I received the book If You Only Knew Me by Divyata Rajaram as a review copy from the publisher as a part of the blog tour by The Book Club.
If You Only Knew Me is a story of friendship, passion and intrigue set in Dubai, arguably one of the world’s most exciting cities to live in. Rupali, Anjali, Dipika, Sakina and Monica are five NRI women whose lives are glitzy and exciting as they flirt with high society within the charmed social circles frequented by the Dubai expat community. Beautiful homes, designer clothes, shoes, fast cars and a lifestyle that is envied by all, there is very little these women have not attained. Together they have also woven the closest of friendships and must rely on each other to stay on top. Appearances are deceptive, though, and often the people you think you know the best, harbor secrets too dangerous to be shared. When tragedy befalls, the investigation that follows opens an ugly box of secrets that will test their friendship and find them struggling to make sense of the madness and deception surrounding them. Who can they really trust anymore? How far must they go in their fight for survival? How long will their friendship last once the masks have dropped and none can pretend any longer?
In Dubai, you never got what you saw. It was all a mirage.
Rupali Jahangir is a celebrated diva, married to Rohit, a suave business tycoon. Rohit was the risk taker, the proverbial devil in disguise, snagging impossible contracts, hobnobbing with the rich and famous and leaving his stamp of charm wherever he went. Dubai has loved Rohit Jahangir ever since he had moved there over twenty years ago from Mumbai, to set up his talent scouting agency, Raaga Star.
Rupali feels blessed to have her lifelines in Dubai, her friends like family are Anjali Sen, Dipika Luthra, Sakina Chaudhary and Monica Kapur, all having moved to Dubai around the same time and initially lived in the same area. They had shared their expat woes of settling in the city and making it a home away from home. Things had changed over time but the connection between them was still very strong.
Dipika Luthra, 36, has never married, has no love interests, no career and no apparent hobbies. She is obsessed with malls, shopping and the various discounts being offered at various outlets. Though she claims to be a writer, her friends know that she had never written anything in her lifetime. At night, she transformed into the night club queen. An enigma to most people who knew her, Dipika was endearing enough for her friends to love her without reservation.
Anjali Sen, editor of the Dubai Glam (DG), the most ardently followed fashion magazine in Dubai, is a tall striking girl with short cropped hair. Everything about her screams style: her minimal accessories, avant-garde clothes and the cheerful spunky attitude. Sharp witted with a great sense of humor, Anjali had studied and worked in fashion journalism all her life. She loves shocking people and the media loved her and wrote about her all the time.
Sakina Chaudhry perfected in making other people feel like losers. A smart woman, acutely incisive in her assessment of people and human nature, Sakina had a Masters in Psychology. She had quit her hotel job eventually and followed her husband, Adil, a successful banker with a large global bank, to Dubai. Dedicated and committed to work and family, Adil is described by people as rock solid and dependable. Boring was a word that had crossed Sakina’s mind more than once during their fifteen-year-long marriage.
Monica , 42, a petite, pretty lady with rimless glasses, had met the group through Anjali and they had all hit it off immediately. She is a lifestyle coach and has made a brilliant business of it in Dubai. Rakesh, her boyfriend of six years, adores her and supports her completely. Monica glowed with health and happiness and most people unhesitatingly admitted Monica was beautiful, both physically and mentally.
Adil and Rohit have an easygoing friendship, and Adil trusts Rohit to manage things. And all the girls and their spouses/ partners also meet together frequently.
And then, one evening, at a ‘do’ organized by Anjali at one of the hotels, tragedy strikes and police has to be called to investigate the matter.
The author takes the reader from a simple story of friendship of five girls to a thriller full of suspense and lot many other things. She has described the characters in detail making it easy for the reader to picturise them. She has also described Dubai in detail with all its malls and other places.
The story is simple and interesting and moves at a fast pace and the reader is compelled to read it without keeping the book down as he/she wants to know WHODUNNIT?
Enjoyed the book.
DISCLAIMER: I received the book as a review copy from The Book Club in exchange for an honest review. I have not received any monetary compensation for the same.