By Betsy Woodman. Grade A
In the previous installment of Jana Bibi’s (Jana Bibi’s Excellent Fortunes) adventure, we saw her rescue Hamara Nagar from a dam construction that would have displaced one and all from their home town, thus putting the quaint, little hill station on the map. And none of this would have been possible without help from her quirky parrot, Mr. Ganguly, her loyal ayah, Mary, and the eclectic townsfolk of Hamara Nagar. When the second book in the series was launched, I was more than excited to find out what lay in store for Jana and her friends!
In the newest Jana Bibi adventure, Hamara Nagar is rocked by an espionage scandal. Now that the dust has settles and the town is safe from the threat of being flooded by a planned government dam, all eyes are on Jana and her feisty parrot, the target of a potential kidnapping that puts Jana and her household on edge.
Meanwhile, love is in the air and, thanks to the appearance of an old flame and the intoxicating elixir Love Potion Number 10, Jana is giddy-hearted with the possibilities. She sees love and connection all around her. Everyone in her bustling home, however, from her long-time ayah, Mary, to her 11-year-old errand boy Tilku, think that what’s missing from her life is a husband. A visit from Jana’s friends Lily and Cyrus, accompanied by Cyrus’s recently widowed cousin and business partner Max King, leads to hopes that Max might fit the bill. But the trio’s indulgence and hedonistic lifestyle clash with Jana’s simple existence.
Set in the 1960’s, Love Potion is the second book in the series which debuted with Jana Bibi’s Excellent Fortunes. With its eclectic cast of lovable characters, gentle wisdom and good cheer, this charming tale of love, adventure and intrigue is sure to lift the most cynical of spirits.
The latest book in the Jana Bibi Series picks up from where it was left in its first one. The Jolly Grant House warmly welcomes one and all, with the signboard of Jana’s fortune-telling salon proudly hanging on its gates. Jana’s fortune-telling endeavour has brought to her a lot of fame, along with the townsfolk of Hamara Nagar. The town seems to be bustling with tourists and research students, and big businessmen looking towards this small town for new profitable ventures.
Having saved Hamara Nagar from getting submerged by a proposed dam, Jana and her parrot seem to become famous over the country. And of course, fame comes with a price as Mr. Ganguly is now the target of a high-profile gang of bird-nappers, and Jana must save her parrot. Meanwhile, love seems to be in the air in Hamara Nagar. And with the return of an old-flame combined with an intoxicating elixir ‘Love Potion Number 10,’ Jana starts to see love and connections all around her. And love is exactly what her entire household thinks is missing from her life.
As with the previous book, Betsy Woodman does not fail to take you back in time. Her narration is such that you feel that you are a part of the characters in the book, cheering for their successes, and feeling delighted when the bad guys’ plans are foiled. Though we were introduced to many characters in Jana Bibi’s Excellent Fortunes, the second instalment in the series revolves mainly around Jana, Rambir and Kenneth Stuart-Smith. That said, we get to meet many new people who become an important part of Jana’s life.
The pace of the story is a bit slow, but completely in sync with the setting of the story and cultural norms of the 1960’s. At no time in the book did I think: “Gosh, get over with this part already!” The language is calm and simple, and almost innocent; and I was left with a smile on my face as I turned the last page. If you liked the first book, you will definitely love this one!
I would recommend this light-hearted, yet warm read to one and all. Be sure that it will leave you asking for more at the end, as I am awaiting the next in the series!