Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Book Review: Jana Bibi's Excellent Fortunes by Betsy Woodman

On the jacket:

Meet Jana Bibi, a Scottish woman helping to save the small town in India she has grown to call home and the oddball characters she considers family

Janet Laird's life changed the day she inherited her grandfather's house in a faraway Indian hill station. Ignoring her son's arguments to come grow old in their family castle in Scotland, she moves with her chatty parrot, Mr. Ganguly and her loyal housekeeper, Mary, to Hamara Nagar, where local merchants are philosophers, the chief of police is a tyrant, and a bagpipe-playing Gurkha keeps the wild monkeys at bay. Settling in, Jana Bibi (as she comes to be known) meets her colorful local neighbors—Feroze Ali Khan of Royal Tailors, who struggles with his business and family, V.K. Ramachandran, whose Treasure Emporium is bursting at the seams with objects of unknown provenance, and Rambir, editor of the local newspaper, who burns the midnight oil at his printing press. When word gets out that the town is in danger of being drowned by a government dam, Jana is enlisted to help put it on the map. Hoping to attract tourists with promises of good things to come, she stacks her deck of cards, readies her fine-feathered assistant—and Jana Bibi's Excellent Fortunes is born.


What attracted me to the book, was the title. It somehow set my imagination on flight, where I created my own setting of a small town by the hills. To know what the story actually was about, I had to read the book, which I did!

The summary, as you can read above, suggests a good, leisure read. And that's exactly what Jana Bibi's Excellent Fortunes  is. I encompasses the reader in it's warmth and after a few pages, I felt I was actually looking on to the images that the author was building, as a bystander. 

Janet MacPherson Laird, fondly called Jana Bibi,and her parrot Mr Ganguly. This is enough to hint that the characters are eccentric. The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency is by far the cutest and funniest I have read about.

All in all a very good read, I plan to check out other books by Woodman now.

Rating: ****/5

[This review is for Random House IndiaThe opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.]

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