Love's Garden (Paperback)
Aubade Publishing, 9781951547080, 256pp.
Publication Date: October 27, 2020
It is 1898. India is ruled by the British, and India's women are ruled by British masters as well as Indian men. A desperate young widow sacrifices her firstborn child to save herself from ultimate dishonor. She marries a stranger, but her damaged second family pays dearly for this Faustian bargain. Then, an extraordinary atonement and strange liaisons in politics and love -- spanning the two world wars and the Indian independence movement -- help her descendants heal from this traumatic private history. Love's Garden demonstrates the strength, resilience, and unbreakable spirit of mothers and daughters navigating layers of oppression, all while the sun is not-so-peacefully setting on British India.
About the Author
Nandini Bhattacharya was born and raised in India and has called the United States her second continent for the last thirty years. Wherever she has lived, she has generally turned to books for answers to life’s big and small questions. Her short stories have been published in Meat for Tea: the Valley Review, Storyscape Journal, Raising Mothers, The Bacon Review, The Bangalore Review, OyeDrum, and Ozone Park Journal. She has attended the Bread Loaf Writers’ Workshop and held residencies at the Vermont Studio Center, VONA, and Craigardan Writers Residency (forthcoming). She was first runner-up for the Los Angeles Review Flash Fiction contest (2017-2018), a finalist for the Fourth River Folio Contest for Prose Prize (2018), long-listed for the Disquiet International Literary Prize (2019 and 2020), and a finalist for the Reynolds-Price International Women’s Literary Award (2019). Love’s Garden is her first novel. She is currently working on a second novel about love, racism, xenophobia and other mysteries, titled Homeland Blues. She lives outside Houston with her family and two marmalade cats.
You can read more about her work and interests on her website https://www.nandinibhattacharyawrites.com
And her blog
Praise For Love's Garden…
Rated 5 out of 5Laura Catherine Brown — author of “Made by Mary”
Wonderfully dense and wise, with a narrative sweep recalling the work of Dickens, Love’s Garden conveys both characters and ideas with impassioned intelligence. The garden of the title is India, gorgeously portrayed in all its complexity through the personal travails and occasional triumphs of one fragmented family centered on Prem, who struggles to hold her fragile clan together. Bhattacharya’s love for her subjects and for India shines through in her lyrical prose, creating a compelling saga of broken people navigating through a broken world, its brokenness illuminated by beauty and heart, and by the courageous human individuals trying to survive.
Rated 5 out of 5Sybil Baker — author of “While You Were Gone”
A gripping historical novel set in India in the first half of the twentieth century, Love’s Garden is about a young mother’s deal with the devil that sets in motion extraordinary sacrifices, atonements, and twists of fate in three generations of “mothers,” during a time when women struggled to have a say in their lives and that of their children. The novel astutely examines what women will do to protect those they love, and how they survive after devastating loss.
Rated 5 out of 5Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni — author of “The Forest of Enchantments” and “Before We Visit the Goddess”
Love’s Garden is a fascinating and well-crafted journey into India’s complex past with characters that will entice you, fill you with indignation, and sometimes break your heart. I particularly enjoyed the stories of the women, who are complicated, brave, headstrong, and impetuous—in other words, deeply human.
Rated 5 out of 5Indira Ganesan — author of “The Journey” and “Inheritance”
From the first chapter of Nandini Bhattacharya’s novel, one recognizes the urgent, unflinching voice of an author who lays bare the political and cultural barriers towards choice faced by women in Ango-Indian society as the subcontinent struggles with the weight of imperialism at the turn of the 20th Century. We follow the lives of women sobered by the limits class, money, and color play as they navigate their world as best they can.
Rated 5 out of 5Danielle Rae Bryant
In Love’s Garden, Nandini Bhattacharya weaves a lush and beautiful and complicated landscape, a “not-good-enough love.” The prose is lyrical and smart. The lens, critical and human.