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Sister of My Heart (Anju and Sudha #1)

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  11,767 ratings  ·  1,003 reviews
Anju is the daughter of an upper-caste Calcutta family; her cousin Sudha is the daughter of the black sheep of the family. Sudha is as beautiful, tenderhearted, and serious as Anju is plain, whip-smart, and defiant. yet since the day they were born, Sudha and Anju have been bonded in ways even their mothers cannot comprehend.

The cousins' bond is shattered, however, when Su
Paperback, 322 pages
Published January 18th 2000 by Anchor Books (first published 1997)
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Community Reviews

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Reading this novel is like letting your heart be the passenger of the wildest roller coaster. And, for me, roller coaster is frustrating.

So, yes, I was frustrated reading this beautiful novel.

It is full of secrets, revealed one by one within the chapters. When the secret was out, I felt like leaving the book on the table. It was too hard to keep up with.

But, I couldn't.

So, I kept on reading until the last page. It was just too beautiful to leave behind.

The characters, Anju and Sudha, are the roo
Diane S.
3.5 The first thing I noticed when reading this novel was how the prose was so descriptive, flowery almost, it just flowed so easily. Two young girls, raised as sisters, always together, as closer as two can be when their lives are derailed as secret is revealed. This secret will pull the girls apart and send them on different paths.

There are many more secrets to come and each one revealed changes the course of a life. I am not sure how I felt about these girls, I don't think I fully liked eithe
I have very few books that I have rated 5 stars. A 5 is reserved for the best of the best for me. Books that I look forward to carving out time to read, books that I think about when I'm not reading them.
My review won't do this fine little book justice. The writing was amazing, the story was engaging, the characters were real, there was emotion - joy, sadness, heartbreak, wonder, hatred, AND there is a sequel.
Maybe this is why I rate it so highly? I can't wait to curl up with these characters
While this isn’t as mystical as Mistress of Spices, it’s as enchantingly and compellingly told. Two cousins in Calcutta are born prematurely into a household of women on the same day as their fathers die. Their lives are woven together like gold and silver threads, providing strength and contrast to each other as they grow together — and apart — through years, cultures, and arranged marriages. There are secrets, dramas, of all...secret dramas! I loved the complicated relationship betw ...more
This is the story of two cousins, Anju and Sudha, who grow up together as sisters in Calcutta, and the secrets, loves and life events that threaten to come between them. It is about the differing lives chosen by (or perhaps, more accurately, chosen for) these girls as they turn into women. It is about how they manage the potentially heart-breaking situations life throws at them. There were plenty of twists in the story - some more surprising than others.

Told by the two girls in alternating chap
Just a beautifully well-written story about love in all its variations, forgiveness, and female survival and resilience in modern-day India. Anju and Sudha are born on the same day in the same house, and although they are distant cousins, they feel like twins and kindred spirits. Their love for each other is very special indeed, each repeatedly putting the needs of the other before her own. They grow up with dreams of what the future holds – Anju assumes they will go to college together, and Sud ...more
A romantic, coming-of-age, family saga in Calcutta, India. Two girls growing up in the same household, bonded so strongly even at birth that they grow up sharing inner hearts, as the title says "sister of my heart". The girls are both fatherless as their fathers passed away in the same sad and mysterious accident right before the girls were born. The girls are raised by the "3 mothers" and eventually marry, which is complex in itself.
One of the things that I really liked about this book is the p
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni and I go way back. She helps out as an on-stage interviewer for a great Houston-based reading series, Inprint. I was there when she was torn to shreds by Orhan Pamuk. I witnessed her redemption when her interview with friend, Amy Tan went more smoothly. Chitra is always smiling and approachable. She teaches creative writing at the University of Houston. I’ve heard her on the local NPR station. In short, she feels accessible to me.

Inprint flies in big name authors from
Beautiful story of two cousins battling opposing forces while bonded by tragedy and torn apart by secrecy.

The girls, born in a time where individuality is stiffled by strict cultural tradition and social norms dictate much of one's being. American ideas of indpendence and education have creeped into conversations and linger as possiblity. Anju is in constant opposition of tradition. She longs for America and a college education. Sudha, born with exquisite beauty, her future remains unsure as sh
Ajay Pradhan
This is a late review. The book was published eleven years ago in 1999 by Doubleday. Yet, I hadn’t heard of the author until this month, even though I have seen the movie “Mistress of Spices”, based on her novel by the same title. After reading the book, I read a number of reviews of the novel. I wanted to see what other readers, critics and reviewers thought of the novel, especially the author’s style. Most reviews I read gave positive review of the novel and extolled the author’s gift of writi ...more
This book would make a great movie on the Lifetime network (and as I refuse to watch the Lifetime network, that's not saying much). However, Divakaruni has a beautiful writing style. Her color and sound imagery are fantastic and the descriptions are beautiful. I always imagine India to be overstimulating to the senses and this book kind of fits that expectation. The first half is tightly organized and the everything seems tied together with excellent character and plot development. In the second ...more
I loved every minute of reading this book. I don't know why I didn't give it 5 stars? The language of the book lulled me deep into the story, which is of two girl children raised in the same family in Calcutta in current times. The book primarily explores the cataclysmic changes in the social mores of the upper class as it meets with modern times, but through the tender telling of the stories of these two young women and their love for each other. The language is that of a fable; the detail is r ...more
Lubi Lafdewali
After "Arranged Marriage" I picked this book to read. I was mesmerized by Chitra's ability to take me to a city I've never been to, where I could smell and taste and visualize and understand everything Bengali... a culture I've barely known personally.

Chitra's ladies in the book: Sudha & Anju are women that we will never forget. The strength of their relationship is awe-inspiring and it makes a loner like me want a sibling or a best friend of that calibre!

I have recently come into the poss
"Hanya kisahlah... yang bisa menghindarkan keturunan kita dari membuat kesalahan besar seperti pengemis-pengemis buta yang menabrak duri-duri pagar kaktus."
(Chinua Achebe, from Anthills of The Savannah)

Usai menyelesaikan sebuah buku dari India lagi. Dan ternyata ceritanya sangat indah, tidak mengharu biru seperti film2 india kebanyakan. Aku merasakan ketangguhan hati seorang wanita di sini.
Novel karangan Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni ini dituturkan dari 2 sudut pandang tokoh utamanya, yaitu Anjali
Wonderful, wonderful book! The best I've read all year, and probably since a long time, even from my go-to authors.
Divakaruni's prose is gorgeous without being ostentatious, flowing without bogging down, and imploring the readers to engage with the characters without trying to pull pity from them. The story is extremely well-written, and the narrator for the audiobook, Julia Whelan always wins me over with whatever she reads.
I recommend this book for anyone who wants a heartfelt story without t
Beautifully written story of two women and love. Anju and Sudha are distantly related cousins who are raised as sisters. The chapters alternate the sisters' POV. In the early chapters when they were girls I did not find each girls voice distinct enough and I had a hard time keeping them straight. Perhaps that was intentional because as girls they were very, very close. After they got married and each set out on her own life, it was easier to keep straight who was telling the story.

Love in all it
Loved it! Kept me up late because I just had to see what would happen next. Some fun and unexpected plot twists at the end kept it interesting, and I could relate to the deep friendship between Sudha and Anju. I love books set in India, and this one did not disappoint.
An interesting and moving story about the complex relationship between two Indian cousins. Anju and Sudha. Anju can, at times, seem rather unlikeable - demanding, manipulative, and somewhat hot-headed & self-centered, but she is also intelligent, forward-thinking, and fiercely loyal to her beloved "sister of my heart" cousin Sudha. Beautiful Sudha is quiet, dutiful, and kind-hearted (yet she, like Anju, also possesses an amazing strength of character and a brave heart). I love the realistic ...more
This author is an artist with words. She writes beautifully. I picked up the novel because her book of short stories, Arranged Marriage, was written so beautifully, and this one did not let me down. One element of the plot seemed predictable to me, but the character and theme development, the poetry of her language are transcendent and contain the complexity of human relationships. I read it in Greece and meant to leave it there but I couldn't leave it because I thought it was so powerful, so lo ...more
I started reading this book at 9 in the night and finished it by 6 in the morning. When I started reading this I thought that it would be another Bengali writer who has moved from Calcutta to India or his parents moved much earlier and they are still seeking roots. But this turned out to be a surprise. The best part of it was that 90% of the novel is set in India and it actually takes you through the growing up phase of two girls who were like sisters and how their lives intertwined no matter ho ...more
Two cousins – born on the same day, if not under the same sign – grow up together with their widowed mothers and aunt. Sister of My Heart traces their story from childhood through marriage, and the first half of the book is a lovely testament to the power of love and the sacrifices people make for the ones they love.

The relationship at the center of Sister of my Heart never falters – sure, Anju and Sudha fight occasionally, but there’s never any question that they will be there for each other, t
Wish there were more books like this! It's as sentimental as it sounds, but the author makes it work. Loved the theme of sisterhood, the backdrop of traditional India, and the beautiful story.

The story never dragged, but I can't say the pace was perfect. I didn't like feeling manipulated into reading faster than I wanted to because of ominous foreshadowing at the end of many chapters; it took away from savoring the writing at my own leisure because I had to plow ahead to see what happened.

I've simmered down a little since finishing this book, so the strong love-hate language I had pounding around in my brain for days afterwards has mellowed, but let me just say that if I ever have the honor of meeting Chitra Divakaruni in person, I would love to give her a good shaking.
I recently read One Amazing Thing and came away disappointed in the squandered potential of it. A trusted GoodReads friend recommended I give this one a try. So, I did. And for pages and pages I was blessing Lisa
Sep 01, 2008 GoldenjoyBazyll rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Sandy
Recommended to GoldenjoyBazyll by: I read about it on the internet
This book reads like a fairy tale- there's the evil (or should I say terribly sad because of social pressures and ideas) mother-in-law...the supernatural (you will have to read to find out that one).... the storybook romance (or is it???)... all wrapped up into one book that truly tugs at your heart and sensibilities. I LOVED this book! The writing just flows... the story line is so strong and you can't help but care for the characters.

The best part is that Chitra Banerjee weaves in little less
Shan Vrolijk
hm.. keren banget. beberapa nusuk banget ceritanya, seperti kenyataan kalo menikah bukan hal gampang. Sebaiknya pastikan sebelum menikah, orang yang kita nikahi benar-benar mencintai kita, karena pada saat pernikahan sudah terjadi, nggak ada lagi celah untuk mundur... kecuali, ya, dengan perceraian, yang amat dibenci Tuhan.

ada kata-kata yang masih menarik perhatianku:

saat seorang lelaki dan seorang perempuan bertemu pandangannya, ada seuntai tali emas yang mengikat mereka berdua. Bahkan setelah
Two girls born on the same day, their fathers dead in a tragic accident, this is the story of Anju and Sudha. Growing up in Calcutta they are doted on and protected by the three women whom they consider their mothers; they share everything and become “sisters of the heart.” But, as they grow older and enter into arranged marriages, they begin to see the real world with all its tabus and prejudices. Suspicions grow and secrets are kept, but in the end their bond is stronger than anything that can ...more
Uno dei libri più belli che abbia mai letto
Assolutamente da leggere per la sua delicatezza e tenerezza. La storia di un amore indistruttibile fra due cugine. Essere sorelle del cuore vuol dire che nessun uomo, nessun evento può modificare un affetto profondissimo. Una vera lezione di vita.
Sep 11, 2012 Neil rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Neil by: Book Club
Shelves: hb-book-club
Polished Prose, Soap-Opera Story - The author evokes some vivid imagery, and the book moves along smoothly enough. But the plot is straight out of the sappiest soap opera or Bollywood film, and the feminist message is crudely formulated. Every man in the book is a liar, a fool, or a coward - and most are all three. The two main women make every serious life decision as if they were 13 year old girls in the throes of their own hormone-driven emotions. My sympathy for their often horrible situatio ...more
Jamie Incorvia
This book had an interesting back and forth narrative style. It is the story of two Indian girls who are as close as sisters, and share more of an intertwined past than even they know. Each chapter is told from either one or the other girls' perspectives, which leaves the reader feeling as though she knows both of them really well. Plus, Divakaruni does a nice job of making her writing style shift for each character's voice. It was epic in scope (spanning about 15 years) and made me hungry for I ...more
A very engaging story of the bonds that unite two Indian girls through childhood, marriage and motherhood. Secrets and misunderstandings keep things interesting and the author does a great job of evoking the setting at the start.

A very pleasant read.
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Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is an award-winning author and poet. Her work is widely known, as she has been published in over 50 magazines, including the Atlantic Monthly and The New Yorker, and her writing has been included in over 50 anthologies. Her works have been translated into 20 languages, including Dutch, Hebrew and Japanese.Her newest novel is Oleander Girl (Simon and Schuster, 2013) http: ...more
More about Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni...
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“That's how it is sometimes when we plunge into the depths of our lives. No one can accompany us, not even those who would give up their hearts for our happiness.” 41 likes
“Everytime i have turned the page he re-enters my life as awkward as postscript” 18 likes
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