Title: Asha’s Stone
Author: Riley Marie
Review: The introduction of Asha’s stone was beautiful, the author had obviously put a lot of research into the Indian caste system and what life was like for women and young girl born into low castes. Asha’s description was brilliant as well you can picture the bright, almost glowing girl on the cusp of womanhood fighting to break free of the chains society had placed her in. We feel both her pain and anger at her life, but even in the darkest moments there were sparks of light for Asha.
As the book moves from ten years now Asha is a young woman, and keeping many secrets. The biggest one being she wrote a book from which she earned some money but had to lie in order to get it published. Her father’s traditional views that a woman’s place was at home to be a dutiful wife and mother and was to be nothing more than her husband’s property. Asha knows she will never follow this life and desires to be free of her father’s and her society’s oppression. While visiting her former teacher and the woman who claimed Asha’s book as her own to protect her profits she encountered Charu a strange young man who is drawn to Asha and she is drawn to him for some unknown reason. Asha is also troubled by what an old beggar man had said to her about following what the stone tells her heart. This stone is a smoky quartz stone her best friend Wali has given to her ten years previously.
I looked how vivid the descriptions are in this book. The descriptions of Asha’s village and the city make you believe that if you close your eyes you will be able to see it. My favorite description by far is the way the author depicts Asha’s sari as she walks through the city. It is absolutely stunning, the wording is so carefully chosen and it just creates an image of an Indian princess, floating gracefully through the heaving crowds enticing by all the dust and filth around her. Asha is faced with many pressures, especially from her parents about marriage. For some time she has been aware of Wali’s feeling for her and rebuffed them kindly as she had her own views on marriage. But after meeting Charu and his gentle courtship, she begins to change her mind. Asha sees Charu as much like herself with his own ideals that differ from the traditional ideals, she also sees he allows himself to appear vulnerable, but only to her and eventually she agrees to be his wife even after a decade of refusing to marry.
Asha after a conversation with Wali ponders on what “love” truly is and whether her soon to be husband will be willing to make the same sacrifices as she will. Asha and Wali’s relationship also breaks down a little when she declares she is marrying Charu and returns the stone he gave her all those years ago, it sort of signifies that they will never be anything more than friends and it kind of breaks Wali’s heart to comply with what Asha thinks she wants. As the wedding date draws every closer Asha questions her decision more and more as she realizes Charu was a man used to getting his own and so was she and they often butted heads, especially about her pursuing her literary interests. She begins to doubt her own abilities and decisions in ways she never has before and begins to question whether she truly loves the man she is going to abandon her dreams for.
As Charu reveals his true nature it seems as if Asha’s spirit has finally been broken and she will be the obedient wife society demands her to be but learning what we have of Asha throughout the book I feel she will have a plan B hidden away somewhere, a plan for escape. Asha finally manages to escape her life and starts a new one when circumstance forces her to return home to make sure her parents are ok, and for the first time in the whole book she actually talks to her father. As Asha rights the wrongs of her past, she finally begins to move towards being truly happy. Asha and Wali finally get together and he, unlike Charu encourages to follow her dreams and be happy. But once again Charu forces his way back into her life with more disastrous consequences, but we take some pride in the fact that it was finally Charu’s turn to suffer and be humiliated in prison but the price for the small slither of satisfaction was Asha’s father dying.
The ending of this novel was as equally beautiful as the rest of it. As once more in the family’s darkest hour under her father’s burning funeral pyre, Asha sees a spark of hope in Wali and the life she will have with him. I loved this novel and read it in under an hour and I highly urge everyone to go and read it right now.
This book was sent to me for review consideration by the author
This book isn’t on sale until December 1st 2016 but you can use the links to pre-order the book.
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