#haveliseries #aparadoxofdreams #BookTHree
‘A Paradox of Dreams’, author Harshali’s third offering, moves away from its predecessors and into the mystery/thriller genre. Having dealt with the lives of Aruna and Bhavya, this novel delves into the mildly mysterious life of the third Sharma offspring, Charu.
Used as a pawn during the legal fight for the Haveli (Nicknamed Anwar by Charu) between Arun and his half-brother, who kidnaps Charu and holds her fugitive for a few days. Frightened by this, Uma despatches her daughter to her mother’s house. Charu’s maternal grandmother, a no-nonsense woman, runs a school for special children, and it is apt for Charu as she loses the use of her conventional vision. She is an empath, and several visions present themselves unbidden to her.
The novel starts with a blast from the past case for Charu. Ravi, her lover, heads an SIT where Charu works as a psychic consultant. Troubled by her dreams of a young girl in captivity, the case reintroduces her to an old lover, Prithvi Chauhan. Prithvi is a minister of a state, and his youngest daughter, Myra, is kidnapped so he wants Charu to chip in. Prithvi is loathe to involve the police in a personal matter and would rather his old girlfriend use her skills to locate his daughter.
With a plethora of suspects, Charu faces off not only with a wily antagonist but also comes face to face with her buried feelings about Prithvi that clash with her current ones for Ravi. Since the book is a crime thriller, I won’t get into the plot details for the risk of spoiling it for others.
The novel deals with sensitive yet chilling events that Harshali very deftly spins without going overboard. Charu comes across as an interesting character who may be afflicted with a physical ailment but it in no way compromises her strength. Of course, the novel marks the return of the beloved and myriad characters, Arun, Uma, Aruna, and her family, Bhavya and hers, Dheeraj, Etti, Fanny, and Ginny, along with Suresh Uncle and Gaurav. Ravi, the latest addition to the series, has made his presence felt in the first novel. The book cannot be complete without the narration of Anwar, the Haveli, who provides insights into the characters and their inner thoughts. As an added gift, it is hinted at how (and why) Anwar was christened as Anwar.
Harshali has the gift to create characters who stay with you even after the book is long finished. Maybe because they are sons/daughters of the soil who resonate and make their way into our hearts. She etches their longings, shortcomings, rationalizations, and their flaws with unerring accuracy. The language is lucid, and as always, the familial relationships are drawn with a fine, fine pen. It was with a growing sadness I raced through the book, knowing full well that another book is far away (Why, Harshali, why?)
My verdict? If you have read the previous two books (and you should!), pick this up as fast as you can. It can work as a standalone book but is more enjoyable if you grow with the motley crew.
‘A Paradox Of Dreams’ deviates from the first two in the Haveli series but is as enjoyable and insightful as the previous two.