Leela’s Surrender by Reva Venkata is the story of a young girl Leela and her long-lost childhood friend Anil. They are as different as chalk and cheese. He likes making things happen, being a part of change, she fears change. He seeks out change and she always runs away from it.
The blurb (from Amazon):
On a flight back to India, Leela didn’t expect to be seated next to her long-lost childhood friend Anil, now a handsome and powerful businessman. Strong-willed and fiercely independent, Leela has built a life overseas all on her own. But as problem after problem faces her in India, Leela has no choice but to turn to Anil. Leela knows she is walking into dangerous territory by accepting Anil’s help. But as every look and every touch draws her closer and closer to Anil, can she safeguard her heart and her independent life?
Leela is the daughter of one of the most prominent and historic Iyer Brahmin families in Mysore region of South India. She is a doctor and after her beloved scholarly father passed away, and her family is broken and devastated following rumours regarding her broken engagement, a family brokered arrangement, she accepts residency position in New York University and flies to the US within three months of graduating from Medical School. After four years of working as a medical resident in New York City, she finds a place for herself in San Francisco and an opportunity to create her own life. During all these years, she has been on a self-imposed exile and her contact with her family is minimal- an occasional letter, a monthly phone call and half her pay check.
Now, Leela is travelling from San Francisco to Bangalore via Singapore as her mother is seriously ill. She is travelling in business class for the first time and the person on the next seat is Dr Anil Chowdhury. They had last met seventeen years ago, when he was 16 and she was 10. He was a part of her childhood, for as long as she can remember, he had always been there in the background. They have a lot of shared history. He worked in her home after school in order to earn extra money for his family. It was a win-win situation for both her family and Anil.
Both their families were from South but never mixed socially. Anil had spent the first thirteen years of his life in Manchester, UK after which a business disaster forced his family to move back to India, to Bangalore when he turned sixteen. He studied medicine at Bangalore Medical College scholarship to transfer to Oxford University to study medicine there. Now he has a medical company, Brahma, which has been the focus of his life, twenty four hours a day, seven days a week for the past fifteen years.
It is raining when they reach Bangalore and with no means of transport, she is forced to not only accept a lift from him but also stay at his home. And situation forces her to take his help in going to her home. they are attracted to each other but, Mayuri Srinivasan, her old childhood friend, social worker in US, does not like Anil, tells her that Anil has the reputation of being an extremely ruthless businessman and warns Leela against him.
The cover is beautiful. I loved the story. The author has used simple language to develop the plot and present the story. The characters are well developed and the story flows in a way that the reader gets involved in the story from the beginning. I loved the characters and their conversation.