A sparkling, witty and confident debut from a rising Canadian star whose Trinidadian roots and riotous storytelling heritage inform her completely delightful novel.
It is 1974 in the town of Chance, Trinidad–home to a colourful cast of cane farmers, rum-drinkers, scandal-mongers . . . and a bright 18-year-old schoolgirl named Vimla Narine. After passing her A-levels with extraordinary results and accepting the coveted teaching post at Saraswati Hindu school, Vimla is caught with the village pundit’s son, Krishna Govind. At night. Holding hands. By morning, even the village vagrant has heard the news and the Govinds and Narines find themselves at the heart of Chance’s most delicious disgrace since a woman chased her cheating husband from the district with a rolling pin.
Very quickly, Vimla’s teaching post is rescinded, her mother goes on strike from everything, her father seeks solace in the rum shop and Vimla is confined to her home. While Vimla waits for Krishna to rescue her, Krishna’s father exiles his boy to Tobago with a suitcase of Hindu scriptures and a command: Krishna will become a man of God. It is his duty.
Just when Vimla thinks her fate couldn’t be worse, her best friend, Minty, brings word that Krishna has become betrothed to the beautiful Chalisa Shankar. And Chalisa wants to meet Vimla. Together, Vimla and Minty devise a scheme to win Krishna back that involves blackmailing a neighbour, conspiring with Chalisa, secret trysts in cane fields–and unearthing surprising truths that could change Vimla’s, Krishna’s and Chalisa’s lives forever. – Goodreads
Set in Trinidad in the 1970s, Nothing Like Love seamlessly layers place and time to create a dynamic setting for a passionate love story. The story centres on two young lovers, Vimla and Krishna, who are the very definition of star-crossed.
After the couple are caught sneaking out to the cane fields in the middle of the night, Vimla’s reputation is destroyed and Krishna’s family set up an arranged marriage for him with a rich, beautiful young woman called Chalisa from a nearby town.
Neither Chalisa nor Krishna want to be married, but as soon as the marriage is set, Krishna is sent to stay with his aunt in Tobago until the details of the wedding can be arranged. Vimla is left behind, not knowing whether Krishna is still in love with her or whether he intends to comply with his family’s wishes and marry Chalisa.
As she waits, the town around her (a town called Chance) hums with rumours – not only about her, but about her parents, her neighbours and about Krishna’s new fiancee. Chance is a town that runs on gossip, and everyone has secrets. We become privy to all of them, and get to watch in fascination as scandals brew and break on all sides.
Meanwhile Chalisa is straining against her prescribed role and trying to find a way out of the arranged marriage. What she really wants is to pursue her dream of becoming a famous singer and dancer – and maybe even get to be with the man she really cares for.
Though love stories aren’t typically my favourite, I really enjoyed this one. I loved how the characters were so colourful. Even the most unlikeable of this cast cannot be faulted for being boring.
I also couldn’t get enough of Ramnanan’s Trinidad. Her descriptions of the country – its flora and culture – were so lively that at times I could almost smell the flowers and feel the sun on my face. If you’re one for literary tourism, this is a book you’ll want to pick up and save for a rainy day.
Author: Sabrina Ramnanan
Published By: Doubleday Canada
Released: April 21, 2015
Genre: Fiction, Character-Driven
Date Read: April 12-25, 2015