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Scandalous Housewives (2014)

They run their homes like clockwork, their children look like angels and their husbands could be movie stars - but what goes on behind closed doors? Are there chinks in the armour? That is the question that the author explores in her gripping novel, Scandalous Housewives, where she takes us through the lives and times of the women who live in Sapphire Towers, an apartment block in Mumbai. We meet Gita, Sarita, Natasha and Aarti, four housewives who take great pride in their homes and families, but take a closer look and you would see that their lives are far from perfect. Gita has a husband who does not appreciate her and her in-laws hate her because she was not able to produce a son. Sarita lives in a penny-pinching household where each rupee is accounted for by her miserly husband and his parents. Natasha is a former model with an abusive husband. As for the fourth protagonist Aarti, she is a working woman who harbours a little secret in her heart that could destroy her family. The four women meet every evening to chat but they always manage to keep their perfect facades intact so that no one knows what is really going on in their lives. But soon and inevitably, things begin to unravel and the reader is caught up in a whirlpool of scandal, deceit and gossip that has the women doubting everything they had ever believed in, including their friendship. Is the book enjoyable? Yes, because the author knows how to add a cliffhanger at the end of each chapter that keeps you riveted to the story. The flaw, however, lies in the fact that some of the stories are perhaps too far-fetched. There is a lot of ill will and rancour towards the end of the book which gets tiring after a while. But if you are looking for a quick read that will give you a glimpse of urban India and the lives of four chic women, pick up this book and you won't be disappointed. (AC)

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