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Yinka, Where is Your Huzband? by Lizzie Damilola Blackburn

Yinka had me hooked from the first sentence with an absolutely terrific opening scene. It’s thematically rich, full of warmth, and just the right amount of playfulness. It deals with friendship, family relationships and tensions, cultural identity, colourism, self-love – and being a singleton, which has lead to comparisons with Bridget Jones’s Diary. There are certain similarities, but Yinka is very much her own distinct character (although both heroines are doled out similar amounts of cringeable moments).

I love a book with a strong sense of place, and Yinka squarely delivered with some evocative descriptions of Peckham, while also touching on the subject of gentrification.

I really appreciated the messages in this book, particularly the reminder that life is a constant journey with its heights and its dips; that it isn’t linear, to be tied up neatly with a bow. And wouldn’t it be boring if it were?

On a lighter note, the sprinkles of Yinka’s Google search history and written notes really made me laugh. There’s an excellent balance of depth and humour in this book, and it makes it a joy to read.

Thank you to Nataka Books for hosting this blog tour, and thank you Viking and Penguin for the ARC!

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Book Reviews

Well-Behaved Indian Women by Saumya Dave

This was one of my TBRs that I was especially excited for – with good reason!

Simran Mehta, an Indian-American woman, is studying Psychology at grad school. She’s had a book published and she’s engaged to her high school sweetheart Kunal, a future doctor. Her life is in order – until she meets Neil, a successful newspaper columnist.

The book also follows Simran’s mother Nandini and her grandmother Mimi. Although the primary story is Simran’s, I loved that this book was an intergenerational tale. Nandini and Mimi’s voices and journeys really fleshed out the novel and helped paint a cohesive picture of the pressures and issues many Indian women face today.

Saumya Dave explores some great themes: family, love, courage, race, identity.  I liked the emphasis on mother-daughter relationships, particularly within Indian culture. Both familial and romantic relationships form the centre of the book, but at its core the focus is on the characters’ personal journeys.

Simran’s family have high expectations and place a lot of pressure on her. It was interesting how multi-layered this was: Nandini’s expectations of Simran damage her, just as Nandini has been damaged by the expectations of her own family and peers. Watching them both fight to realise then follow their own desires and paths really emphasised just how difficult it can be.

As a half-Indian British woman, I found some of the themes surrounding Indian culture familiar. I liked reading about Simran’s experience in the U.S. It made me think about how the experiences of first or second-gen immigrants from the same country might differ, depending on the location they ended up in.

I really enjoyed this wonderful debut by Saumya Dave, and I can’t wait to read more of her work in the future!