“I’ll make my sisters squirm like well-salted earthworms. I won’t sell. Even my jutti wont sell. And if I die na, then even my ghost won’t sell!”
The late Binodini Thakur had been very clear that she would never agree to sell her hissa in her Bauji’s big old house on Hailey Road. And her daughter Bonu, is determined to honor her mothers wishes.
But what to do about her four pushy aunts who are insisting she sell? One is bald and stingy, one is jobless and manless, one needs the money to ‘save the nation’ and one is stepmother to Bonus childhood crush-brilliant young Bollywood director Samar Vir Singh, who promised BJ upon his deathbed that he would get the house sold, divvy the money equally and end all the bickering within the family.
The first word baby Bonu ever spoke was ‘Balls’ and indeed, she is ballsy, bs-intolerant, brave and beautiful.
But is she strong enough to weather emotional blackmail by the spadefull? Not to mention shady builders, wily politicians, spies, lies and the knee-buckling hotness of Samars intense eyes?
Sharply observed and pulse-quickeningly romantic, this is Anuja Chauhan writing at her sparkling best!
Picking up a book by India’s one of the most popular contemporary authors, Anuja Chauhan, was a mighty task. I hadn’t read her before, but knew that her novel ‘Those Pricey Thakur Girls’ has been adapted into a television show. ‘The House That BJ Built’ is presumably the sequel of Thakur Girls. The blurb seemed quite grippy with catchy lines and the promise of a ‘joint family’ story. So I began reading the book like unwrapping a lovely glitzy Diwali gift.
Few pages into the story and I was growing a fondness for Bonu. She’s fierce, that’s probably the best adjective to describe her persona. She’s an entrepreneur, in whatever crooked way it might be, and is making her mark slowly into the lives of people she has employed. She lives with Bauji, taking care of him in a huge dilapidated house, with very occasional visits from her four aunts and his hotness, Samar Vir Singh. Now about Samar – he’s the stepson of Bonu’s eldest aunt, and an epitome of hotness, besides being a young filmmaker in Bollywood. The aunts arrive after Bauji’s death, each of them with their kitty of problems and a common cause – to sell the house.
Lot of tension and subplots follow, but mostly the sparks between Samar and Bonu are irresistible. They are attracted to each other, but have a battle to fight on opposite sides of the barbwire. Not spilling rest of the beans, you need to read the book to feel the warmth of a budding relationship. There’s a very delectable sensuous tension between the both of them in the later chapters. Parallel to the main plot, it makes a wonderful story. The writing, though quite a bit Indianised, makes you want for more, since Anuja has the capability to hook her readers to every page. At a whopping 432 pages, the book was a pretty good read and in fact, I’m now contemplating reading the prequel too.
Recommended for every reader of Indian contemporary fiction. Read for us, about us, written by us.
My Rating: 4/5
About the Author:
Anuja Chauhan went to school in Meerut, Delhi and Australia. She has worked in advertising for over fourteen years and has created many popular ad campaigns, including ‘Nothing Official about it’, ‘Yeh Dil Maange More’ and ‘Oye Bubbly’ for brand Pepsi. She worked in the advertising agency, JWT India, for over 17 years, eventually becoming vice-president and executive creative director, before resigning in 2010 to pursue a full-time literary career.
Language: English, Genre: Fiction/Contemporary
Author(s): Anuja Chauhan
Publisher: Westland Books, Year Published: May 2015
Binding: Paperback, Edition: First, Pages: 432
ISBN-13: 978-9385152184 , ISBN-10: 1259029832
Reviewed for: Westland Books