Historical fiction

The Girl in the Painting by Renita D’Silva


This is the story of three women. The first is Margaret, the (now) old woman who has lived a full life and whose growth we watch from childhood onwards. There are trials and tragedies that dog her footsteps till she is an adult and tries to make her own path in the world. Even then she is not really free. The other, with a lesser part in the first half but a more serious role in tying the loose threads for us together is her granddaughter Emma. Emma’s life draws strange parallels to the stories told to us. Last but not least, the bulk of the story belongs to Archana. Her tale focuses on her childhood until her path crosses with Margaret and even beyond.

This is a hard book to review because I really enjoyed the narration and the writing felt just right to set the tone, keep that in mind as you proceed further. I have always been a fan of the dual timeline and although it is done well in this case, there are three women, with three distinct stories, times and places all featured in complete detail. We spend a lot of time individually with each. This was where my problem arose. I read this in one sitting, and there was an emotional overload for me while I was trying to empathize with all of them. Till the commonality is established, I found it hard to spare enough emotion for each of them since the writing made it easier to ‘feel’ for each.

I have to admit that I would have rated this book higher if there was lesser background for even one of them, or it was split into two separate books featuring two women at a time. I highly recommend this to those who like this genre since there is a lot in this book for fans of historical fiction.

 I received an ARC thanks to Netgalley and the publishers, but this did not alter my review in any way.

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