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Review: Haunting Jasmine (Banerjee)

Title: Haunting Jasmine
Author: Anjali Banerjee
Genre: Adult Fiction
Pages: 292 (I read an ARC)
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Challenges: South Asian Author Challenge
FTC Disclosure: The publisher sent me a copy for review. And, no, this did not influence how I feel about the book
Summary (from the back of the book): Divorcee Jasmine Mistry is intent on restarting her life when she gets the chance to do just that. A call from the past brings her home to Shelter Island, a green dot in the middle of Puget Sound, to run her beloved aunt's bookstore. The familiarity is heartening--the rocky beaches, pewter skies, country boutiques, and above all, Auntie's Bookstore, nestled in a quaint Queen Anne Victorian, a believed, not incidentally, to be haunted.

With that knowledge, Jasmine embarks on a mystical journey, urged along by her quirky family, guided by the highly emotional spirits of long-dead authors, and moved to heal her broken heart when she falls unexpectedly in love with an enigmatic young stranger. He knows about blurring the lines between reality and illusion. He opens new doors between truth and fantasy. In redefining the meaning of everlasting love, he urges Jasmine to reinvent herself in a place she calls home. All she has to do is close her eyes and say yes.

Review: What a fun and well-written book! I have liked all of Anjali Banerjee's books and this one was no exception. Her writing style is easy and I get hooked from the very first page. Haunting Jasmine is an interesting mix of the real and the imaginary, something that normally I would have trouble with, but I believed whole-heartedly in this book.

The main character, Jasmine, lives a face-paced life of business in Los Angeles but is called to a quiet island by her aunt to watch the bookstore while the aunt goes to India for a month. Though Jasmine loves her aunt, she is reluctant to leave work and miss advancement opportunities. Upon arrival at the bookstore Jasmine immediately wants to tidy up, change the layout, open the windows, create more light, and bring in bestsellers instead of dusty classics and odd books. She obviously doesn't understand the lure of a local bookstore to its community and patrons.

Auntie tells Jasmine she must sleep in the attic apartment of the bookstore so the "house won't get cranky." Jasmine begins to hear voices, books shimmer, and authors reach out to her. Is she going crazy? Does she have the talent her aunt has? I couldn't wait to find out and love the idea of a bookstore that is so alive with books, authors, and adventure.

There is also romance, self-discovery, family, drama, and everything else you could possibly want in a book. This book isn't set for release until February 2011 when I'll have an interview and give away with Anjali.


Athira said...

This book sounds delightful! I love books that feature any literary elements. It's like reading about something you really identify with. I haven't read this author before, but I'd sure like to give a try

Laura Kozy Lanik said...

This sounds really good. My niece's name is Jasmine and so that drew me to the title.

Helen's Book Blog said...

Aths--delightful is a good word for it. The literary elements were great and really added to the magic of the story. I think you'd like her books. They are mostly set in Washington state and the main character is always an Indian (as in India) woman

Booksnob--I also think the cover is beautiful. Apparently the final version will have sparkles on the scarf

Amanda said...

This sounds really good! I've only read one of her books before but I liked it a lot. :)

Katy said...

This is totally going on my wishlist. It sounds great!

Helen's Book Blog said...

Amanda--Which book did you read? I've really enjoyed all of her books (as I said above)

Katy--I can't wait to see what you think of it; I am surprised her books aren't in the blogosphere more than they are