A Forgotten Affair by Kanchana Banerjee is published by Harlequin, an imprint of Harper Collins. Since it is a Harlequin romance I was expecting something else, but I was pleasantly surprised from the very moment I started reading it. At the risk of sounding clichéd, I would still say this book is refreshingly different from the recent romances that I have read.
Banerjee weaves a tale of love, loss and despair with an élan only seen with seasoned writers, it is hard to tell that this is her debut book. From the first line to the last never does it once feel forced, the story takes such a classic beautiful natural flow.
The story revolves around, Sagarika, a character you feel immediately drawn to for her vulnerability. She is beautifully drawn by the author, she is like a hauntingly melancholic painting done in transparent watercolour. It is intriguing to see how Sagarika struggles to put back the pieces together after she recovers from a near-fatal accident and a complete memory loss, there are two distinct portrayal of her character, the vibrant effervescent one before the accident and the confused vulnerable one coming to terms with her mind’s blank canvas.
This book deals with an extremely sensitive issue, that is of emotional abuse in domestic quarters, we tend to overlook this and most of us are still very uncomfortable talking about it. Through Sagarika, Banerjee has taken the readers to this uncomfortable zone and made us question ourselves, how many times we have been emotionally abused by someone close, yet we have chosen to keep quite.
The characters are the strength of this book, it is more than the situations, it is the emotions and actions of the characters which drive the book. The portrayal of Rishab, Sagarika’s emotionally abusive husband is extremely real, I had a constant feeling of unease every time his character appeared in the book. The best friend, the lover, the mother all of them have their share in the story.
Banerjee’s language is flawless, the narration smooth and the transition of time between Sagarika’s memory loss and the time before is done without breaking the chain of the tale. The simplicity of the words used adds to the powerful emotion it carries, I am glad she has chosen a simpler vocabulary to tell her story.
The editing is commendable.
The cover is beautiful.
Banerjee’s A Forgotten Affair will remain one of my favourite books that I have read this year, for two main reasons first being a that this book left me with a feeling of love and hope at the end and the other being a strong emotional connect that I felt towards the main character who I felt an immense urge to protect myself.
Overall an excellent debut!
Please note: This is NOT a commissioned review.