WRITING STYLE: 4/5
ENTERTAINMENT QUOTIENT: 2.5/5
If you’re a chick-lit buff who loves just the right amount of drama mixed with reality checks, this is the book for you. Love is Never Easy by Donna Dias Manuel is a fast-paced and engaging read. The synopsis of the book may read like a cliché of sorts, but the plot goes beyond the simple synopsis. In summary, the book revolves around three best friends: Nina, Rhea and Aisha. Nina lives in her dream city, New York. With a dream job and a perfect apartment to her name, she finds herself at crossroads with her husband Abheer – who does not quite share the same passion for New York. Rhea, too, lives her own chosen life in Australia but has a secret that she’s kept even from her closest friends. With a situation not very different from Rhea, Aisha too lives in Mumbai nursing a little secret. The “Wolf Pack”, as these three friends call themselves, is after all not as close as they’d like to be. That’s why they plan a well-deserved all-girls trip to Goa, which brings Nina and Rhea to India.
The book then goes on to explore each of their lives and secrets are slowly uncoiled, testing their relationships and friendships all at once. I believe what makes this book an easy and swift read is that the plot is simple and yet, riddled with the most engaging intricacies. The girls have a lot on their plate – decisions to make, decisions to live with. You might end up relating to their problems on some level – maybe not on a literal basis, maybe with more of an emotional connotation.
The writing in Love is Never Easy is as good as the last brilliant chick-lit you will have read. I believe the best kind of writing in this genre (where the writing style is fairly important, considering the ‘quirkiness’ of it brings in the humour and spunk into the story) can be identified when you read through the book and find yourself smiling even through the bad parts. There exists a dynamic between the friends similar to the one you may find in your own groups – jokes, taunts and the sheer, pure support. The “fun” element in the writing will keep you going, making you want to know more and more every characters and their lives. The characters have a way to ween you in and make you feel for them.
Personally, I found the story of Nina the most emotional and amazing. Here, the author has made sure to portray Nina’s relationship with her husband so realistically – fights that make sense, emotions that you can resonate with. I would like not spoil the story for anyone, but the way Nina finds her way through the problems in her life is inspiring, overwhelming at times. She is not an all-knowing, mature superwoman protagonist (as many female protagonists are shown as). She’s like you and me – emotional, confused, sometimes irrational, and strong through it all. Rhea and Aisha too, are strong, relatable female protagonists. The author knows how to build the characters that carry her story well.
Despite the writing and the characters, the part where the story started detaching itself from me was at the climax of the plot. A typical story uplifts the climax, makes it the highlight of the story. The central “problem” of the story inflates during the climax. But in Love is Never Easy, the problems start at the beginning and float through the plot, reaching its peak a few times in the beginning and near the end. There is no one point that can be called a “climax” of the story and that takes away from what could otherwise be an interesting plot. The story closes with an ending that is satisfying, happy or not. Though a little abrupt, the ending is will leave you happy for the characters.
Love is Never Easy is a novel about love, conflict, trust, friendship and most importantly a testament to how strength and confidence can hold up even the most difficult relationships.