My rating: 4 of 5 stars
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
— William Shakespeare
Romeo and Juliet: Act II, Scene II
Echoing the classic quote from the fabled English poet, I, too, ask, ‘What’s in a name?’ Well, if one were to contemplate those surnames of the treacherously in love duo who have together been given top billing in Gloria Silk’s wildly alluring romance, First and Only Destiny, then one would doubtless procure an expansive comprehension of any given name’s importance—especially where it applies to both race and culture.
Can a devout Jewish woman and an equally devoted Hindu man vehemently love one another minus any cultural antagonism? Perhaps in a sliver of real-life cases, yes, but on the pages of this spiritually deverging fiction, absolutely not.
. . . For from where do wars and woes arise? From whence haileth striving? Yea, it is a waste of precious time for Man to become feeble of mind; for to be carnal minded is to be perishable.
Judaism and Hinduism.
These two are by far the oldest existing religions known to Mankind. While they are so similar, yet they are so dissimilar—only because each group, respectively, opts to worship in their nearly identical religious beliefs differently. In short, one group is inclined to believe—at least as far as tracings of the Old Testament are concerned—that they’ve an advantageous position, by race, over the other group. And for thousands of years has this belief been upheld, what the tenet of who God’s chosen people truly are. Although the aforementioned be not the only cause of hostile disagreements between the two cultures, it is in itself one of the primary reasons for their ancient religious clashings.
Which brings me back to the touched upon romance currently under review.
Lia Abraham and Devraj Shah.
Starring together in a love story heavily reminiscent of those timeless romances in which Romeo and Juliet, Prince Charming and Cinderella, and General Hospital’s very own Luke and Laura were ridiculously involved, are Lia Abraham, our adorable protagonist who portrays an Orthodox Jewish art major working towards her degree at university in London, and Devraj Shah, the tall, dark, and Bollywood-handsome future architect who portrays Lia’s new (and very first) love interest. After catching Lia sketching his jaw-dropping image in the college’s cafeteria, Devraj—sent forth from the almighty Shah empire of India to the higher learning institution to do his MBA in Accounting and Economics—immediately responds to the consummate brunette with the suavest of conversation, and in all due time, the couple (as much alike as oil and water, initially) descend into a vortex of forbidden love and defying insubordination.
Quarrelsome and seductively sensual, First and Only Destiny expounds the lives of Lia and Devraj as the couple—already pending products of arranged marriages—battle to become one against all the bigoted odds of their appropriate cultures.
The luciously created Devraj is goo-goo for the pretty, nevertheless timid, art wonder who is Lia, and she, too (although she brawls to deny it), feels the exact same powerful attraction to Devraj, desperately desiring to further explore this new sensation of erotic wonder that the Indian heartthrob has such a justified way of stimulating within her. But mind-boggling confliction is the law of the virgin Lia’s land, as she also wants to please the purist wishes of her pro Jewish and treacherously strict grandparents—most notably her gran, Baboola—who would surely lament over a million Torahs in bone-crushing anguish were they to ever learn of their delicate granddaughter’s blasphemous Hindu lustings. For it was they who raised Lia up from her small childhood after the somber deaths of her parents, and neither of the elders take their joint responsibility as her guardians lightly. Meanwhile, the vulva-sprung Devraj is ready, willing, and able to renounce his entire pedigree, along with its practiced Indian Dharma, just to spend the rest of his determined life with the culturally conditioned homebody, Lia, whose art and resolution to satisfy the selfish wants of Baboola are her combined primary life source.
As the brief and rapidly-paced narrative unfolds and explodes into a starburst of man-eating eroticism between the two disallowed lovers who are Lia and Devraj, the steamy dialogue somehow manages to remember that there is a coterie of others in the same room, sharing the same stage in the however complicated drama.
Aside from Baboola, the small cast list also includes Dedda Abraham who stars as the grande dame’s perfectly Jewish husband and Lia’s grandfather; Eliza, Baboola and Dedda’s mutinous, bed-hopping daughter and Lia’s doting aunt; Ella, Lia’s fair-haired musical wonder of a best friend and she-maverick; Jim, Devraj’s arrogant loverboy of a best friend and Ella’s significant other; and Howard, the Ashkenazi Jew for whom Lia will be severely pressured (by her grandparents, no less) to desert Devraj—in order to be joined together with the former in an arranged matrimony not of her choosing.
Only one of these men will be able to possess the beautiful and delicate Lia Abraham as his own. But which man will Lia choose? Will he be her scrumptious true love who is the Hindu Adonis, Devraj, or will he be the brilliant future physician who is the Baboola-appointed Howard?
I would benevolently counsel you, dear reader, to keep on hand a Kleenex. . .or two. . .or three, that the time-honored tissues may capture the stream of tears your eyes are bound to shed—no doubt as a result of this touching narrative bearing its overtly emotional soul right before them.
Though the setting place for this transient fiction be a foreign one (London, specifically), even still, the spirit of First and only Destiny flows ever so Westernized, presenting an interesting and well-selected cast of characters to whom many an American romance novel devotee is for a surety to relate.
In subtle contrast, however, this effort’s dialogue is flawed only by missing pages and troublesome printing errors that shown in its prologue and at the beginning of each new chapter. Barely visible on pages that resembled monochrome positive photography, the fuzzy words of the storyline were somewhat difficult for me to discern, despite my donned reading glasses. Nevertheless, I would still recommend this respectable fiction (the first in a series of stand-alone novels) to those of you who comfortably dwell on the avenues of romance and contemporary fiction in the prestigious—and supremely cherished—literary community.
Go on. Find your destiny.
• It is my kindly pleasure to thank Creative Hummingbird Results publishing, as well as Gloria Silk herself, for the author-issued copy of First and Only Destiny in exchange for my honest review.
Analysis of First and Only Destiny by Gloria Silk is courtesy of Reviews by Cat Ellington: https://catellingtonblog.wordpress.com
Date of Review: Sunday, March 11, 2018