Love Potion Number 10


Aah, what a lovely long weekend it’s been. It’s been a full weekend, with family visiting from Chennai, lots of shopping, cooking, even a little golf, and general catching up.

In the middle of all this hullabaloo, it’s also turned out to be a weekend of reading. That’s because once I started reading Love Potion Number 10 by Betsy Woodman, I just couldn’t stop. I was so enchanted by it that I finished it in a single session.

Also, I knew my mom would love this book. I had praised the book to the skies to her, and I needed to finish it up so she can take it home to read on her journey back to Chennai.

So what’s the book all about?

I’m not going to tell you too much about it. It’s a book best uncovered one page at a time over a hot cup of chai or soup, all curled up under a blanket.

Here I am merely listing the bare bones of the story.

This book is the second book of a proposed trilogy by author Betsy Woodman.

It’s a very simple book about the joys of the simple things in life. The first book in the series is Jana Bibi’s Excellent Fortunes that I think came out last year. I didn’t actually read the first book, but was curious enough to give the second one a try after reading so many positive reviews.

The story is about Jana Bibi – a fifty-nine year old lady who is an Indian citizen but of Scottish origin. She lives in a fictional small town in the Himalayas (somewhere in present day Uttarakhand is my guess) in the early 1960s. The town is very sweetly called Hamara Nagar (our town), and is small enough that everybody knows everybody.

In this book, Jana Bibi and her fortune-telling parrot Mr.Ganguly are receiving a lot of unwanted attention. It appears that there may be a plot to steal Mr.Ganguly, and Jana Bibi and her friends are on their guard. Also, some romantic possibilities appear on the horizon, and it seems that Jana Bibi may find love at last.

How do things work out for Jana Bibi and her friends?

My thoughts

I loved this book. Loved, loved it. It’s rare that I wholeheartedly enthuse about a book. As a book blogger, I tend to notice the weaker aspects of a book a lot more than I used to.

And even though the book does have its flaws (a too neatly packaged ending), I can totally overlook it and recommend this book to all and sundry.

Read this book not for the fast-paced story (it’s not one of those), but for the engaging characters and colorful setting. If you ever feel nostalgic about the good ole times this book is right up your alley.

There have been some reviews online comparing Betsy Woodman’s writing style as a cross between R.K Narayan and Ruskin Bond and while I wouldn’t go that far, she does take me to an India that I missed out on, and which I know about only from my grandmother and mom’s retelling.

Another great thing about this book? It’s completely inoffensive. I can heartily recommend it to people knowing that I will not offend anyone’s religious or moral (no violence or sex in this book) sensibilities. Hell, I can tout this book’s virtues to my mother! It’s great when I come across a book like that 🙂

Thanks to Penguin Random House for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

You can also purchase this book from Amazon

  • Sounds lovely. It reminds me of ‘Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand’ by Helen Simonson which had such charming characters and a village setting.

    • @Anjana: Oh, does it. I haven’t read Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand but if it is anything like this one, I should give it a try.

  • mahabore

    It is not very often that you come across a book which is ‘slow paced’ as you term it and engaging at the same time. Plus the fact that you have given away very little of the plot in terms of only the name of the protagonist, her parrot and a subtle hint at a love story makes the whole book very intriguing.

    Nice review.

    • @Jairam: Thanks. I didn’t really want to reveal too much about this one. The story is very simple and if I start getting into it, the fun of reading it will be lost.

  • I love the catchy title 🙂 Will definitely give it a try sometime 🙂

    • @Malvika: Oh, do, only unlike me, I think you should read the series in order 🙂

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