Haunting Bombay by Shilpa Agarwal is exactly that – a very haunting and engrossing novel with a very gorgeous cover. I am always up for a good ghost story and this book definitely fit the bill for me. From the beginning of the book I was hooked and I just kept turning those pages in an attempt to find out what was going to finally happen. It was a book that kept me on the edge of my seat a bit while giving me shivers up and down my spine.
The novel begins with us learning about Pinky, a thirteen year old girl living with her grandmother, aunt and uncle and her three male cousins. Pinky’s own mother had died when she was just a baby and her grandmother Maji had taken over her care. They are one of the lucky families that have money so Pinky has never known any suffering in that way. However all is not rosey either. Pinky’s aunt does not like her at all for reasons of her own and if not for Maji, who is the head of the family, Pinky would be off in a boarding school.
All her life Pinky has wondered about the bathroom in their house though. It is bolted up nightly and not opened until morning. They are all forbidden to unbolt it yet no one will tell her why. Well one day Pinky becomes upset enough to throw caution to the wind and unbolt that door. By doing this Pinky unlocks secrets from the past along with a ghost bent on getting revenge. From this point things go from bad to worse in the Mittal household taking us on a suspense filled journey right up to the final twist at the end that I wasn’t quite expecting.
There are many things I enjoyed about this novel aside from the ghost story and all the suspenseful elements. I enjoyed reading about the Indian lifestyle a great deal. There are a lot of descriptions of the way the wealthy live and what they are privilege to, their religion, the area itself, and mostly the food. There were so many descriptions of the food they eat that my mouth was watering at how good it all sounded. I felt as though I got carried away to another world which I really did as their lives in India are so much more different than mine and I loved that aspect of the book. It was also interesting to read how much different men and women are treated and how many more opportunities are available to the men.
If I had to say I had a favorite character it would be Pinky. For a young girl she really seemed quite mature in her thoughts and reasoning except of course for opening that forbidden door. However all the characters were well developed even the ghosts and you find yourself caring about them and what their lives had once entailed. I found the book beautifully written and found myself rereading many passages. This is Shilpa Agarwal’s debut novel and if it’s any indication of her writing style then I’m anxious for what she will write next.
I read Haunting Bombay for Shilpa Agarwal’s TLC Book Tour so many thanks to Trish for the opportunity to participate and read this wonderful book. Make sure to pop by Shilpa Agarwal’s website and take a look around. You can buy Haunting Bombay here in the US and here in Canada.