time the narrators changed because there was never a warning. I got used to it and could clearly tell who was narrating, but it was very confusing when narrators changed in the same paragraph and in the same sentence later in the book. I knocked a star off my rating because there should’ve been something to indicate that the narrator was about to change. Otherwise, it was a wonderful book. I truly enjoyed the story. I love intricate stories about siblings, and this hit the spot. As someone who has older generations as well as cousins from my generation who are very traditional in my family, although from a different culture than the Shergill sisters, I enjoyed seeing the happy union as well as the clashes between modern and traditional values throughout the book.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    While on her deathbed, Sita asks her three daughters, Rajni, Jezmeen, and Shirina, to make a pilgrimage to India together in order to honor her memory and scatter her ashes. "There's no greater show of love and faith than traveling a long distance for somebody." The sisters are busy with their own lives and not close, either spiritually or geographically, but still agree to make the trip together. While there, however, their agendas and interests differ, and they disagree about how closely they s While on her deathbed, Sita asks her three daughters, Rajni, Jezmeen, and Shirina, to make a pilgrimage to India together in order to honor her memory and scatter her ashes. "There's no greater show of love and faith than traveling a long distance for somebody." The sisters are busy with their own lives and not close, either spiritually or geographically, but still agree to make the trip together. While there, however, their agendas and interests differ, and they disagree about how closely they should follow their mother's instructions. As you can imagine, personalities clash, disagreements occur, and secrets are revealed. "Being a wife and mother was complicated enough. She didn't want to be a daughter and sister as well." - Rajni Since my mom died almost 1.5 years ago, I connected with so much of this story, and it drew me in from the very first pages. I loved the complexity of the sibling relationships and pictured how a similar trip would play out if taken by my two younger brothers and myself. How would our personalities mesh and/or clash? Would we follow our mom's wishes to the letter, or would we be too distracted by our own wishes and desires? "I cannot command you to spend any more time together, or to cherish each other's presence in your lives. I can only leave you with hope that the lessons of this journey will continue after you return home." - Sita to her daughters in her trip notes Google was definitely my friend while reading this book so I could learn more about the Sikh references, and because I just had to visualize the places they visited. I liked how the author sprinkled some humor throughout the story in order to balance out the heavy subject matter. While reading, I laughed out, teared up several times, and cried twice near the end. This was a very powerful read for me. Location: India I received an advance copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

  15. 4 out of 5

    MRIDULA

    |4.5 stars| Sometimes we come across a book that feels like a journey in itself. This is one such story. By the end of the book, the Shergill sisters felt like people I have always known. They felt real and all the 'adventures' they were a part of, I found myself alongside them. . Rajni, Jezmeen and Shirina, the three sisters who are poles apart by nature and have different kinds of crisis to deal with, are brought together by their mother. Their mother, while lying on her deathbed had one wish- th |4.5 stars| Sometimes we come across a book that feels like a journey in itself. This is one such story. By the end of the book, the Shergill sisters felt like people I have always known. They felt real and all the 'adventures' they were a part of, I found myself alongside them. . Rajni, Jezmeen and Shirina, the three sisters who are poles apart by nature and have different kinds of crisis to deal with, are brought together by their mother. Their mother, while lying on her deathbed had one wish- the three sisters undertake a pilgrimage to India on her behalf and learn about their culture and religion. India, as it turned out, was a land full of surprises. A plan that went out of hand because of impulsive decisions, life crisis and so on. . While I'll leave you to read more about these adventures when you pick this book up, this journey was not just about moving from one place to another but one that left an impact at a spiritual level. 'Jaiswal's' writing highlights the importance of understanding the difference between tradition and modern beliefs among immigrants and what it is to travel in India in search of Spirituality, pilgrimage, and one's true religion. The author expertly uses the vulnerability of the characters, unfamiliar settings, and the bong better sisters to weave this brilliant and evocative adventure. You are in for a treat.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Barb Martin

    The throbbing vegetables that played such an unforgettable role in Balli Kaur Jaswal's "Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows" don't have an encore in her second novel. Instead, we get a moving story about three estranged sisters fulfilling their mother's dying wish by traveling to India for a spiritual awakening and to scatter her ashes. Things don't go as planned. Each of the sisters has a secret. Each carries the emotional baggage of growing up with a harried and superstitious mother after the sud The throbbing vegetables that played such an unforgettable role in Balli Kaur Jaswal's "Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows" don't have an encore in her second novel. Instead, we get a moving story about three estranged sisters fulfilling their mother's dying wish by traveling to India for a spiritual awakening and to scatter her ashes. Things don't go as planned. Each of the sisters has a secret. Each carries the emotional baggage of growing up with a harried and superstitious mother after the sudden death of their father. Each carries the guilt of their mother's dying action. As the story unfolds, we learn more about the sisters' secrets. So do they. This is a sweet story about familial expectations and the dangers of being a woman in India. I liked the story, but I confess that I missed the vegetables a bit.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth A

    Book blurb: The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters is a female take on the Indian travel narrative. "I was curious about how different the trip would be if it were undertaken by women, who are vulnerable to different dangers in a male-dominated society," Balli Kaur Jaswal writes. "I also wanted to explore the tensions between tradition and modernity in immigrant communities, and particularly how those tensions play out among women like these sisters, who are the first generation to be r Book blurb: The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters is a female take on the Indian travel narrative. "I was curious about how different the trip would be if it were undertaken by women, who are vulnerable to different dangers in a male-dominated society," Balli Kaur Jaswal writes. "I also wanted to explore the tensions between tradition and modernity in immigrant communities, and particularly how those tensions play out among women like these sisters, who are the first generation to be raised outside of India. May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, and this was the first book I read for the #AsianReadathon. The book cover is a little too chick-litty for my tastes, but the audiobook was available at my library, so I thought I'd give it a try. Well, color me surprised! This is the story of three sisters, Rajni, Jezmeen, and Shirina, and the pilgrimage they make to India to honor their mother's dying wishes, and to scatter her ashes. The sisters were all brought up in England, but are not close as adults, so you know things are not going to go as planned. As a member of the Indian diaspora who has also visited, lived, and worked in India, I could relate to much of what is covered here. Some of themes explored in this one include family and love, sacrifice and secrets, being an immigrant and part of a diaspora, home and career, traditions and freedom, gender politics and patriarchy. I appreciated that we got the POVs of all four women, and that their relationships were complicated with no easy answers. There are a couple of mysteries rolled in, though I figured out what they were fairly early on. I was angry and sad and teary in parts, and was rooting for these sisters the entire time. The reason this did not get a higher rating were the chick-litty parts and the ridiculous coincidences, and I can't really go into those without spoilers. I listened to the audiobook which was wonderfully narrated by Soneela Nankani and Deepti Gupta. I found this a compelling road trip tale a twist, and am so glad I looked past that cover to the contents inside.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Carol (Reading Ladies)

    To honor their mother’s dying wish, three Punjabi sisters travel to India on a pilgrimage to visit sacred places that are special to Mom and to scatter her ashes. Told from the three perspectives of three very different sisters, The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters explores sibling relationships, modern vs traditional roles of women, secrets, and the importance of family. My first reaction after turning the last page was “I really like this story!” Even before I begin an analysis, the To honor their mother’s dying wish, three Punjabi sisters travel to India on a pilgrimage to visit sacred places that are special to Mom and to scatter her ashes. Told from the three perspectives of three very different sisters, The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters explores sibling relationships, modern vs traditional roles of women, secrets, and the importance of family. My first reaction after turning the last page was “I really like this story!” Even before I begin an analysis, the positive feeling I have at the story’s end leads me to consider this a four-star read. I loved that the Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters is about three estranged sisters. I’m one of three sisters and I kept thinking about my sisters and I taking a trip like this (although we are not estranged!). As with many families, the sisters in this story live life from three vastly different perspectives. The oldest is married and soon to be a grandmother, a school principal, a take-charge type of person, a rule follower, authoritative, and well organized; the middle sister is single, a free spirit, impulsive, a risk-taker, and a struggling actress; the youngest is in an arranged marriage, soft-spoken, polite, a people pleaser, a peacemaker, and is keeping a big secret. As the story progresses, they begin to open up to each other, attempt to rebuild their relationships, try to understand and trust each other, and ultimately learn that they will have each other’s backs. I loved the realistic portrayal of the sisters and their complicated relationships, their differences, and their zany adventures. By the story’s end, I considered them friends. A strength of the writing is the vivid descriptions of setting and culture. I felt like I was on the trip with the sisters. I think readers who have an Indian heritage or who have lived or traveled in India will make close connections with the story. Thoughtful themes include sibling friendship, family, love, adventure, secrets, forgiveness, healing, gender inequality, understanding the past, and finding your voice. Overall, I loved this engaging, poignant, humorous, and heartwarming story! Recommended for readers looking for a lighter, entertaining read without sacrificing thoughtful themes, for fans of Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows, for those who appreciate diverse reads about Indian culture from an “own voices” author, and for book clubs looking for books with a variety of discussable topics. I’m categorizing The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters as “UpLit” …. a feel-good story. Trigger warnings: a considered abortion, domineering husband/family For more reviews visit my blog www.readingladies.com

  19. 5 out of 5

    eyes.2c

    Luminous! A journey undertaken by the British Punjabi sisters Rajni, Jezmeen, and Shirnia to scatter their mothers ashes in India becomes a pilgrimage towards love, understanding and acceptance, and a reworking of the bond that threads sisters together. Three Sikh sisters reunite to meet their mother last request and in doing so uncover so much more. A stunning story of family, that also uncovers practices and prevalent attitudes towards women, touching on inheritance, the bias against female babie Luminous! A journey undertaken by the British Punjabi sisters Rajni, Jezmeen, and Shirnia to scatter their mothers ashes in India becomes a pilgrimage towards love, understanding and acceptance, and a reworking of the bond that threads sisters together. Three Sikh sisters reunite to meet their mother last request and in doing so uncover so much more. A stunning story of family, that also uncovers practices and prevalent attitudes towards women, touching on inheritance, the bias against female babies, along with tenets of faith and devotion, and the tension these attributes bring for the more modern woman. Jezmeen, the actress who seems to go on free-for-all binges and rants that have her worst moments captured on YouTube. Rajni, the eldest sister who is responsible, uptight and disapproving. Shirnia, who hides a secret that will be exposed, and in that exposure finds the support and acceptance she so desperately craves. As the journey continues, the sisters' relationship become more transparent and some of the past becomes clear. I loved these sisters' interactions, the exposure of their fears and desires, their past hurts and their growing together. I laughed and I cried for the complexities and the many misunderstandings, countered by moments of joy and empathy, as their pilgrimage became a homage to their mother's wisdom and their return to each other. Wonderful! A Harper Collins ARC via NetGalley

  20. 5 out of 5

    Simran Sharma (Craartology)

    Balli Kaur Jaswal's latest book is about three sisters Rajni, Jezmeen and Shirina. The Shergill sisters don't get along well and are on a pilgrimage to fulfill their deceased mother's last wishes. Their pilgrimage to India is nothing less than a rollercoaster ride as each sister battles with her inner demons while trying to get along and make the trip happen the way it's planned. The reader travels to Delhi, Amritsar, Chandigarh along with London and glimpses of Melbourne with the real, flawed a Balli Kaur Jaswal's latest book is about three sisters Rajni, Jezmeen and Shirina. The Shergill sisters don't get along well and are on a pilgrimage to fulfill their deceased mother's last wishes. Their pilgrimage to India is nothing less than a rollercoaster ride as each sister battles with her inner demons while trying to get along and make the trip happen the way it's planned. The reader travels to Delhi, Amritsar, Chandigarh along with London and glimpses of Melbourne with the real, flawed and bold characters. Conservative Indian culture, women's safety in India, adjustments in a relationship, superstition and family feud which cost a great deal of happiness are written with the great ease. They make the reader laugh, feel sad, empathize and ponder over what people make out of their lives when pressurized with such unfortunate factors and their choice of decision and the responsibility that trails. Nothing but sheer joy and love pour from the heart when the sisters walk the path together for each other and for the better. This book is highly recommended for it's simplicity and honest characters coated with the author's wit and humourous writing style. Don't miss it for anything else. Must read.5⭐

  21. 5 out of 5

    Mansi Mudgal

    I loved the author’s Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows, so when this one came out and I heard the great reviews everywhere it got me all excited. The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sister is a story of three sisters who aren’t on good terms with each other but to fulfill their mother’s dying wish return to India. The book started off great, the three sisters share a difficult relationship with their mother and amongst themselves. The Mother’s subsequent passing and the journey to India sets a I loved the author’s Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows, so when this one came out and I heard the great reviews everywhere it got me all excited. The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sister is a story of three sisters who aren’t on good terms with each other but to fulfill their mother’s dying wish return to India. The book started off great, the three sisters share a difficult relationship with their mother and amongst themselves. The Mother’s subsequent passing and the journey to India sets a very interesting tone to the story; the problem I faced was the constant disagreements and bickering between the three, which though realistic considering their dynamic got repetitive and annoying. It also didn’t help when I could guess the ‘suspenseful part’ of the story pretty soon down the line. I also a little uncomfortable with how India was portrayed; the characters came to India and “discovered” male gaze, patriarchy, pollution etc. which are real issues but they way the story dealt with them made it seem to be a bit of a checklist “things people talk about when they come to India and forget as soon as they go back” cause all this talk didn’t add anything to the story or character development for me. I’d ask you to give this one a try as it seemed to have worked for a lot of people, but the Shergill Sisters seems to have left me wanting with it’s lack of character development and an unrealistic ending. I don’t know if it’s the book or if I am not the intended reader but this one

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jason Lundberg

    I’m naturally biased towards liking this novel — Balli is a good friend, and I’m the editor of her Singaporean titles — but even so, I *loved* it. The relationship between these three sisters felt so real, and their voyage through India as part of their mother’s deathbed request was so evocative of the beautiful chaos of that country that it was like I was there with them. Balli just keeps getting better and better with each book. Wonderful.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    I really loved the author's last book, Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows, and was really looking forward to this one. This is a family drama, with comedic moments throughout, tackling some pretty heavy topics. While I did enjoy, my biggest gripe is that I feel the title is a bit misleading. The mention of adventure when compared to books with a similar title suggests, to me, comedic mishaps and quirky characters. In reality, this was a lot darker. I've always hated reviews that state someone did I really loved the author's last book, Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows, and was really looking forward to this one. This is a family drama, with comedic moments throughout, tackling some pretty heavy topics. While I did enjoy, my biggest gripe is that I feel the title is a bit misleading. The mention of adventure when compared to books with a similar title suggests, to me, comedic mishaps and quirky characters. In reality, this was a lot darker. I've always hated reviews that state someone didn't love a book because it wasn't what they were expecting but I guess I'm guilty here. Overall, I did come to care for the characters and their personal journeys, despite my feeling that the wrap-up was a little rushed and the suspense element a little heavy-handed, but just wasn't ready for some of the content discussed and probably would not have picked up now had I known. TW: abuse, death of loved one, femicide, pregnancy loss, and sexual harassment.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sabreena - Books and Prosecco

    Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Disclaimer: The amazing humans at HarperCollins Canada were kind enough to send me an arc of The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions below are my own. “There’s no greater show of love and faith than traveling a long distance for somebody.” I adored this book so much! It was so clearly written for Indian women, and the cultural details that Jaswal added in, made my little brown butt so happy! This story starts with hea Stars: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Disclaimer: The amazing humans at HarperCollins Canada were kind enough to send me an arc of The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions below are my own. “There’s no greater show of love and faith than traveling a long distance for somebody.” I adored this book so much! It was so clearly written for Indian women, and the cultural details that Jaswal added in, made my little brown butt so happy! This story starts with heartbreak with the death of Sita Kaur Shergill, aka the mother of our three main characters. Her passing is the catalyst for the story, as it is her dying wish that her daughters travel to India to complete a pilgrimage and spread her ashes at Lokpal Lake where a famous Sikh temple is located. Rajni, Jezmeen and Shirina leave their homes in England and Melbourne and travel to India in the midst of their own personal issues. The three sisters don’t always get along, and the close quarters while traveling make for interesting interactions and intense reveals. “…in the Sikh religion, we believe in serving food to anybody who comes to the temple, regardless of their creed, gender, or income… They don’t have to worship here. They don’t have to offer any services, or money.” As a Punjabi woman living in Canada, I completed related to the Shergills’ reactions to visiting India for the first time. The feeling of not fitting in, in a place that you are supposedly “from”, the missing connection between “home” and the “homeland”. Jaswal brilliantly portrays the feeling of wanting to feel connected to a world and culture that you also feel distant from. The story has some interesting twists that I did not see coming, but that many people will be able to relate to. Shirina’s story is absolutely heartbreaking, but sadly, is far too common. It is something the Indian community needs to change. We need to be better. Jezmeen’s story is insanely relatable, and I know the frightening feeling of not being enough is something so many people feel, myself included. We get to see a little of Rajni when she is younger, and I think many young, Indian girls feel the way she does, especially those who live outside of India. The struggles she faces, everything from racism and wanting desperately to fit in to not connecting with her culture, are so relatable to young girls all over the world. Her story when she is older is rather entertaining, but I expect it is something many mothers/parents could relate to. “…a sunrise is something that you shouldn’t take for granted… stand still and watch a new day beginning. Think of all the new days you have left, and reflect on how you will choose to spend them.” Jaswal’s writing style is extremely engaging, and if I wasn’t interrupted by a family dinner, I would have finished the book in one sitting. The story is written so you need to know what happens next, you need to read one more page, one more chapter. There are some amazing themes that deal with family, siblings, “tradition”, pursuing your passion, emotional abuse, and even rape culture. I haven’t read Jaswal’s other book, Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows, but I already own it and plan to pick it up soon! The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters releases on April 30, 2019, and I highly recommend you grab it as soon as it’s out! Thanks again to HarperCollins Canada for sending me a copy of this book to read and review! Note: All quotes above were taken from an advance reader’s edition of the book, and are subject to change in the final release.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Blodeuedd Finland

    Always when I read something about travel in India it is always so exotic, filled with foods and no dangers at all. But this other shows the side that I always read about in the news. The latest story I read about this child was so horrifying that I wanted to cry. The sisters are told to dress modestly, not to walk alone and still they all fear at times. Men in groups, leering, brushing up against them. It is that dark side of India, and they do come across a women's movement too. They try to fig Always when I read something about travel in India it is always so exotic, filled with foods and no dangers at all. But this other shows the side that I always read about in the news. The latest story I read about this child was so horrifying that I wanted to cry. The sisters are told to dress modestly, not to walk alone and still they all fear at times. Men in groups, leering, brushing up against them. It is that dark side of India, and they do come across a women's movement too. They try to fight back, even if the odds are against them. And it is certainly a story that needs to be told too. But let us start at the beginning. With 3 sisters, Raj, Jez and Shirnia whose mother pass away and before that she tells them to go on a pilgrimage. To visit holy sites and to get to know each other again. Raj the oldest is 43 and her son has found a girlfriend only a few years younger than Raj. She is the mother hen who is strict Jez is a struggling actress with a scandal brewing. She is the wild one Shirnia, the one who went into an arranged marriage and moved across the world. She is the diplomat. I liked these sisters. They certainly had their issues, they did not really want to be here, but they come together in the end and become stronger than ever before. This book touch on another subject too. Daughters. And I learned something new, I mean I knew that abortions are high and who wants a girl. But that even rich people do it was horrifying, I just wanted to scream why? Why are girls so bad? It really made me sad. It is a road trip. It is family drama. And it was a really good story to listen to. I enjoyed it a lot. I should check out that previous book by her too. Narrator I really liked her voice and her different voices for the sisters. You could always hear who was who with everyone who showed up. She was perfect.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

    Book club selection for July 2019. Not a bad read, but I didn't love it. I got a bit tired of the sisters' bickering, though I understand it was necessary in order for the ending to be satisfying. The author drags out the mystery of the oldest sister's previous trip to India with the mom WAY too long. I also thought it was odd how basically unappealing the author makes India - while her descriptions are vivid, so is the sense that India is dirty, dangerous, and anywhere you want to go is overcro Book club selection for July 2019. Not a bad read, but I didn't love it. I got a bit tired of the sisters' bickering, though I understand it was necessary in order for the ending to be satisfying. The author drags out the mystery of the oldest sister's previous trip to India with the mom WAY too long. I also thought it was odd how basically unappealing the author makes India - while her descriptions are vivid, so is the sense that India is dirty, dangerous, and anywhere you want to go is overcrowded. I wouldn't rush to read other titles by this author.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Gigi H

    Balli Kaur Jaswal is such a talented storyteller and has managed to write yet another captivating and memorable story. One that is deeply rooted in traditions, culture and sisterhood. If you enjoyed Erotic Stories For Punjabi Widows, you will definitely enjoy this one and I highly recommend adding it to your TBR. 🙂

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kris - My Novelesque Life

    RATING: 4 STARS 2019; William Morrow/HarperCollins Canada When Balli Kaur Jaswal's breakout hit Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows was being read by anyone, I sniffed at it. I am not good at hyped popular books. I almost go in challenging the book by having high expectations. Sometimes I know it is better to just not read it till the hype dies down. I then saw that Jaswal had a new novel out and I could not help myself and requested it. I put it off for a month and then decided to dive in and see w RATING: 4 STARS 2019; William Morrow/HarperCollins Canada When Balli Kaur Jaswal's breakout hit Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows was being read by anyone, I sniffed at it. I am not good at hyped popular books. I almost go in challenging the book by having high expectations. Sometimes I know it is better to just not read it till the hype dies down. I then saw that Jaswal had a new novel out and I could not help myself and requested it. I put it off for a month and then decided to dive in and see what happens. Another reason I was hesitant in reading Jaswal's books is that they are considered "Indian". Most "Indian" books are written by Indians born and mostly raised in India or by non-Indians. Being Punjabi/Sikh, I tend not see characters like me in books. They are either Hindus or Muslim or the are Punjabi but from India. I was born and raised in a Western Culture (Canada). My step-grandfather came here in the 1920s and assimilation was the only way to survive. His children were born and raised here with them not even knowing the language or culture of their parents. My dad came to here when he was a kid, and lost his accent as well as his language (which he is now getting back). My mom and maternal grandmother were my main Indian influences, but I saw it as a faraway thing. I've been to India, I can read and write like a child in Punjabi, I can speak it with slang and can cook Indian food, but it's not my first language or culture. I grew up being one of the only brown kids in school, so most of friends and boyfriends have been non-Indian. I think in English but sometimes my Punjabi comes out something fierce. I am proud to be Indian, but I just don't see much about it - or at least what people expect me to know. I give that background because when I read this book, I felt like I had characters I could relate to. One of the reasons I love the TV show "The Mindy Project" is because I see myself in that character and it is great when you feel like you are being represented in pop culture. In this book, the women are British and around my age. I can see myself in each one. Rajini wanting order in her life and have things go the way they are supposed to is something I cling to, although often don't achieve. I also feel for Shirini as she feels trapped even when she tries to do the right thing and make her mother proud. It is Jezmeen, I feel a kindred spirit to, as I feel the need to rebel and live my own way. Jaswal does an amazing job in demonstrating the suffocation of expectations. Being the generation that is both Western,but still keeping your Punjabi roots, often there is this need to juggle and act. By that I mean there can sometimes feel like there is two of you and depending on the situation you have to be that person. In keeping the balance of who you are, you toggle between those roles. Jaswal uses the Shergill sisters as a group and individually to show that pull. When their mother passes away asking them to fulfill one last wish of the sisters traveling together to India to visit the Golden Temple in Amritsar, they scoff but pack their bags. Each sister is going through an issue where this trips comes in time for them to escape. As they are forced to get to know each other again they bring back memories of their childhood and the expectations they had being Sikh girls. This story is perfectly balanced with drama and humour (and often the humour coming form the drama). I listened to this one on audio, and it really highlighted the conversations in the book. They felt realistic and like any conversation I have had with my own cousins. We have each felt the over all expectations but felt the pressures differently. Each generation has to rebel against something new, Rajini's son can marry who he would like, but he chooses an older white woman who is having their baby out of wedlock. Shireen who can choose who she would like to marry returns to her roots of arranged marriage but using it through a "newer" form of online dating. I had an absolute blast reading this book as I felt every emotion and really wished it would not end! I would recommend this book to any reader, but especially to other Punjabi girls. I think this novel is a great step in being another representation of what is a brown girl. Sorry if my review went into babbling territory! **UPDATEI forgot to mention that when the narrator says Punjabi words she says them like a stranger to the language would, or with a non-Indian accent to it. Hard to describe but when she would say it that way it interrupted me from the story.** ***I received an eARC from EDELWEISS*** My Novelesque Blog

  29. 5 out of 5

    Stacy

    The title indicates a light-hearted romp with sisters, while the sisters part is accurate the story itself is a bit more dark than originally expected. Not super dark mind you, but definitely more serious. Three estranged sisters are heading to India to dispose of their mother's remains. It was her last wish that they take a very specific trip in an effort for them to get back in touch with their roots and to reconnect with each other. Through the course of the book they work through their issue The title indicates a light-hearted romp with sisters, while the sisters part is accurate the story itself is a bit more dark than originally expected. Not super dark mind you, but definitely more serious. Three estranged sisters are heading to India to dispose of their mother's remains. It was her last wish that they take a very specific trip in an effort for them to get back in touch with their roots and to reconnect with each other. Through the course of the book they work through their issues while confronting the past.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Athena

    4.5/5 When I heard that Balli Kaur Jaswal was coming out with a new book, I almost lost my mind. Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows quickly became one of my favorite books of all time. I recommend it to almost everybody and I'm 90% certain that bonding over that book with an interviewer is what got me my new job. I digress. Hopes were high for her new book and I was NOT disappointed. When Sita Shergill dies, her three daughters are given a letter, detailing a pilgrimage they must take through Ind 4.5/5 When I heard that Balli Kaur Jaswal was coming out with a new book, I almost lost my mind. Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows quickly became one of my favorite books of all time. I recommend it to almost everybody and I'm 90% certain that bonding over that book with an interviewer is what got me my new job. I digress. Hopes were high for her new book and I was NOT disappointed. When Sita Shergill dies, her three daughters are given a letter, detailing a pilgrimage they must take through India. Rajni, Jezmeen, and Shirina spent the last moments of their mother's life arguing, and the trip seems doomed from the start. Each sister carries a secret and each sister can't bear to share their burdens. Rajni is suffering a huge upset at home, Jezmeen's career is overwhlemed by scandal, and Shirina is crushed by the expectations of her in-laws. The three sisters can't shake their old opinions of the others, and a new irritation arises with every passing moment. The journey the Shergill sisters take is, well... unexpected. Their mother left them an 8-day itinerary, but almost nothing goes as planned. Everything they hoped to leave behind at home follows them to India, and while it upsets their mother's plans, it brings the three of them closer than ever anticipated. The sisters are equally fleshed out and complex. They all share their stories at their own pace, but there is never a sense that one sister is overshadowing the other. Much like Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows, there is social commentary woven into the novel without coming across as overly preachy. Each loose end is tied up neatly, and the final pages left me in happy tears. If you loved Jaswal's other works, I recommend this one wholeheartedly.

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