A Hundred Little Flames by Preeti Shenoy

Preeti Shenoy, considered to be India’s top selling female authors, is out with her latest “A Hundred Little Flames”. I have read a couple of her earlier books and have had a love-hate relationship with her. Much as I found her story line to be decent and sort of heart warming, the narration often left me feeling disappointed. Yet, I still end up picking up her books. And her latest book actually took me by surprise. It was a totally new avtaar of Preeti’s writing.

A Hundred Little Flames is a simple story of intense relationships, delivered with an elegant narration.

‘Once a flame is lit, it can burn brightly and divide into a hundred little flames—or it can die down. Just like the connections we form.’

Ayan- at 26 years of age is your usual youngster. Working for a corporate, fighting to strike those deals and big bucks, he is the one with starry eyes and great dreams for the future. It all is cut short when an incident sees him being fired from his job. In this situation, he is forced by his domineering father, to spend time with his grumpy old grandfather Gopal Shankar, in an obscure little village in Kerala. This wasn’t what Ayan really wanted to do, spending time in an idyllic village, sans basic entertainment and internet connectivity. To make matters worse, his father insists on him taking up a job on the dock floor of his friend’s company that deals with the export of sea food much to Ayan’s dislike. But, Ayan soon finds himself, drawn to his grandfather and his simplicity. There is a past his grandfather has. As Ayan learns of this, he comes in terms with the realities of life, and understands what true love actually is. Preeti Shenoy gives a beautiful account of relationships— across generations, of parents and children, of grandchildren, and of one’s true first love.

I loved the book cover, which communicates in its own sweet way, the story the book holds within it. Characters from our daily lives, with a display of happiness, sadness, loneliness, and anger, are fairly sketched well. Velu the care taker of Gopal Shankar, whose unconditional love and duty can never be questioned. And there is Jairaj, Gopal Shankar’s domineering son, who seldom appreciates or empathizes with the emotions of the old man. The story blends contrasting characters with ease. However, I felt the impact of the story would have been far better if, especially in the latter half, it would have been crisper with shorter chapters. It did get a bit predictable too.

A hundred little flames is not your typical Preeti Shenoy romance. It is a story of a relationship between a grandfather and grandson. Calm and soothing, perfect for a lazy Saturday afternoon. Worth a one-time read!

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8 comments

  1. This sounds like something I would enjoy! Not one for romances so I have never really picked up her books but this one which sounds very ‘R.K.Narayan’-esque in theme is so up my alley. Bookmarking for Kindle buy early next year. Loved the review, Ramya!

  2. I have read a couple of her books. The first one was nice and the second one was such a bore that I stopped reading her after that. But this one does sound quite different and perhaps something I would enjoy. Thanks for the review.

  3. I haven’t read a Preeti Shenoy novel until now. For me stories of young romance tend to get unexciting. But, this one sounds like anything but a romance, so I might pick it up some day!
    Thank you for the review, Ramya!

  4. I’m not too very fond of this author either. I’ve just read one book from this author to see what the hype was about and while I did like the writing style, the fact that the author is so full of herself all over her blog and social media and talks about her multiple talents piss me off. At times it is difficult to look beyond the person for certain things.

    Having said that, the premise of this book sounds endearing and it would definitely make a breezy read.

  5. I have read (and reviewed) a couple of books by this author, and I know exactly what you mean. There are things that I really like about her stories, but then usually the ending sequence or something else lets me down.

    However, this does sound a little different from her usual, so I’ll try to keep an open mind.

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