Disclaimer: The amazing humans at HarperCollins Canada were kind enough to send me an arc of The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions below are my own.
“There’s no greater show of love and faith than traveling a long distance for somebody.”
I adored this book so much! It was so clearly written for Indian women, and the cultural details that Jaswal added in, made my
little brown butt so happy!
This story starts with heartbreak with the death of Sita Kaur Shergill, aka the mother of our three main characters. Her passing is the catalyst for the story, as it is her dying wish that her daughters travel to India to complete a pilgrimage and spread her ashes at Lokpal Lake where a famous Sikh temple is located.
Rajni, Jezmeen and Shirina leave their homes in England and Melbourne and travel to India in the midst of their own personal issues. The three sisters don’t always get along, and the close quarters while traveling make for interesting interactions and intense reveals.
“…in the Sikh religion, we believe in serving food to anybody who comes to the temple, regardless of their creed, gender, or income… They don’t have to worship here. They don’t have to offer any services, or money.”
As a Punjabi woman living in Canada, I completed related to the Shergills’ reactions to visiting India for the first time. The feeling of not fitting in, in a place that you are supposedly “from”, the missing connection between “home” and the “homeland”. Jaswal brilliantly portrays the feeling of wanting to feel connected to a world and culture that you also feel distant from.
The story has some interesting twists that I did not see coming, but that many people will be able to relate to. Shirina’s story is absolutely heartbreaking, but sadly, is far too common. It is something the Indian community needs to change. We need to be better. Jezmeen’s story is insanely relatable, and I know the frightening feeling of not being enough is something so many people feel, myself included.
We get to see a little of Rajni when she is younger, and I think many young, Indian girls feel the way she does, especially those who live outside of India. The struggles she faces, everything from racism and wanting desperately to fit in to not connecting with her culture, are so relatable to young girls all over the world. Her story when she is older is rather entertaining, but I expect it is something many mothers/parents could relate to.
“…a sunrise is something that you shouldn’t take for granted… stand still and watch a new day beginning. Think of all the new days you have left, and reflect on how you will choose to spend them.”
Jaswal’s writing style is extremely engaging, and if I wasn’t interrupted by a family dinner, I would have finished the book in one sitting. The story is written so you need to know what happens next, you need to read one more page, one more chapter.
There are some amazing themes that deal with family, siblings, “tradition”, pursuing your passion, emotional abuse, and even rape culture.
I haven’t read Jaswal’s other book, Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows, but I already own it and plan to pick it up soon!
The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters releases on April 30, 2019, and I highly recommend you grab it as soon as it’s out!
Thanks again to HarperCollins Canada for sending me a copy of this book to read and review!
Note: All quotes above were taken from an advance reader’s edition of the book and are subject to change in the final release.