Tides Don’t Cross | Simar Malhotra | Book Review

Tides Don’t Cross

PLOT: 3/5

My Musings

Sometimes a gorgeous book cover has the same kind of effect on you as one caused by an outbound train. Both come with the promise of something new and wonderful. The feeling of anticipation that they both capture so vividly is nothing new to a reader or a traveller. Often it is the anticipation itself that causes much more joy than the actual journey.

When I first looked at the cover of Tides Don’t Cross, I felt the same kind of anticipation, the same kind of emotions surging through me. My mind was excited in the hopes of a promising read and my hands were unable to keep themselves off the book. With such butterflies in my stomach as only a reader can have, I sat down to read Simar Malhotra’s Tides Don’t Cross. Read on to know more about my thoughts on this book.

What to expect?

Tides Don’t Cross isn’t your regular “masala” novel. Nor it is your classic literary read. Instead, it’s a decent attempt at finding the mid-point between these two genres and a good one at that.

Additionally, it also gives you a juicy Bollywood type vibe; something that might sound like a put off to a few readers, but to others, it might just be another reason to give this book a try. Personally, for me, the Bollywood angle simply didn’t work out but more about that later. So, in simpler terms, this is a medium paced romance cum family drama.

Let’s talk about the storyline

Neelam Siritiya who married for love doesn’t want the same fate for her daughters. Reason – she thinks life choices motivated by passion do not fare well when it comes to two things –sustainability and stability.

Her own marriage has been a perfect testimony of this notion. The early death of her husband only further glued the belief in place.

Having managed her late husband’s business and the upbringing of her two daughters all by her herself, she has now become a control freak. From the biggest business decisions to the most trivial household matters, every single thing has to have Neelam’s stamp of approval.

This has led to exact opposite behaviour in her two daughters. Mrinalini, the elder of the two siblings has become even more docile. Everything from career choices to marital choice to her outfit choices is decided by her mother.

On the other hand, Rukmini who has always thought of herself as a free bird has become ever more intolerant of her mother’s many dictates. She has now turned rebellious and it will be safe to say that her life choices are generally the exact opposite of what her mother wants them to be.

This book is the story of these three women and how a guy changes it all for the three of them.

How good are the characters?

Though there was a good amount of attention given to character creation and development, I felt that there was something missing. The characters of Tides Don’t Cross were too “filmy” for my taste and most of the time a lot of their actions were dictated by stereotypical notions. They behaved in exactly the same way I expected them to, and that for me was the missing element. They were too standard, too cliched to be wowed by.

Let’s discuss the author’s writing style

The author has a penchant for creating emotional scenes. The beauty with which she captures loss, love, friendship, betrayal and indifference between the book’s many characters is noteworthy.

I also liked the way the book portrayed the uniqueness of Indian families and the changed dynamics of Indian families in the twenty-first century. The life of an immigrant and the raging issues of racism and communalism are also captured in this book.

Was the climax any good?

The climax ended on a satisfactory note but was quite predictable. The kind of intense and passionate ending that you usually expect from such family-cum-romance dramas was indeed missing.

It was not the end that was bad but, the unimaginative way in which it was written, that spoiled the climax for me.

What I particularly liked

What I liked the most about this book is the clarity of thought with which it is structured.

Tides Don’t Cross is divided into 3 sections. The first two sections tell us the stories of Mrinalini and Rukmani but the third is where the stories of the sisters intertwine.

How Rukmani and Mrinalini, who lead such different lives and stay thousands of miles away from each other, come together in the end; how their paths which lead them to such varied destinations converge in the end – it is this aspect, this convergence of their destinies that I loved the most.

What I particularly disliked

Coming back to a thought that I previously hinted at in the earlier paragraphs – the Bollywood angle.

Now, the book will make for a good Bollywood masala, but that doesn’t work for me as a reader. The blatant stereotypes, the cliché behavioural patterns, the too predictable ending was what put me off as a reader.

It all boils down to the entertainment quotient

In the end, Tides Don’t Cross doesn’t lack entertainment. It slows down in the middle but it doesn’t compromise on entertainment. For readers who come looking for romance and drama, this book will not be a disappointment.

Pick up the book

  • If you are looking for a decent but breezy Indian drama.
  • If you enjoy books that sometimes read like Bollywood movies.
  • If you enjoy romance cum family dramas.

Skip the book

  • If you don’t like dramas/ family dramas/romance dramas.
  • If you don’t enjoy slow reads.

Can’t wait to read it? Buy a copy of Tides Don’t Cross using the link below.


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