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#Win The Storyteller's Secret by Sejal Badani (US)

A former attorney, Sejal Badani is the author of the bestselling novel and Goodreads Fiction Award finalist Trail of Broken Wings. When not writing, Sejal enjoys reading and traveling. 
 To learn more, visit www.sejalbadani.com Like Sejal on Facebook: /SejalBadani Follow Sejal on Twitter: @sejal_badani Follow Sejal on Instagram: @sejal_badani 




Praise for Sejal Badani’s TRAIL OF BROKEN WINGS

 “This book highlights the power of speaking and owning the truth” —Popsugar on Trail of Broken Wings

 “Sejal Badani’s Trail of Broken Wings (Lake Union) encapsulates the complexity of family life…A fascinating insight into the way families try to hide, bury, deny, suppress and control abuse and trauma.” —The Guardian

 “The writing itself lacked nothing.  The point of views were clear and once the story started flowing it really kept me wondering where they were going to go next...Badani did an excellent job of tackling a very real and delicate issue and doing it in a way that made it easily relatable” —Life is Story


Two generations of women embark on journeys to discover their strength and authentic selves within the exotic locales, traditions and complex history of India. Jaya’s world intertwines with her grandmother Amisha’s whose story both inspires Jaya to return to her love and helps her redefine the meaning of motherhood.  

 True stories are sometimes the hardest to believe—and tug hardest at the heart. From the highly acclaimed author of Trail of Broken Wings comes an epic story of the unrelenting force of love, the power of healing, and the invincible desire to dream.  Author Sejal Badani pays tribute to the tragic life of her grandmother in her new historical novel, THE STORYTELLER’S SECRET (Lake Union; Publishing/September 1, 2018; ISBN 978-1503949089/411 pages/$24.99). 

 Nothing prepares Jaya, a New York journalist, for the heartbreak of her third miscarriage and the slow unraveling of her marriage in its wake. Desperate to assuage her deep anguish, she decides to go to India to uncover answers to her family’s past. Intoxicated by the sights, smells, and sounds she experiences, Jaya becomes an eager student of the culture. But it is Ravi—her grandmother’s former servant and trusted confidant—who reveals the resilience, struggles, secret love, and tragic fall of Jaya’s pioneering grandmother during the British occupation. Through her courageous grandmother’s arrestingly romantic and heart-wrenching story, Jaya discovers the legacy bequeathed to her and a strength that, until now, she never knew was possible.


READ AN EXCERPT

PROLOGUE
SUMMER 2000

Twenty percent of women miscarry. Of these, 80 percent lose the baby in the first twelve weeks of their pregnancy. If you are more than thirty years old, you have at least a 12 percent chance of miscarrying, the percentage points increasing with each advancing year.
I can recite these statistics and more by heart. I have researched them endlessly since we first started trying. That was over five years ago. Since then, I have spent countless hours in the library and on the Internet, hoping for a new study or drug that improves the odds of carrying to term and delivering a healthy baby. But the results are always the same—for every baby born, many others never reach gestation. For every woman who juggles a child in her arms, another yearns for the cry of a child to comfort. For every couple that successfully fills a home with a family, another will never become parents.
I stare at the sonogram picture gripped between my fingers. First I turn it sideways and then upside down. I’ve memorized the black-and-white squiggly lines that surround the only image I have of my child. I give color to the portrait where there is none and imagine that the fluid surrounding him or her is clear and warm, like a bath. I am convinced that the screeching of my daily commuter train’s wheels against the tracks is altered to sound like a symphony, rocking my child to sleep. And the fear that permeates every cell of my body never breaches the uterus. Instead, my baby lives in a world of happiness and joy, assured of its future.
“Jaya.” My office door opens just an inch—enough for the intern, Elizabeth, to pop her head in. “Patrick’s on the phone.” Seeming confused, she glances at my phone where two lights are blinking. “I tried you, but there was no answer.”
“Sorry, I was working on a story,” I say. She glances at my monitor that shows a blank screen, but she doesn’t call me out. The truth is, I didn’t hear the phone ring or her knock on the door. “I’ll take the call.” I wait for her to close the door behind her before I pick up the phone. “Patrick?”
“Hey, babe.”
His voice is as familiar to me as my own. We’ve been together since college and married for eight years, so I know all of his tones and what each one means. The quick greeting tells me he’s staring at his computer screen while holding the receiver between his ear and neck. It’s late afternoon, so he’s probably on his fifth cup of coffee. In law school, he tried to cut the habit and succeeded. However, by the time he became a first-year associate at the largest firm in New York, he had increased his daily intake to between six and eight cups.
“Did you want to pick up Chinese tonight?” In the background, I hear him typing and then the shuffle of papers. “Or we can do burgers and fries. Again,” he teases.
It would be the fourth time this week, but since the pregnancy started fourteen weeks ago, burgers are the only thing I’ve craved. With the last pregnancy, it was Italian food, and during the one before that, I lost all appetite with the incessant nausea.
“Patrick.” My fingers curl around the picture, gripping it tight. My other hand presses the receiver against my ear painfully. “I . . .” I pause, unsure how to say the words.
He stops typing and inhales deeply. “Jaya?” I hear the heartbreak in his voice, and with it my breath catches. Without my saying more, he knows. “Have you called the doctor?”
“Not yet,” I whisper.
“When did the bleeding start?” His voice changes to the one he uses in the courtroom, while mine weakens until it’s nearly muted. This is our dance—the one we learned by necessity, not choice. With each step, I falter and he gets stronger.
It’s not who I ever thought I would be, but then I’ve learned life rarely works out as we hope. Patrick is the exception to the rule. For him, everything has always gone according to plan. A born litigator, he comes alive in front of jaded judges and unconvinced juries. With his classic good looks, deep voice, and sharp intelligence, he has successfully won enough cases to be voted in as one of the youngest partners in the firm’s history. It was what he expected, planned, when he graduated law school.
I, on the other hand, chose journalism. My love for the written word, matched with my obsession with facts and figures, made it the perfect career. My mother, disappointed, asked me, why not medicine instead?
“Two hours ago,” I admit.
I wait for a response from him that will tell me who he is now—the lawyer, the man, or the grieving father.
“I’ll meet you at the doctor’s,” he says, his tone clipped.
He is still the lawyer. In that mode, he will be able to lose himself in the medical details of the miscarriage and find acceptance in a way that I have failed to. I envy him his strength and yearn for my own, but it eludes me every time I reach for it.
“I’ll see you there.” I hang up before either of us can say anything else. Refusing to part with the picture, I tuck it into my pantsuit pocket for safekeeping.
I run my hand over my stomach and wait for a sign that tells me everything is fine. That there’s no need to rush to the doctor or worry about what she’ll say. I assure myself that inside my womb, my child rests safely, waiting to be born. I wait and wait. When there’s no sign, no indication at all, I push my chair underneath the desk and turn off the computer. I hit the light switch, plunging the room into darkness, and walk out the door.

***


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Comments

  1. This wonderful novel sounds captivating, emotional, profound and a real treasure which I would enjoy greatly. The women and their fascinating, heartbreaking and unforgettable struggles gives me hope and would be memorable and special.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sounds like a great book about the character and strength of women. Thank you for giveaway.

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