Monday, 28 December 2015

Book review – The Bestseller She Wrote

Author – Ravi Subramanian
Publisher – Westland
Genre – Fiction
Pages – 391
Price – Rs. 295

Sneak from the cover
Master storyteller Ravi Subramanian delves into the glitzy world of bestsellers and uncovers a risky dalliance between a superstar novelist and his alluring protégé. The Bestseller She Wrote is a combustible cocktail of love, betrayal and redemption.

The Cover
A man, woman and a book - The cover page illustration is as transparent as the title itself. Since we know the book has an element of romance, one wonders how the book connects these two individuals. The curious mind begins the guessing game – Does a book unite the two lovers? I made few guesses and thought it best not to waste time, so I immersed myself in this Bestseller.

The dedication page makes the loyal reader smile with pride, as Ravi dedicates the books to the readers.

My View
Ravi Subramanian’s books have always been treat reads. I had thoroughly enjoyed reviewing his last book, God is a Gamer. So, when I came to know he is foraying into the genre of romance, it was a pleasant surprise!  When it comes to romance, Indian writers usually fall prey to predictable storylines and I wondered how different Ravi’s book would be. However, having read the book, I can confidently say that not only has he successfully penned a bestseller, but has integrated his signature style of thrill and suspense into romance!

This book reminds me of two lessons from childhood -
  • Being successful is one thing. What is tougher is to retain the success and remain level headed.
  • There are two ways to success – Work hard and outperform your competitors, or else, kill the competition by hook or by crook. While we may have our own thoughts about what is ethical, people believing in cut throat competition are oblivious to this sensitivity.  
A successful banker, six feet tall, handsome, a voice enigmatic enough to woo any woman – Aditya Kapoor, the paperback king of India is every inch the celeb material! Having successfully transformed from a boring banker to a bestselling author, this self made man is every youngster’s role model. Its an act he juggled with finesse – managing a tough banking job and a flourishing career as a writer; for he knew how to keep the two worlds separate. So he never let his writing affect his work commitments or vice versa.

As a blogger myself, I sometimes wonder how spouses of bestselling authors cope up. Being on your own most of the time with a busy and famous spouse is not everyone’s cup of tea. Nor it was for Maya, Aditya’s better half. But, love and commitment makes anything possible. So, a patient and caring Maya sacrifices her corporate career for her husband and derives satisfaction in managing her family well. She was true epitome of the phrase – Behind a successful man is a woman.

But what life is a life if it’s perfect? There is no fun without twists and turns. So, Aditya’s life too sees its biggest twist when he meets young Shreya at an event in IIM Bengaluru.

20 something Shreya Kaushik too, falls in the category of winning at any cost. Young, beautiful, fearless, reckless and ambitious – Shreya has a mind of her own. Beauty and wit are her assets. No man can resist her and she is very well aware of it. And that’s when trouble begins.

When two people with different value systems come together, the results are far from pleasant. Shreya is a smart gal who doesn’t fail to seize any man or opportunity that can catapult her to success.

Shreya combines planned coincidences with an innocent display and a clueless Aditya is smitten by her. Little does he realize how soon a negative remark from a spectator at a lecture transforms into a relationship. Like a weed, Shreya clings on to him as an innocent wannabe writer asking for his mentoring, however, soon spreads to his personal and professional domain.

Soon Shreya becomes the focus of Aditya’s life, with even his own writing taking a backseat against her ambitions. One feels sorry to see how a loyal and loving husband falls prey to an adulterous relationship. A clueless Maya continues be at her sacrificing best, oblivious to the broth cooking while she is busy with motherhood and her official assignments. All this while, one just marvels at Ravi’s excellent storytelling as one feels s/he is not reading a book but is watching a movie!

Just like all good things come to an end, trouble starts brewing when Aditya smells ambition in Shreya more than love. To make matters worse, their relationship soon becomes visible to people it should have never been. Even though Aditya realises his mistake, Shreya isn’t an easy person to deal with. She plays her cards so smartly that in a short span of time, Aditya’s personal life profession, and writing are in doldrums! With everything at stake at once, one wonders whether Aditya will be able to get his act together or not.

It is then that another twist in the story proves that there was something beyond being a bestselling author that set Aditya apart from the rest - his ethics and values that he never compromises on. Had there been someone else, he would have crumbled under pressure. In fact, the story  even has one such character. However, Aditya’s sincerity towards his commitments and level headed mind is very impressive. One knows that Aditya is the hero. Eventually, he will win the troubles over and prove to be the perfect role model. But HOW?

Usually, romantic stories become predictable by this stage, however, it's exciting that the readers still remain clueless as to what turn the story would take to get Aditya’s life back in shape.

Without giving spoilers, I would recommend you to read and find that out yourself. As for me, it took me sitting up till late night to kill my curiosity! But that’s the best part about Ravis’s stories. One can never predict what's gonna happen and you are in the nail biting mode till the end. And the moment the suspense is broken, you are like, “What? I could have never guessed this” Well, welcome to the world of romantic thrillers, if I may categorize so!

And oh! I forgot to mention the amazing tips inside the books for wannabe bestselling writers! Sharing few, grab the book for more –
  • Rags to riches works for non-fiction books and true stories  - at times even for films. But for fiction, in india, specifically, tragedy rules. Reading about someone else’s woes and crying bucketfuls is a national past time!
  • New authors should try and reach out to a publisher through an agent or through someone they know. Helps avoid their manuscript going into the slush pile.
  • Publishers are like potential love interests. The more you chase them, the more they run away from you and the more you let them be, the more they are drawn to you.
What I loved about the book
  • Ravi’s art of storytelling. The story picks up pace almost instantly and maintains it till the end. One can’t help but remain glued to the book!
  • Language is crisp and the plot devoid of any drags.
  • Being his debut in the genre of romance, I must compliment the dignity with which Ravi describes romantic encounters. While most authors adopt cheap tricks of filling pages with sensuous descriptions and fantasies, Ravi knows where to draw the line.
  • As I mentioned above, most romantic stories get predictable after 150 odd pages and reading till the end is a mere formality for the reviewer. But the twists and turns and a climax one couldn’t have thought of – that’s the beauty of Ravi’s books 
What could have been better
While everything is fair in fiction, one feels the story could have been just as delightful sans a few deviations. The whole Ebola affair and magical recovery as well as the involvement of Ramesh Karia seems rather dramatic and too much to believe.

My rating

About the Author
Ravi Subramanian, an alumnus of IIM Bengaluru, has spent two decades in the world of global banks in India. Four of his seven bestselling titles have been award winner. The Bestseller She Wrote is Ravi’s first book on romantic intrigue. Ravi lives in Mumbai with his wife and daughter.

Connect with Ravi Subramanian at –
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You can also get in touch with the Ravi Subramanian App (iOS or Android)

I am reviewing ‘The Bestseller She Wrote’ by Ravi Subramanian as a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

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