The Storyteller’s Secret by Sejal Badani (393 pages)

An Amazon Charts, USA Today, and Washington Post Bestseller
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The Storyteller’s Secret by Sejal Badani (393 pages)

“The Storyteller’s Secret” Introduces One to India

A successful work of fiction is one that introduces me to new concepts, ideals, or cultures that inspire me to dig deeper and explore the facts behind the fiction. The Storyteller’s Secret by Sejal Badani did precisely that. It has me reaching for reference books and maps of India along with explanatory texts relating to the Hindu religion to gain more insight.  

The primary character, Jaya, a New York journalist, travels to India, her family home. Eager to escape a broken marriage and the sadness of losing three babies through miscarriage, she goes to India as her grandfather lays on his deathbed. Eager to explore the family she never knew and connect with the place where her mother was brought up, she delves into the past. Guided by a family confidante named Ravi, she learns about the unconventional life of her maternal grandmother; uncovering some well-hidden secrets along the way.

India’s Culture And Caste System

Parts of the story don’t ring true based on what I know about India’s culture and caste system. It is difficult to believe that any personal relationship between Amisha, Jaya’s grandmother and Stephen, a Lieutenant in the British Army with whom she had an intimate relationship would have been allowed to develop. Furthermore, the employment of Ravi, labelled an “untouchable” due to his low-caste Hindu status and considered a pollutant to those of higher caste, would not have been accepted on any level as adherence to family and cultural values were of the utmost importance. 

The Bottom Line: 5/5 Brookie Stars

I can understand that purists may not be able to see beyond these elements and may not enjoy the book for these reasons alone. However, it is a work of fiction, and I found it extremely engaging. It reignited my desire to travel to India and see for myself this magical place that I now plan to visit in 2020. 

If you enjoyed The Storyteller’s Secret, then we recommend checking out The Story Hour: A Novel by Thrity Umrigar or Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese, both of which are available today in our online store! Head over to our Brookstore to see our entire selection.

Jacqui Hodges

With 30 years of general management experience in the global insurance industry and having lived in 4 countries, Jacqui now spends her time between London and New York where she continues to pursue her passion for writing, food, books and travel.

A Reiki practitioner, yogi and huge animal advocate, her home isn’t complete without a furbaby or three. In addition to being a BooknBrunch contributor, she writes for  industry publications.

Favourite book: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
Favourite brunch dish: avocado toast with tomato and chilli


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