Haunting Jasmine by Anjali Banerjee
What better way to get over a broken heart than moving into a unique, welcoming bookstore, filled not only with fabulous books but a few wise (less than living) writers, too? As long as they can spin a convincing yarn, why quibble with such minor details like life and death? Sign me up and throw away the key!
In Anjali Banerjee‘s third novel for adults (her eighth overall), about-to-be-divorced Jasmine heads home to remote Shelter Island in the Pacific Northwest where she’s agreed to watch Auntie Ruma’s bookstore for a month. The respite is just what Jasmine needs to extricate herself from her painful LA life, filled with constant separation battles with her cheating soon-to-be-ex. Auntie Ruma needs the time to have her “heart fixed in India,” and only Jasmine can be entrusted to take care of the historic Victorian and the treasures that lie within …
Without Crackberry and internet access, Jasmine is forced to unplug. Instead of planning complicated investment strategies, she’s soon drawing on literary reserves she didn’t realize she had to lead the local book club, then donning magic rabbit ears for a much younger audience. The local townies seem to know a bit too much about her, her bookstore’s single employee Tom is less than patient with her, and that mysterious stranger is a bit too bold!
Meanwhile, books are either glowing or tumbling off the shelf, she’s seeing and hearing things that are just not rationally possible, not to mention the dust and disorder wreaking havoc on her good senses. How will she survive a whole month …?
Banerjee has created another fast, light read, this time with a few spine-tingling twists. Jasmine seems to almost be an adult version of her last middle grade title, Seaglass Summer, with both protagonists finding respite and renewal on a Washington coastline island. Two books, two islands … might this be the early beginnings of a 21st-century, chick lit version of Yoknapatawpha County in the Northwest? It’s already starting to sound like an inviting literary destination …
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