A Distant Heart Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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Audible Audiobook, Unabridged
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Library binding, Large Print
Her name means "miracle" in Sanskrit, and to her parents, that's exactly what Kimaya is. The first baby to survive after several miscarriages, Kimi grows up in a mansion at the top of Mumbai's Pali Hill, surrounded by love and privilege. But at 11 years old, she develops a rare illness that requires her to be confined to a germ-free ivory tower in her home, with only the Arabian Sea churning outside her window for company...until one person dares venture into her world.
Tasked at 14 years old with supporting his family, Rahul Savant shows up to wash Kimi's windows, and an unlikely friendship develops across the plastic curtain of her isolation room. As years pass, Rahul becomes Kimi's eyes to the outside world - and she becomes his inspiration to better himself by enrolling in the police force. But when a life-saving heart transplant offers the chance of a real future, both must face all that ties them together and keeps them apart.
As Kimi anticipates a new life, Rahul struggles with loving someone he may yet lose. And when his investigation into a black market organ ring run by a sociopathic gang lord exposes dangerous secrets that cut too close to home, only Rahul's deep, abiding connection with Kimi can keep her safe - and reveal the true meaning of courage, loss, and second chances.
Infused with the rhythms of life in modern-day India, acclaimed author Sonali Dev's candid, rewarding novel beautifully evokes all the complexities of the human heart.
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|Listening Length||10 hours and 36 minutes|
|Narrator||Soneela Nankani, Neil Shah|
|Audible.ca Release Date||December 26 2017|
Top reviews from other countries
Though I could read it as a standalone, it was good that I had read A Change Of Heart, as there are huge connections between the two stories.
The whole book has an element of Rapunzel, though there is no evil witch kidnapping a princess, with much darker underlying themes.
Kimi is a young woman in her prime, but she hasn't been able to live her life the way she wants, because of extreme health problems, despite being the daughter of a once huge Bollywood star turned politician.
She has a most unlikely friendship with Rahul, a 'chawl' born lad to whom Kimi's father owes a huge debt.
The story jumps from the present to the past as we slowly unravel a tale about different forms of love and the extremes we would go to to keep our loved ones safe.
Parental love, sibling love, romantic love, forbidden love... All there.
Wrapped up with the horrors of organ trafficking and gangsters, huge lies that threaten to destroy many relationships.
It took me a while to get into the swing of the story, but once I was it, I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. I had guessed what the conclusion would be early on, but it was more the way it unfolded that captivated my attention.
That and the seesawing relationship between Kimi and Rahul, from childhood to the present day.
Read it! But read the other books, too, to go really deep into the story!
First things first, this is not a standalone novel. It really is necessary to read the previous book, A Change of Heart, before starting this one as the plot actually begins in that book (and it you really should read The Bollywood Bride before A Change of Heart. It isn't necessary to read the first book in the series, A Bollywood Affair, before reading the others--but you really should because it is awesome!).
I will say that I had a minor issue, completely of my own making, between these two books. Rahul is introduced in A Change of Heart, and I pictured him completely differently than he's presented here. This is not Dev's fault--nothing in her previous book contradicts how his character develops here. Instead, it was what I put on him in the previous book. The fact that I recently did an audio re-read of A Change of Heart and the narrator used a much older sounding voice for him didn't help. Again, this wasn't a problem with the book, but something I had to adjust to. Once I got used to him, I really enjoyed Rahul. I found him to be much deeper than we usually see with romance heros. I have to admit that I fell a little bit in love with him--not that I want Kimi out of the way, mind you!
Kimi, oh Kimi! I need to start this by saying that I adored her--but I'm not sure I can describe her in a way that doesn't make her sound a little annoying. She reminded me a bit of one of those overly cheerful people that seem oblvious to others troubles (but in a good way!) She is more than a bit self-centered (but in a good way!) and she definitely is a bit spoiled (but in a good way!) I told you--it isn't going to sound like she'd be likable, but she really is! She is the sort of person who just want to have around you, who would do anything for those she cares about.
While there is a dark central plot here (can you get darker than black market organ theft?), this is one of the lighter books in the series. It is a retelling of Rapunzel and I loved how Dev allowed Kimi and Rahul's relationship to grow. Things start as a friendship--and a real friendship So often, we get "friendships" which are really just precursors to someone wanting to get into someone else's pants. Kimi and Rahul's, however, seems much more organic.
This is the only book in the Bollywood series to be set completely in India (well, nearly--there is one short foray to Hong Kong). The description is so detailed that you feel like you are there. I could almost smell the spices that permeate the air. Most striking is how well Dev illustrates the differences between the haves and have-nots in this society. So, while this is a retelling of Rapunzel, it also has strong Dirty Dancing overtones, and there is nothing bad about Dirty Dancing overtones!
I think I say this in every review I've done of Dev's books, but I just love her writing. Both Kimi and Rahul's personalities are wrapped up in the words that Dev uses. Plus, there are just some lovely passages. This particular one hit me so strongly that I marked it in my book (and I never mark up my books!):
"Contrary to what people believed about her, she didn't believe that she was the center of her universe. She was in fact someone whose entire existence focused on wanting a universe she could be part of."
See! I told you that Kimi was fabulous, despite everything I also said about her!
I can't recommend this book enough--actually, I can't recommend this entire series enough. Sonali Dev is the author who got me back into reading romance, and I will be forever grateful to her for that.
Rahul is still trying to crack the black market organ ring, and Kimi becomes a target of reprisal by the crime lord. While I enjoyed the book and further examination of Indian culture, I had two problems/concerns with the book. First, Rahul is presented as a super-intelligent, unbelievably expert investigator, yet I feel it takes him a very long time to figure what is really going on and why Kimi is in danger. Second, the pacing of the book seemed to drag around the middle section. Once I got to the last third of the book, the pacing to me sped up and I had trouble putting the book down. Despite the reservations, I thought this was an excellent book, and a nice closure to this saga. If you liked A Change of Heart, then read A Distant Heart!
THE STORY: Kimi and Rahul meet as children. Kimi, the only of eight children to survive birth has medical issues which require her to be isolated. Rahul comes to Kimi house when his father in murdered while protecting Kimi's father. In order to pay the debt of his and his siblings education, Rahul insists on working. While cleaning the mansion's windows, fourteen year old Rahul meets Kimi. The two begin a friendship that lasts to adulthood. Then things get complicated.
OPINION: This is a beautiful book that takes place in India but centers on the universal human themes of loss and love and living. A companion to A CHANGE OF HEART, this book tells the story that readers of that book got glimpses of. The book is told in varying points of view and also takes place over time and asks for some commitment from the reader. In return, the reader gets a book that is part romance, part suspense, part life drama.
Kimi and Rahul are a classic friends to lovers story mixed in with impending loss at every turn. The characters are strong and vivid. The story has a strong sense of time and place detailing the complexities of the cross-class romance in India.
I knew where the story was headed on the mystery front early on (there are quite a few clues in A CHANGE OF HEART) but I was enthralled by the intense connection between Kimi and Rahul and how their past is slowly revealed.
The depth of the story comes from how the characters deal with the possibility of loss and about letting go and when not to let go. This is not a fairy tale HEA, but rather a HEA about living ones life no matter what the outcome might be.
WORTH MENTIONING: This book is told in varying points of view over a period of years.
CONNECTED BOOKS: A DISTANT HEART is the fourth book in the Bollywood series. The books generally are loosely connected and can be read as standalones, but this book is closely connected with A CHANGE OF HEART and I recommend reading that book first (it is fabulous) because they are almost companion books.
STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.
NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to provide a review. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.