Image Source: Ismita Tandon Facebook Cover Album
Jacob Hills is yet another fantastic book from Ismita’s pen; having read her first book, ‘Love on the Rocks’, I had a lot of expectation on this and she in fact wrote a wonderful book, which dealt with grave social issues and murder mystery. A fresh read this is!
I have a habit of observing the cover of any book that I read and this one has a lot to offer, bright sunset, a lonely road and a hill to paint a murder mystery in mind and I am sure that one cannot put down the book after reading the blurb of the story.
It’s just another evening at the Tiller’s Club.
Capt. Rana, a Young Officer training at the War College, stands at the bar, deliberately is avoiding his pregnant wife, Heena. Saryu, village belle-turned-modern babe, drink in hand, chats up another YO. Her husband, Maj. Vikram Singh, shoots angry glances at her. The flamboyant Lt. Col. Gary Randhawa and his wife Pam chat merrily with the senior officers – who’d guess that they lead an underground swinger couples’ club?
In a corner stands Eva, the beautiful Anglo-Indian wife of Maj. George Chandy, who finds herself at the heart of a murder mystery. The murdered woman’s body is covered with cigarette burns. A six-year-old girl’s wrist is similarly marked. Another little girl shows signs of severe abuse.
This is Jacob Hills: an army station that houses the War College. A world of genteel conversation, smart men and graceful women. Set in the 1980s – in a country on the cusp of tradition and Westernized modernity – Jacob Hills is the story of what lies beneath the smooth veneer. It’s a noxiousness the Chandys must confront if their love is to survive Jacob Hills.
Now you would agree that it is a good snapshot of what to expect and supports the title with a clear pointer to the army station at Jacob Hills. Being a lover of fragrances and smells (as said in post no. 400), this one was smell worthy!
If you expect me to write about the author, I would first say she is first a fantastic poet, though she tags herself as A Lesser Known Poet and blogging at www.lesserknownpoet.com. A good friend and a kind-hearted person who wants me to get published and I hope I would get published someday soon. Her poem, ‘I Am Beautiful’, won a prize in the Yahoo-Dove IndiBlogger contest and, several other poems have won hearts for her. She’s also the author of the romantic thriller Love on the Rocks, released in 2011. And she is currently working on The Song of the Sufi Masroof, a book of photographs and poems.
After the brief note and before the heart-wrenching prologue, a meaningful poem:
A life without love
Is like a park without children,
Bereft of laughter, of innocence...
Like a temple without God,
A book without a reader,
A man without a woman,
Yet, many a senseless life is spent,
Craving the pleasures of the flesh...
Like the dogs Bozo and Bullet, she and he and his favourite game, to kiss and burn. He’s a coward and a cowards always stabs in the back. She is found dead with cigarette burns on her body in an old abandoned church in Jacob Hills. Eva, who has moved recently to Jacob Hills with her husband Maj. George Chandy, finds her bleeding badly, admits her in the hospital with the help of Maj. Alex, where she breathes the last. No one is able to identify who the woman is and so she is cremated at government expense. A six-year-old girl’s wrist is similarly marked. Another little girl shows signs of severe abuse. Col. Sampat along with Eva and George resolves the mystery behind the murder and discovers some dark secrets of the residents of Jacob Hills.
This story offers you a lot of things – a newly married couple, child sexual abuse, an ill-mental man, sexual flavours, wife swapping, parties, drinks and get together. In total, Ismita has woven a good decent that keeps you glued till the very end.
Like in her first book, Ismita has many POV’s narrating the story, which I liked a lot as I could see the story through the characters eyes :)
WRITING STYLE: 4.5/5
BOOK COVER: 5/5
OVERALL RATING: 4.5/5
Overall, the story is interesting and well written and talks about the grave social issues; it is a book worth reading, so do check it out.
Title: Jacob Hills
Author: Ismita Tandon Dhankher
Paperback: 259 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins (May 2013)
Buy on: FlipKart
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* A heartfelt thanks to IndiBlogger, Harper Collins India and Ismita for sending the book and to my dearest wife for carrying the book all the way to Hamburg, Germany :)
** Keeping the review short and simple, as last time I wrote almost the complete story of 'Love on the Rocks' as review :P