Monday, August 27, 2012
Book Review: Torn Together By, Emlyn Chand
Evolved Publishing presents "Torn Together" by Emlyn Chand, a story about one woman's search for love and acceptance, her troubled relationship with her mother, and her desperate desire to find the happiness for which she's always yearned. LITERARY/WOMEN'S FICTION. ~~~~~ From her cheating boyfriend to her dead father and cold, judgmental mother, Daly knows she can’t trust others to be there when it counts. This cynicism begins to melt away when she meets Kashi, a light-hearted charmer from India, who decides he cares too much to let her fade into the background of her own life. After a series of false starts, their quirky romance carries them to India, where Daly must win the approval of Kashi’s family in order to seal their “forever.” Meanwhile, Laine struggles to cope with the pain of early widowhood, fleeing into the pages of her well-worn library and emerging only to perform her duties as a social worker at the crisis pregnancy center. Although her daughter wants nothing more than to work as an artist, Laine doesn’t know how to redirect Daly to a more suitable profession without further damaging their tenuous relationship. Can Laine look past her pain to learn from an unlikely mentor? Has Daly finally found someone whom she can trust? Will the women recognize their common bonds before the relationship is broken beyond repair? "Torn Together," Emlyn Chand’s first sojourn into Literary/Women's Fiction, illustrates how our similarities often drive us apart.
Every once in a while a book comes along that makes you feel, that pulls at your heart, and leaves you thinking. And often those books also come along with the question, why did the author just crush me that way? This is one of those books. In a oh so good way. I have read everyone of Chand's previous YA books (And her children's books as well) and looked forward to reading this book for a while. And the wait was well worth it.
For me the strength of Torn Together lies in it's honesty. In it's ability to be real with the character's feelings. And to allow it's self to not follow the standard happily ever after format. An author has to truly believe in their self and their work to step out of that comfort zone. And Emlyn Chand does it flawlessly. Also notable is, once again, how she seamlessly blends American and Hindi culture , transporting you to the streets of Bali with such vivid descriptions you can almost feel the rickshaw hurtling you down crowded streets. (The part of the book that took place in India was hands down some of my favorite chapters.)
The heart of this book is in it's exploration of relationships and how they effect us and mold us. Which ones are important to us, and which ones are painful. There is no question that Daly has been shaped by the standoffish relationship she has had with her mother for most of her adolescence. It has caused her to close herself off and not let anyone in. It takes Meghan, who to me is the unsung hero of this book, to bridge the gap between the two women and forge the common ground that untimely brings them together. The character of Meghan is one who, in other circumstances, could easily be written off as a wasted life. But Chand builds her into a resourceful and spiritual young women who's strength causes her to shine in the face of adversity. As much as Kashi teaches Daly to let go and live in the moment, to love again. Meghan teaches her how to trust and heal. The importance of Mehgan as a character in this book in relation to Daly and Laine, and their healing, can not be overlooked.
Kashi. His character is just lovable from the start. You could see why Daly falls head over heels for him in no time. The bittersweet relationship they share will touch you in it's honesty. I can't talk too much about Kashi for fear I will give away a key component of the plot. (I really don't like to post spoilers.) I can just say I had to stop reading at one point because I couldn't see through my tears.
The title says it all. There will be relationships in our lives that simultaneously tear us apart and throw us back together. I know the emotional place this book came from and the emotional toll it took on Emlyn to write it. And I love her for her honesty. For putting fingers to the keyboard and trusting her readers to take it into their hearts. This book will be re- read by me many times. (As many as Laine read Lady Chaterly's Lover i'm sure.) It is certainly one of those books that makes you think.
Emlyn Chand emerged from the womb with a fountain pen clutched in her left hand (true story). When she's not writing, she runs a large book club in Ann Arbor and is the president of author PR firm Novel Publicity. Best known for her Young Adult novels, she is also developing a small, but devoted, following to her children's book series and is beginning to dapple in other genres as well. Emlyn enjoys connecting with readers and is available via almost every social media site in existence. Visit EmlynChand.com for more info. Don't forget to say "hi" to her sun conure Ducky!
***editor's note: Due to a recent backlash of posts on social media pointing to the contrary for some bloggers, I want to say that I as a book blogger I have never been paid for a review. All reviews are my honest and unbiased opinion, and if I have received the book free in an exchange for a review I always post that information. I purchased my copy of Torn Together for this review and the Kindle edition was used. ***