To You, With Love by Shravya Bhinder
Publisher: Penguin Metro Reads
Price: Rs. 250 INR(paperback), Rs. 160 INR(Kindle edition)
Buy Here: https://amzn.to/33f6y6d
My take on the book:
Sahil and Ayra were bench-mates while in school and had been best buddies before going their own ways. Many years later, as Sahil sees her again randomly at a traffic light, their past friendship is revived in Sahil’s memory. Though he immediately moves to Bengaluru from Delhi for pursuing his MBA, he finds her online profile after some effort and succeeds in becoming friends again.
As Sahil keeps meeting Ayra and falls more and more in love with her, he dreams of their happy married life. However, there is a past secret which Ayra is constantly struggling to hide from Sahil and the world, as she wears a facade which is not missed by Sahil on occasions. What does the future have in store for Sahil and Ayra forms the rest of the story.
I read rave reviews for the author’s previous book and that was the reason I picked this one. A major part of the story is revealed at the start which shows the confidence of the author to engage the reader in the upcoming pages. However, the story does not pick pace till almost 100 pages, as the next twist in story comes only that. If the essence of the story was not revealed at the beginning, I honestly wouldn’t have read beyond the first 50 pages or so.
Ignoring the slow start, I liked the contrast shown between Sahil and Ayra’s families and their own behavioral traits showcasing how family, upbringing and childhood can make or break individuals. Ayra’s character lacks depth when compared to Sahil as he is the one narrating the story from his perspective. In the middle of a seemingly simple love story, author brings sensitive topics like child abuse, same-sex love and mental health – these add layers to an otherwise cliched love story. I also liked that the childhood innocence is retained between the characters without making them cheesy. The cover is beautiful and will urge the reader to pick it up.
If you are hard core love and romance fans then this one will not disappoint you, I only wish the first half had better pace.