Thursday, October 27, 2022

Blog Tour: Lilac Skies by Shivani Bansal


Like most readers, I gravitate towards certain genres, certain settings and certain time periods. This doesn't mean to say that my attention can't be gained with something out of the ordinary.

When I saw the blog tour pitch for this book, I was instantaneously interested. At the shallowest level there was the purple on the cover (hello favourite colour). Then there was the blurb. The story starts in 1942 in India and then moves to Kenya. When's the last time you read a book with that combination of settings?

Even though there were no reviews anywhere online and I could find very little about the book other than the blurb, I volunteered anyway.

Sometimes when you take a risk on something different, it pays off. Other times not so much. Unfortunately, for me, it was the latter with this book.

We meet Meena in Punjab in 1942. She is a young girl who lives with her family knowing that she is loved. Yet she seems blissfully unaware and woefully prepared for the fact that it is her fate to be married to a stranger. It is therefore a shock when she is told that within a matter of days she will be married, and that her husband Amir resides in Kenya, and therefore she will be moving there with him.

Once she gets to Kenya, she realises that she will be sharing her home with both her new husband and his domineering and disapproving mother. She is lonely, missing her family, particulary her younger sister Parvathi. But loneliness and isolation are not her only problems. Soon, it becomes clear that her seemingly mild mannered husband has a violent temper 

The only bright spot for Meena is the arrival of her beautiful sister in law, Lakshmi who becomes her closest friend and ally, until suddenly it is determined that Meena and Amir are moving to London. Once again Meena is alone and apart from everyone she knows. Eventually she makes friends with her next door neighbour

Whilst this book touches very briefly on historical events such as the decline of the British Empire both in India and Africa, racial violence and a few other topics, there isn't a lot of focus on time and place. As a historical fiction reader that is something I look for to anchor the story. There is no doubt that Meena's life story was interesting, albeit grim with her life being affected by domestic violence, family rivalries, fertility issues and alcoholism.  Thank goodness for the strong and supportive female friendships which bought some hope and joy to the story.

There are now a handful of reviews on Goodreads, and it seems that I am very much in the minority on this one. And that's okay. It's probably a case of it's not the book, it's me.

If the setting sounds interesting to you, maybe check out other stops on the blog tour to see what others thought.

Rating 2/5

My thanks to Rachel's Random Blog Tours for inviting me to participate in this tour. 

About the book

Lilac Skies

Punjab, India. It's 1942 and Meena is still a girl when her parents tell her she is to be married, in five days, to a total stranger. What's more, he lives in Kenya. A different country, a different continent, thousands of miles away from everything she knows. She doesn't want to marry, but with four brothers and sisters, Meena knows she will be a burden to her parents if she stays. And it isn't her decision to make.

Nairobi, Kenya. Meena's new home is beyond anything she could have imagined. Nairobi is beautiful, but tensions under the colonial British rule run high. She is told she is lucky because her husband Amar is young and handsome, but all is not as it seems within her marriage... Tucked away from the outside world, Meena spends her time by the mango tree dreaming of going home... until she realises the friendships that she forges here are all she can hold onto. Going from girl to woman in a strange land, can Meena find a way to finally make her life her own?

Purchase Link -

About the author

Shivani Bansal has a First Class degree in International Relations and Politics, which has yet to be putto use! She works full time in digital marketing in the charity sector, and also runs a small baking business from home called Sweet Beginnings Bakes. She loves writing story ideas in her Pusheen notebook in her spare time.

Social Media Links–Twitter:


  1. An interesting concept. I think I'd want more of the history, too. But I'm also inclined to get sucked by a pretty cover that features purple!

    1. I am sucked in by purple clothes, books, purses. Anything really!

  2. My favorite color is also purple so the cover really caught my eye. I think I'd enjoy this. If I decide to get a copy I'll wait for the audio.



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