Book Review: ‘The Rainbow Acres’ by Simrita Dhir


The Blurb

In the spring of 1916, seventeen-year-old Kishan Singh is euphoric in his village Noor Mahal in Punjab, British India, as he dreams of going to college, landing a government job and marrying his heartthrob Roop. Summer flies in with promise but ends in disaster when heavy rains flood the fields, wrecking the cotton crop and triggering influenza which leaves behind a trail of dead villagers. Kishan Singh’s dreams are ruthlessly washed away. Devastated, he sets off on a life-threatening voyage across two oceans for a distant and unknown land.

On a cataclysmic day in 1919, Sophia’s idyllic world in Guadalajara, Mexico, falls apart when she becomes a hapless victim to the ravages of the Mexican Revolution. She battles hunger, poverty and near prostitution before embarking on a perilous night journey across the border.

Will their paths cross in the land of opportunities that is overrun with racial and class barriers?

The Rainbow Acres is a moving saga of migration, selfless love, fortitude, friendship, and the quest for land and identity, set against the backdrop of old Punjab, early California and revolution-torn Mexico. 

The Rainbow Acres is part of Amazon India Memorable Books of 2018 and has also made it to Amazon India The Very Best Fiction from Winter 2019 list

My Review

I found this to be a captivating debut novel!

The title intrigued me, as did the blurb. This historical adventure cum love story drew me in with its tender yet passionate portrayal of two completely different cultures that come together thanks to overwhelming personal tragedies. The story affirms that dreams do come true borne on the wings of hard work and perseverance. The hardships faced by the protagonists are realistically, heart-rendingly portrayed and makes the reader cheer all the more for their successes.

I enjoyed the imagery that made it possible to relive a bygone era in lyrical, technicolor prose, although, impatient to get back to the action, I did skim over a few of the descriptive passages. The two parallel stories of Kishan and Sophia come together beautifully in the end.

A fab read!

Here’s where you can grab a copy:

About the author

Simrita Dhir grew up in Punjab, India in a family of distinguished academics. A national-level debater, writer and actor in school and college, she is a Duke of Edinburgh Gold Standard Awardee. A recipient of the Chancellor’s Medal for Academic Excellence in Post Graduate Studies, she received her PhD on Toni Morrison from the Department of English and Cultural Studies, Panjab University, Chandigarh. An avid reader, some of her favourites are Prem Chand, Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay, RK Narayan, Ismat Chughtai and Nirmal Verma alongside other literary stalwarts of Indian and World Literature. 

Simrita has contributed to leading newspapers including The Times of India, The Indian Express and The Tribune. She lives with her husband and their son in San Diego, California where she studied Advanced Rhetoric at the Department of Rhetoric and Writing Studies, San Diego State University. She teaches Literature, Writing and Critical thinking to undergraduate students across San Diego County. The Rainbow Acres is her debut novel.

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