This is the story of a South Indian woman who has lived in a small town all her life and marries a doctor who is settled in the States but was brought up in the same small town. It walks through her journey of getting used to her new life and new situation, of discovering a new country and a new husband, and of finding out that her husband has had an American girlfriend for a long time and got into the arranged marriage mainly because his old and dying grandfather wanted to see him married to a nice Indian girl.
As the story moves on with the process of the newlyweds discovering things about each other's personalities and actually growing to like each other, it shows the immense strength of the woman's character. It is a strength that I believe a lot of women have and can harness when the need arises, and I have seen it help them get through the toughest situations.
The plot of the book does seem reminiscent of a Bollywood movie at times, but the book is well written and gives a lot of attention to the character development and thought process, which adds to its literary merit. A review on the book jacket compares Anne Cherian to Jane Austen, which, I thought, was, in some ways, very appropriate. The defining quality that I found in Austen's stories is that there was never anything extraordinary in the plot, but the narration and the way the author played with her words made the book worth reading. Anne Cherian does the same thing pretty well, though probably not quite as well as Jane Austen. Even so, this one was a worthwhile read.