As a girl on the brink of womanhood in 1960s India, Shanti Bamzai has big dreams. Rather than enter into an arranged marriage like her sister, Shanti embarks on a journey into the unknown, leaving her family home behind for an education and a chance to chart her own destiny. While India experiences an upheaval of cultural and societal changes as old-world traditions collide with the modern global era, Shanti navigates college, a marriage of her own choosing, and motherhood, fighting a constant battle between the pressures of traditional expectations and her own burning desire to be an artist and an independent woman. A move to America presents exciting new opportunities, but Shanti is disappointed to find herself still hemmed in by the restrictions of her Indian upbringing. As her children become adults and her marriage becomes a shell of what it once was, Shanti must find the courage to step out of her husband’s shadow and into the life she’s always dreamed of.
“An Immigrant Wife reminds me of Emily Alone by Stewart O’Nan. The story spans a much greater time period, but both novels deal with personal growth and life lessons, big and small. The author, Madhu B. Wangu, has written an enjoyable story and created unforgettable characters, especially the beautiful descriptions of art and the wonderful food descriptions. The author also skillfully portrays the artistic growth of the protagonist, Shanti, through her painting and cooking. This is a lovely, quiet story written lyrical.” Meredith Cohen (Author, Aftertaste)