I haven’t read many Indian authors though I’m a voracious reader. It’s not like I don’t like reading books written by Indian authors but I am more into fantasy fictions and Indians haven’t contributed much to the genre but I hope I will get to read many fantasy fictions written by Indians, soon. Now, when I started reading “love on the rocks”, to be honest, I didn’t expect much. The title made me think that it would be another love story with a girl and a boy running around trees, playing mind games. Well, that’s how Indian love stories will be, right? Pardon my prejudice…
I’m not familiar with either the life on the sea or the Malayalis’ life which seems so different from the life at Bangalore. Anyway, that’s not the point here. What I wanted to tell is that the plot of the book surrounds a ship named Sea Hyena and a Malayali protagonist, Sancha.
Sancha, who worked as a voice trainer at a BPO meets a sailor-Aaron. They fall in love instantly and then get married too. Like all sailors’ wives, even Sancha is left to wait for her husband to return from sea.
After six months of their marriage, she plans to join her husband on board, of course, for a vocation. She soon learns about the mysterious death that happened on board before her arrival. Even the police had given up on the case and declared it as an accident but she would just not accept it. Her instincts told her otherwise and she knew that something wasn’t right. She helps the investigating officer, Raghav, get a lead on the head cook’s death case, while he was on board to catch the thief who emptied Captain’s locker.
Sancha’s presence of mind, analytical abilities and beauty attracts Harsh Castillo to his best friend’s wife, while she sees him as nothing more than a friend. Not only Harsh, even I liked the way she never gave up on finding the murderer, even when things were not so good between Aaron and her. However, she decides to leave the ship when she could take no more of her cheating husband, who was also a suspect for the head cook’s murder. But the murderer couldn’t continue outsmarting the police and other suspects forever, and finally Raghav solves the mystery, of course with little help from others.
One character that was more interesting than Sancha was Manna. He was lonely, bet and sad, and death followed him wherever he went-not his death though. Throughout the book I suspected him to be the murderer but couldn’t figure out who exactly was Manna.
The language that Ismita Tandon Dhankher has used is simple and the characters are so full of life and so much life-like. The plot wasn’t dragged and there aren’t too many twists and surprises that would have made the plot look made-up rather than realistic. When I finished reading the book, I felt like there could be a woman by name Sancha somewhere, and Manna too.
I liked Sancha’s sense of justice alright but she believed everything that she saw or heard, or sometimes, what her instincts told, instead of finding out the truth. She sounds rude most of the times; acerbic, as Harsh Castillo describes her attitude in the book.
I shall rate the book 3.5 out of 5 and would suggest that everyone read it too because I truly enjoyed reading it.