Book Review: Nothing Like Love

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Nothing Like Love was Lindsey’s (from Random House Canada) suggestion based on the selections offered by RHC for review. She was right (again) and Nothing Like Love really was a great suggestion and one delightful and engrossing read. It was one I was immediately drawn into from the very first pages.  Nothing Like Love is Sabrina Ramnanan’s debut and if this is what the reader was treated to in her first book, she will certainly be one I’ll be watching and waiting for more from, and hopefully sooner rather than later! (No pressure!)

With its descriptions of mango and orange orchards, jasmine blossoms, and bustling markets on the island of Trinidad, to name just a few things, this is a perfect read to include for your summertime reading. Indeed, Nothing Like Love was just featured in CBC Book’s 2015 Summer Reading List . It did make me happy to see it included in CBC’s list because it is a perfect summer read, and especially if you do like to seasonal reads set in that current season, but also because of the truly wonderful story inside.

Vimla Narine of Chance, Trinidad has a tremendous and successful future ahead of her. She is the smartest girl in her village, she has passed her A-levels with the best-of-the-best grades and is being offered a teaching position at the Saraswati Hindu School, a high honour for certain. She is beautiful, confident, in short, she is destined for a life filled with greatness.

Yet, all of this sparkling destiny is stripped from Vimla when she is caught holding hands with the Pundit’s son, Krishna Govind, at night, in the mangrove trees. By morning the entire village has heard of what a “jammette” (a slut, whore)  Vimla is and now the Narine and Govind families find themselves embroiled in a scandal that refuses to flame out.

While both Vimla and Krishna are desperately in love, and Krishna has professed his love for her, it is Vimla that suffers the most due to the scandal. She is forced to remain indoors and out of sight, her teaching position has been rescinded and a great shame has been brought down upon her family. Although Krishna has professed his intention to marry Vimla, he is exiled to Tobago where he will continue his studies to become a Pundit, or holy man, like his father.

To add to the gaping wound in Vimla’s heart, her best friend Minty has brought word that Krishna is to marry a wealthy and beautiful girl named Chalisa Shankar. This announcement seems quite harsh, given the love both Krishna and Vimla have declared for each other. However, there are many secrets hiding in both the Govind and Shankar homes.  Even though Chalisa has told Krishna (and Vimla too) she has no intention of marrying him, the two families proceed to plan an elaborate wedding.

With all of this going on, Ramnanan is also treating the reader to a cast of delightfully entertaining characters. There is Minty’s mother, the overtly sensual Sangita, her husband Rajesh and her love interest, Faziel. There is Vimla’s parents, Om and Chandani and the Pundit Anand, among a whole host of others that will catapult you to the end of this splendidly written story. Oh, all of these characters, the secrets, trysts and blackmail, the drama and of course the fight, determination and spark that pushes Vimla to craft her own future, will have you devouring this story up in no time.

Thank you again to Random House Canada for allowing us the pleasure of reading Nothing Like Love. It still makes me smile when I think of this book. I’ve closed the pages on it a few days ago, but the story and the people remain. The mark of a good read!

Literary Hoarders Penny rev