Trigger Warning: This novel and review discuss the following: pregnancy, cancer, women’s rights, Sikh culture & religion, sexual assault, prison, suicide, death.
Goodreads Rating: 5 Stars
I absolutely adored Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Kaur Jaswal, so I was very excited to see her follow up novel with The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters. For the second time around, I yet again listened to the novel via audiobook.
The novel introduces three sisters (in order of age)- Rajni, Jezmeen, and Shirina. Rajni is the eldest, a strict Type A who helped her single mother raise her much younger sisters, and is struggling with her son’s girlfriend who is almost twice his age. Jezmeen is a struggling actress who, after a poorly timed break-up and accidental viral Youtube video, is eager to take off for India with her sisters on a spiritual journey on behalf of their mother’s death bed request. Then there’s Shirina, who despite a modern upbringing in the UK decided to go traditional routes by having an arranged marriage and moved to Australia to live with her husband and his family, under one roof.
The three sisters aren’t that close and have always been at odds with each other, but now that their mother has left them to fulfill her last wishes by traveling together and spreading her ashes, they must cooperate. However, these three strong and independent women keep finding themselves in trouble in India. As one thing after another disrupts their trip, the three sisters have to start focusing on each other, and stop worrying about their own personal problems.
It’s a beautifully woven story of sisterhood and it’s complexities, as well as traditional verses contemporary spiritual journey. I absolutely adored Kaur Jaswal’s novel, and her writing is both fun and poetic. She knows how to write snappy dialogue but then get descriptive in a scenic moment. I not only felt like a fly on the wall of this family, but I felt like I went to India with these women too- bathing in the Ganges, visiting the temples, and going to the market.
Kaur Jaswal created such relatable and believably flawed characters. A Type A mother whose ideals don’t match her own actions. A self centered actress who is worried about being washed up. A woman who wants to be a traditional wife but can’t stand the acceptance of abuse from her mother-in-law. A mother who just wants her damn kids to stop fighting and see the beauty of life.
In the end, this novel had me both teary-eyed and cackling with memories of my own sisterly dramas. If you’re looking for your fix of drama, comedy, and wanderlust this summer, this is the perfect read for you!
TL/DR: The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters is a tale of sisterhood and family devotion, from the views of three sisters on a spiritual journey to India in memory of their mother.
Read it? Yes! Or listen to the audiobook- the narration is fantastic.
Recommend it? Absolutely. In fact, I recommend it so much, it’s my pick for a collaborative summer read recommendation post, hosted by Carol of The Reading Ladies.
Buy it? YES. This way, you can go to India with the Shergill sisters time and time again.
If you liked this novel or review, check out these similar reads:
- Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal
- The Girl Who Smiled Beads by Clemantine Wamariya
- A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum
- How to Be an American Housewife by Margaret Dilloway