Every family has secrets, but not all secrets are meant to deceive.

Page 620

In a nutshell


Set in 1900 Kerala, South India, a 12-year-old girl is sent by boat to her wedding where she will meet her forty-year-old-husband for the first time. This begins the story of future matriarch, Big Ammachi and the joy, triumphs, hardships and loss she will witness over the span of her life and beyond.

Book Club Notes


This is a breathtaking novel that is brilliant on every level you can judge a book by. The storyline is phenomenal, the backdrop is rich, the characters are exceptionally crafted, the twists are shocking, the emotions are real and, most powerfully, the writing is exquisite.

When you read the synopsis of this book, your mind starts to form an idea of what kind of tragic story might unfold, but you will be wrong. The multi-generation family story that starts with a twelve-year-old girl getting married, unfolds across 77 years in ways you can’t imagine. 

I’ve read a lot of really good novels, with powerful stories that are akin to having your heart wrenched, but I can’t recall being so wowed by the writing. The way Abraham Verghese portrays a time in history, a place in history, complex characters, and a family legacy is masterful. Specifically the way he manages to make you feel like you can see into the souls of the characters without obviously describing their essence is unmatched.

It may be 715 pages, but when you reach the end you’ll be sad to say goodbye.

Read If


You want to read the best novel of your life.

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Storyline – 10 /10
Writing – 10/10
Character Development – 10/10
Plot Twist – 10/10
Shareability – 10/10
10.0Overall Score

The Nitty Gritty


Published by: Grove Press UK, Distributed by Jonathon Ball

Genre: Fiction, Historical

ISBN: 97811804710456

Pages: 715

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A note on our book ratings

Storyline: How good is the storyline? Is it believable and complex or does it make you shake your head in its ridiculousness?

Writing: How well written is the book? Do you find yourself wowed by the writing or unimpressed?

Character Development: Do the characters evolve and grow through the book and are they multi-dimensional?

Plot Twist: Were you able to predict the end, or did the author give you some surprises along the way to keep you on your toes?

Shareability: How likely are you to share the book?

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