by Sonali Dev
Synopsis: Dr. Nikhil ‘Nic’ Joshi had it all—marriage, career, purpose. Until, while working for Doctors Without Borders in a Mumbai slum, his wife, Jen, discovered a black market organ transplant ring. Before she could expose the truth, Jen was killed.
Two years after the tragedy, Nic is a cruise ship doctor who spends his days treating seasickness and sunburn and his nights in a boozy haze. On one of those blurry evenings on deck, Nic meets a woman who makes a startling claim: she received Jen’s heart in a transplant and has a message for him. Nic wants to discount Jess Koirala’s story as absurd, but there’s something about her reckless desperation that resonates despite his doubts.
Jess has spent years working her way out of a nightmarish life in Calcutta and into a respectable Bollywood dance troupe. Now she faces losing the one thing that matters—her young son, Joy. She needs to uncover the secrets Jen risked everything for; but the unforeseen bond that results between her and Nic is both a lifeline and a perilous complication.
Delving beyond the surface of modern Indian-American life, acclaimed author Sonali Dev’s page-turning novel is both riveting and emotionally rewarding—an extraordinary story of human connection, bravery, and hope.
My Review: Dr. Nikhil Joshi left the U.S. to move to Mumbai with his wife Dr. Jen Joshi, to care for those in Mumbai’s slums. His wife had been gathering a database of those willing to donate their organs. Unfortunately for her, this database caused her to become a target of unscrupulous men dealing in stolen organs and led to her death. Her organs were donated and her husband retreated from life. The story begins two years later when Nik is working as a doctor on a cruise ship. He is drinking and barely surviving. If the job had not been given to him by a friend, he would have lost it by then. When a woman on board, Jess, walks by him periodically, he almost thinks it is Jen. The hair colour is the same and she looks a bit like her. When she tells him that she has Jen’s heart, he will do almost anything for her. They begin a search for Jen’s list of donors, both for different reasons. At the beginning of each chapter, there is a quote from jen’s journal and it is almost like her ghost is present in the story.
This story had a bit of everything. There was mystery, romance, grief, criminal underground, deceit, Indian Culture, and suspense that caused many emotions in the reader. I enjoyed this book, but it took time to get through it. There was a lot of repetition at times and I put it aside a couple of times. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley.