Marian Caldwell is a busy-bee TV producer, with the CEO of the network her boyfriend. Her world suddenly comes apart, when her daughter, who she had given up for adoption when she had her at the age of eighteen, comes looking for her. It is an interesting premise but the book never takes off after the first thirty pages. It takes the predictable route of Marian breaking-up with her boyfriend, and getting back with her first love, the father of her daughter. Predictability is not the only problem with the story. The characters brood over minor issues and midway the book turns completely chic lit – with proms, dresses and boys. Giffin does a particularly poor job writing from the daughter’s point of view. Her take on teenage thinking is not particularly insightful.
The third of the much-awaited Ibis trilogy (and absolutely worth the wait), multiple storylines that started years ago come together in a fitting culmination in Flood of Fire. It is an amazingly fast read – the pages practically turn themselves. The stories and the struggles of the characters are vivid and the setting and the context of the opium wars captivating. Above all, it’s Ghosh’s language which is really engaging. Mrs. Burnham’s repeated English-Hindi mix, the pid-gin of China, the Bhojpuri of Kesar Singh and Neel’s Bengali – all colorful that add a unique charm to the book. For the third book, Ghosh has been kind to the non-Indian readers and produces translations of Hindi/Bhojpuri sentences. My only disappointment: Ghosh doesn’t take us to Mauritius to Deeti and the French-Indian culture. The Sea of Poppies was based in India, The River of Smoke in China and the Flood of Fire remains between these two places. But that doesn’t take away anything from the satisfactory conclusion of the intricately woven stories. A memorable trilogy indeed. Though, I won’t have minded a fourth book!