This is not the usual kind of book I read, but Random House was kind enough to give me a free review copy.
I found it to be a very well written, gentle read and did enjoy it. I personally wasn’t very familiar with the culture of South Asia, but I felt the author did an excellent job of making it comprehensible to an outsider without over explaining. It was easy to become drawn into Meterling’s world on Pi and understand the expectations that were on her as well as to understand the consequences her decisions might have. As I am not from that culture, the importance placed on, for example, compatible horoscopes in marriage partners is foreign to me, but due to the excellent writing, I could easily understand its impact within Meterling’s family.
This is also a book of well-drawn contrasts and conflicts. I found it interesting to compare and contrast the viewpoint of the children to Meterling’s situation to Meterling’s own thoughts. A nice contrast is also set up between the colour, warmth and friendliness of Pi and the cold, greyness of London. This ties in well to Meterling’s emotional state at the time as she attempts to deal with the aftermath of the decisions she’s made.
The theme of adhering to traditions and society’s expectations vs following your heart is nicely explored through several of the characters and was, for me, one of the strongest aspects of the novel. It is turned around at the end as well in a neat twist.
Personally, I didn’t enjoy the Archer ghost storyline and this was for me the weakest part of the book. However, I could understand its significance and impact on Meterling.
All in all, I found this a gentle, easy read and enjoyed it. I gave As Sweet as Honey four stars out of five.