It’s a total co-incidence that the last two books I read were heavily based around airplanes and pilots. I definitely did not plan it as aviation isn’t exactly a hot interest of mine. Both these books were review copies provided by publishers.
Mistress of Honour
The first book I picked up was Mistress of Honour by Bhaavna Arora.
This book has its roots set firmly in the Indian army and air-force, and is an intriguing cross-generational love story. Potnis is in the Indian army and during Operation Blue Star, he meets and falls in love with Pansy. There begins a love story that transcends all the dangers that he has to go through being an army man.
Nearly twenty years later, their daughter Rihanna falls in love with an air-force officer and has to live through the tensions of being an army-girlfriend just like her mother did.
I thought this was a nice book that highlighted some of the issues faced by our soldiers when they are posted in dangerous situations, and the sacrifices that our military folks make to ensure that our country is safe. I wasn’t very impressed by either of the two love stories however. The progression of the love stories was a little flat, it felt very rushed, and is completely overwhelmed by all the military issues.
The military set-up was very well-done however making up for the blah love angle. However, if you go into this book expecting a strong and moving love story, you will be disappointed. The military manoeuvres are the highlights of this story. I enjoyed it overall for the military setting, and the details about some of the military actions (such as Operation Blue Star, and the Assamese ULFA action), however I do think the book would have fared better with equal attention paid to the romance.
And oh! I should probably mention the cringe-worthy sex scenes. I probably rated this book lower than it should be because ughh there can be nothing worse than a badly written sex scene.
On the same lines, I am thinking the words “diaphanous” should be just banned from the English language.
You can also purchase this book from Amazon
Simple Plane Love
Like you can deduce from the title, this is a simple plain love story. The main character is Captain Meera Khanna. At the start of the book, she is living the idyllic single girl life working as a pilot in the Philippines. When a torn ligament leaves her with some downtime, she calls her two best friends – Diana and Aditya and they make a fun vacation of it in Subic Bay.
Complications ensue when Diana who is wary of love falls in love with a man from the merchant navy, and Aditya who Meera considers a good friend suddenly proposes marriage to her. Will Diana shrug off her distrust and fall in love again? Will Meera give up her promising career and carefree life and settle down in marriage?
The rest of the book deals with how they resolve these dilemmas.
Before I start with the criticism, I should say that the author Priyanka Luthra is a great writer. She really is, and reading this book is a pleasure when she writes about life in the Philippines, the beauties of Subic Bay, and basically everything light-hearted that is going on in this book. The trouble though is that the book never does venture beyond the superficial setup.
The love stories of both the couples move extremely smoothly with nary a conflict. The only conflict is the girls reluctance to commit, and that also is smoothed away all too easily. All of them get along well and have cool day trips and go shopping and its escapist fun for some time, but the story doesn’t really build from there. And after a while I got a little bored. I think the tipping point in frothiness was the over-the-top Bollywood style wedding where Diana’s boyfriend turns out to be a Rajasthani royal and so she gets married in a palace.
Which is a shame really because I can see the writer is really talented, and I found the book easy, breezy, but because my expectations were heightened by her obvious talent, I was so disappointed that she chose to go the banal route with her story.
This is a good book to read on short journeys but nothing more than that.
You can also purchase a copy of this book from Amazon
Huge thanks to the publishers for sending me these review copies.