Book Review :: ‘An Autograph For Anjali’ by Sundari Venkatraman

Note: This review is part of ‘The Book Club’ blog tours.

Genre: Romance/ Suspense
Jayant Mathur is found murdered in his bed, shot at point-blank range with his own revolver. Though she’s extremely disturbed by his death, Jayant’s wife Anjali is way more upset about something else. Who stands to gain by killing the multi-millionaire businessman?

Parth Bhardwaj is a friend and neighbour of the Mathurs. Parth is an author who goes by a pseudonym. He appears more than a friend to Anjali; while he’s also on good terms with her son Arjun who lives and studies in the UK. What role does he play in Anjali’s life? Jayant’s relatives are curious to know.

Jayant’s brother-in-law Rana is convinced that Parth and Anjali are the murderers. But Inspector Phadke has his own doubts about this theory. In comes Samrat, the private detective who appears as quiet as a mouse. Will he be able to find the murderer?

Will Anjali find happiness and peace?

My Review:
The new offering from the romance author Sundari Venkatraman’s desk goes a little into the ‘suspense’ category with the murder of a character in the opening chapter. Though it creates intrigue and thrill, it is more of a romance; my favorite genre. 

I have read most of Sundari’s books and unlike others this one deals with romance in the second innings of the protagonist’s life. The story forces us to think about patriarchal attitude of our society towards homemakers and encourages to break free of the imaginary chains.

The industrialist Jayant Mathur is murdered in his bed with his own gun. No fingerprints or clues are left behind. Anjali, his wife, doesn’t shed a single tear and sits stoically waiting for their nineteen year old son to arrive. Meanwhile her friend Parth Bharadwaj handles the police, media and relatives. Police and relatives suspect Anjali and Parth. The story goes into flashback from here onwards.

Anjali is searching for her identity after her teenage son goes abroad for higher studies. She completely breaks down when her husband openly flaunts his affairs. During this period she meets Parth and her life begins to come on track. The romance between the two sizzles with the right chemistry. Very few stories explore the love and passion between forty+ protagonists, so AAFA comes as a refreshing tale.

Anjali’s characterization is near perfect as a wife of a rich businessman and one who suffers due to empty nest syndrome. I loved Parth’s don’t-give-a-damn attitude too. He is a true hero who holds Anjali’s hand and brings out the best in her. Arjun is a little unbelievable for a nineteen year old with respect to the maturity he had shown and easy acceptance of her mother’s relationship with Parth. But I accept him as an exception.

The murder suspense is secondary to the romance, and as the story elements are revealed the readers can easily guess the perpetrator of the crime. We also meet another of Sundari’s character from her novel ‘The Runaway Bridegroom’, the investigator Samrat. It is always very reassuring to read about a known character.

All in all ‘An Autograph For Anjali’ is a nice, breezy read and makes you think about fighting for one’s rights.

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In 2014, Sundari self-published The Malhotra Bride (2nd Edition); Meghna; The Runaway Bridegroom; Flaming Sun Collection 1: Happily Ever Afters From India (Box Set) and Matches Made In Heaven (a collection of romantic short stories).

2015 brought yet another opportunity. Readomania came forward to traditionally publish this book – The Madras Affair – a mature romance set in Madras.

An Autograph for Anjali, a romance with a touch of suspense, is also a self-published novel. Going a step further, the author has published the paperback version through Notion Press.
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