Intelligence is nothing without hard-work, character and ambition.
Title: Showers of Luck
Author: Nadia Ayesha
Genre: Multi-cultural fiction ; World War II ; Romance ; Young Adult
I received this Advance Review Copy from Penguin Random House SEA in exchange for an honest review.
You miss all the chances you don’t take.
A story of two young Peranakans growing up and falling in love in pre-war colonial Singapore
Inspired by a true story, Showers of Luck follows the life of two characters, Lily and Khalid, in pre-war colonial Singapore. Lily is a hard-working young nyonya who stays with her distant aunt’s family, the Kongs, following the advice of a fortune-teller that she should be given away after birth. As Lily learns domestic skills, she yearns for a life beyond her home. She admires Khalid, her handsome Muslim neighbour, who is trying to study hard for his Senior Cambridge examinations and fulfill his filial duties to his divorced parents. Spanning a period of two years in pre-war Singapore, against the backdrop of a world preparing to go to war, Lily and Khalid’s paths intersect time and again. Consumed by their desires, the couple navigate societal judgment and challenge familial expectations in a brave attempt to start a new life together.
He wondered what it was like to live in a country that was not his own. Would most things seem like a pleasant surprise or a rude shock? He supposed it depended on the person looking at the scene. Mr. Shepherd had said the same thing could be seen so differently by two people. What was delightful to one person could be odious to another.
Showers of Luck is a multi-cultural fiction inspired by the author’s maternal grandparents’ love story. This plot takes place in Pre-colonial war Singapore where the lead characters are living. Lily is a young Nyonya from a Peranakan background, she lives at her aunt’s place. Whilst her cousins are sent to school, Lily is asked to focus on domestic skills as it is important for a woman who is destined to get married. Lily craves for education and the love of her mother who visits her once in a while. On the other hand, Khalid is an Indian Muslim origin young boy. He is in school and preparing for his Senior Cambridge examination. He is ambitious and goal-oriented. How these two young teenagers from a completely different ethnic, social and cultural background encounter and fall in love with each other against all the odds is the story of this book.
The story has a subtle and calm aura to it. Certain books will fill you with tranquillity and soothes you despite the turmoil going through the underlinings of the plot. Showers of luck is one such book. This book will open the doors to new cultures and lifestyles of the Pre-colonial war in Singapore. This book will make you realise how much you didn’t know about various cultures and their traditions so far. Especially if you are in no way related to South East Asian countries.
The writing style of the author was effortless and smooth. Her writing has a whiff of innocence, childlike, rebellious and vintage element to it which made the book all the more enchanting to read and experience. The book had lots of Baba Malay words infiltrated into it. Initially it seemed extremely difficult to make sense of particularly if you are someone who don’t know anything about the language but as the plot marched forward it got easier to get accustomed to it.
One thing that was obvious was, irrespective of culture and land, the world always had a way to curb women’s freedom and stop them from making their own decisions. The author had captured the tiny winy details of patriarchy through the happenings of Kong’s household. Lily’s thirst to learn English and her desire to apply the language she has learnt in real life has been written down beautifully. Despite Lily leading a monotonous life at the Kong‘s, every day the author had something new to show the readers about Lily’s everyday life. The way in which Nadia Ayesha has written about Lily’s everyday chores like stitching or helping their servant maids (majies) with cooking or cleaning has been written extremely therapeutically. For example, how the author has talked about the stitches Lily made every single day will provide the readers with a sense of satisfaction and completeness, such is the author’s writing style.
The plot line is narrated from both Lily’s and Khalid’s perspectives. Whilst, Lily‘s parts are mostly concentrated within the household, Khalid’s part will give you an insight into the outdoor world of those times. With both these narrations, the readers will be able to get the best of both worlds. Khalid’s character is a well-thought-out and perfectly written one. His ambitions, self-doubts, competitiveness, and the urge to prove himself with his grades, all of these made his character more real and relatable.
Lily’s relationship with one of the servants (majies) was one of the best things about this book. Unkindly and not-so-conventional friendships are the best thing. Lily’s love for her young cousins even though she is hardly allowed to spend any quality time with the were exhibited timely and strongly. The jealousy that ooze out of her when she sees another kid alongside her mother showcased how much she longs for her mother’s love and presence in her life.
Showers of Luck slightly covered the tension that was prevailing in Singapore before the war broke out. The author has also precisely spoken about the political happenings of the world of that time. Through Khalid’s eyes, the author has revealed how the people of Singapore believed the Britishers will stop the war and keep Singapore safe.
The major and the best thing about this book that will blow your mind off and make your heart full is Lily and Khalid’s love story, especially in a pre-colonial world where everything was rigid and extremely stereotypical. Their interracial and multicultural romance was such a gem. Their dates were so pure and fashionable old school. Despite all the societal prejudices about their interracial relationship, how they focused on their relationship and stood together till the end was heart warming. Everything about this book was awesome, right from the beginning to the very end. How the book ended was another best part of this book.
It amazed Lily how no one could predict the future but lived like tomorrow was certain
First of all, I am super glad that I completed my 2022 with this amazing book. I was having a bad time with the previous read before this book but ultimately, this book rescued me and helped me end the year on a good note.
I started this book without much expectations, what completely fascinated me was, post completing this book I got to know this book was based on the author’s grandparents. She has also shared a picture of both of her grandparents. This was the WOW moment for me.
One part of Khalid’s ancestors were from Pondicherry which made me so happy as it’s my place of birth 😛 I know it is totally unnecessary information but still, I wanted to share. We also try to connect with the characters personally, I was able to relate with Lily and Khalid a lot. The astrological factor which made Lily’s mom to leave her, the stereotypical ways of locking up girls inside the household and taking pride in women’s chastity and many more. Though we are all culturally, ethnically and geographically different and distant, they are always factors that would be relevant to us.
I completely loved the book. This book gave me a little bit of insight into Peranakans, their culture and traditions about which I had had little or no knowledge about. The cuisines and festivities of both Chinese and Muslim families were exquisite and rich.
My rating for this book would be 3.9 out of 5 stars
I would like to recommend this book to people who are into multicultural fiction or Asian or South East Asian books. This book would be absolutely worth your time.
If a person knew nothing about the future, then all things are possible.
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Happy Reading Folks!