Reese Witherspoon's Book Club Pick
A lively, sexy, and thought-provoking East-meets-West story about community, friendship, and women's lives at all ages--a spicy and alluring mix of Together Tea and Calendar Girls.
Every woman has a secret life . . .
Nikki lives in cosmopolitan West London, where she tends bar at the local pub. The daughter of Indian immigrants, she's spent most of her twenty-odd years distancing herself from the traditional Sikh community of her childhood, preferring a more independent (that is, Western) life. When her father's death leaves the family financially strapped, Nikki, a law school dropout, impulsively takes a job teaching a creative writing course at the community center in the beating heart of London's close-knit Punjabi community.
Because of a miscommunication, the proper Sikh widows who show up are expecting to learn basic English literacy, not the art of short-story writing. When one of the widows finds a book of sexy stories in English and shares it with the class, Nikki realizes that beneath their white dupattas, her students have a wealth of fantasies and memories. Eager to liberate these modest women, she teaches them how to express their untold stories, unleashing creativity of the most unexpected--and exciting--kind.
As more women are drawn to the class, Nikki warns her students to keep their work secret from the Brotherhood, a group of highly conservative young men who have appointed themselves the community's moral police. But when the widows' gossip offers shocking insights into the death of a young wife--a modern woman like Nikki--and some of the class erotica is shared among friends, it sparks a scandal that threatens them all.
"I loved this novel--it's so big-hearted and earthy and funny. Best of all, it turns many preconceptions upside down, and opens up a world that so many of us have only glimpsed. A rattlingly good story."--Deborah Moggach, author of THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL
"Jaswal tackles serious themes (arranged vs forced marriage, traditional vs modern culture) with a light and funny touvh. A page-turner your commute will thank you for."--Glamour Magazine
"By turns erotic, romantic, and mysterious, this novel of women defying patriarchial strictures enchants."--Kirkus Reviews
"A page-turner your commute will thank you for. Tackles serious themes with a light and funny touch."--Glamour (UK)
"Warm and hilariously funny."--Good Housekeeping (UK)
"Heady stuff ... a funny and moving tale of desire and its discontents."--The Economist
"Charming ... This is a sparkling read."--Publishers Weekly