As a girl on the brink of womanhood in 1960s India, Shanti Bamzai has big dreams. Rather than enter into an arranged marriage like her sister, Shanti embarks on a journey into the unknown, leaving her family home behind for an education and a chance to chart her own destiny.While India experiences an upheaval of cultural and societal changes as old-world traditions collide with the modern global era, Shanti navigates college, a marriage of her own choosing, and motherhood, fighting a constant battle between the pressures of traditional expectations and her own burning desire to be an artist and an independent woman.A move to America presents exciting new opportunities, but Shanti is disappointed to find herself still hemmed in by the restrictions of her Indian upbringing. As her children become adults and her marriage becomes a shell of what it once was, Shanti must find the courage to step out of her husband’s shadow and into the life she’s always dreamed of.
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“Beautiful and lush, The Immigrant Wife takes the reader on one woman’s touching, turmeric-drenched journey from naive but determined art student in India to longing-filled American wife and mother. The author Madhu B. Wangu has written a maharaja’s banquet for the senses.” – (RITA Award Winning Author) Gwyn Cready
“A winner. The Immigrant Wife: A Spiritual Journey is beautifully written. The story weaves many small strands into an intriguing tapestry, much like the paintings of our heroine, Shanti. It paints two pictures one of the beautiful valley of Kashmir and the beautiful hills of Western Pennsylvania. Shanti’s quiet determination to stay true to herself, her art, and her family is inspirational. I loved it! – Professor Laurence Glasco (University of Pittsburgh)
“In her debut novel, Madhu Bazaz Wangu, conjures a mysterious time and place. The protagonist, Shanti, begins her life as an idealistic but naive girl from the valley of Kashmir. As the story unfolds in America, she learns to heed her desires and shape her life, no longer rolling along like a stone turned in the tide. Wangu creates rich, dynamic images of India, comparable to her watercolors, evoking every sense. The indigenous sights, sounds, and smells are so vivid that I swear I could find my way to Shanti’s home. Wangu’s style is gentle and quiet like the protagonist, and deeply powerful. This tale of love and nurturing, loss and growth, and transformation will stay with readers long after they finish the novel.” – Kathleen Shoop (IPPY Award Winner of The Last Letter)
Read an excerpt HERE
About the author
An author, artist and the founder of the Mindful Writers Group, Madhu Bazaz Wangu was a professor of arts and religions of India before becoming a full time writer. She has a doctorate in the Phenomenology of Religions from the University of Pittsburgh and a post-doctoral fellowship from the Harvard University. For twenty-five years, she taught at the University of Pittsburgh and Chatham College in Pennsylvania, Wellesley and Wheaton Colleges in Massachusetts, and Rhode Island College.
In 1997, Dr. Wangu voyaged around the world with students & faculty from various American Universities for the Semester At Sea. In 2010, she founded the Mindful Writers Group. She encourages writers of all levels and genres to delve deeper in their work by body-mind-heart meditations. Her CD, Meditations for Mindful Writers was released in 2011. She guides writers in meditation and writing marathons. Each year in September, the Mindful Writers Group organizes a weekend of Meditation and Writing.
Madhu B. Wangu has published numerous essays and four books on Hindu & Buddhist art and religions. She has also held five one-person art exhibitions in India and US. Her debut fiction, Chance Meetings: Stories About Cross-Cultural Karmic Collisions and Compassion was published in April, 2015. And her debut novel, An Immigrant Wife has just been released. Currently she is writing her second novel, The Last Suttee.
She lives in Wexford, Pennsylvania, USA with her husband Manoj. They have two daughters — an avionics engineer and a pediatrician — and are blessed with two grandchildren.
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I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, all the opinions above are 100% my own.
Shanti Bamzai’s life voyage describes a woman intent on exploring her place in the world as she steadfastly implores her family and friends to accept her point of view and envelop her untraditional ways. Shanti divines her own future by creating a world for herself where art is at the center of all she does. Shanti cannot imagine a life without creating her art. For her the challenge begins in her family home and flows throughout this amazing journey as she clashes with societal roles and establishes a strong place for herself in the world of academia and art.
Love is at the center of all Shanti does. Love for her family supercedes everything and she delves into that passion to begin studies at a school she did not exactly choose but chose her. Shanti bides her time and never waivers from her ultimate plan of showcasing her art to the world. Falling in romantic love with a man she never expected propels her into a life that she never imagined could be so fulfilling. Love abounds once again as she discovers the blessings of motherhood. Admirably Shanti still focuses on her goals despite a sometimes loveless marriage and disappointments.
The combination of love, art, and culture makes this novel so much more than the heroine the story follows. An exploration into the deeper meaning of life and art infused with love will take the reader into a world that they will not want to leave. Madhu Bazaz Wangu is an expert storyteller with the ability to transport you into the world that she is writing about. Wangu’s descriptions of the food, the smells, the landscapes makes this novel a definite must-read.
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