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Summary

A woman embarks on an unexpected journey into her past in an engrossing novel about identity, family secrets, and rediscovering the need to belong.

Meena Dave is a photojournalist and a nomad. She has no family, no permanent address, and no long-term attachments, preferring to observe the world at a distance through the lens of her camera. But Meena’s solitary life is turned upside down when she unexpectedly inherits an apartment in a Victorian brownstone in historic Back Bay, Boston.

Though Meena’s impulse is to sell it and keep moving, she decides to use her journalistic instinct to follow the story that landed her in the home of a stranger. It’s a mystery that comes with a series of hidden clues, a trio of meddling Indian aunties, and a handsome next-door neighbor. For Meena it’s a chance for newfound friendships, community, and culture she never thought possible. And a window into her past she never expected.

Now as everything unknown to Meena comes into focus, she must reconcile who she wants to be with who she really is.

©2022 Namrata Patel (P)2022 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

Critic reviews

“A thoroughly entertaining rendition of one woman’s search for belonging.”Kirkus Reviews

“Full of lively characters who will win readers’ hearts and keep them thinking long after the book is finished, this book is a genuine, charming debut. Long-buried secrets and a journey of self-discovery will keep the pages turning.”Booklist 

“Namrata Patel’s debut is a delightful exploration of identity, community, and growth. I was drawn into Meena Dave’s captivating journey from the first pages and was rooting for her until the end. This poignant and witty story is perfect for book clubs!”—Saumya Dave, author of Well-Behaved Indian Women 

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What listeners say about The Candid Life of Meena Dave

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  • Estarovia
  • 07-06-22

Nice Story...

I like listening to a NICE story, not who killed who, or the scary thing that might get you when you are asleep. A nice story, a heart warming, heart rendering story to simply listen to and enjoy. THIS is one of those, not a fairy tale but with a happy ending, and a nice plot. Little tweaks here and there to get you wondering but not mind boggling.. I really enjoyed it

3 people found this helpful

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  • ds
  • 03-06-22

Immigrant/adopted child story

I recommend although at times I found main character whinny and pathetic. The story focuses on the search to find her spot of a young woman of Indian heritage. Book includes references to Indian food that I found interesting, but just assumed correct as I have no culinary experience. The encounter with the love interest sounded like a novel (if only attractive men were so easy to meet), but it is a novel. In general get if you are interested in things Indian and understand a search to fit in.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Thelma
  • 12-08-22

This was excellent!

This this this I mean I was totally taken by surprise with this book, like they said, totally unexpected a meet-cute moment I mean I really like it. I got this book I thought I was going to read something totally different but this was a very pleasant surprise.

I cried I got angry, and I laugh all the feelings you can feel with Meena Dave a photojournalist who spent her life moving around all over the world doing what she loves, taking pictures of things and moments that will inspire many others but still, she felt empty and alone no matter where she was, it was only to not let her mind think or see that she really was alone.

Meena never expected to inherit a home (Victorian brownstone) in Back Bay, Boston. a historical place that has a lot of secrets that will change her life forever.

I really enjoy the interaction of the Aunties with Meena even thou she was kind of apprehensive to let herself go and trust as in to trust all these new people that has to enter her time and space when she never wanted to have any company even less a property that will bring many questions and problems.

The Aunties were such a case, they had a lot of costumes Meena didn't understand, she didn't feel safe and didn't want to have interaction all the time, she felt somehow invaded and felt the need to maybe not to settle but hey life is weird or maybe we're weird and of coarse whatever Meena was feeling went to crazy hell when life brought these aunties and dogs and maybe a new guy that she will feel impossible not to fall in love.

Soneela Nankani was the Narrator who did an incredible job and brought so much to the story

Overall this was good

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  • Farha
  • 06-08-22

I read this book in 7 days and wanted more

beautifully written what a great story and the narration was just spot on would like to read more of this author

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  • Lil Red
  • 06-08-22

Not my cup of tea

I thought I would venture outside of what I normally listen to, but this was not it for me. The narrator was good, I just found the story lagged and was taking too long to get to wherever it was going and I also found it unrealistic with the “apartment complex “I did listen to half of the book maybe I shouldn’t have given up on it but after six hours in I’m out

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  • Janet Marie
  • 24-07-22

Couldn't finish

I listened until chapter 18. I just couldn't finish. There is no storyline. It is boring. I so wanted to like it but it went nowhere.

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  • Jamie Lynn
  • 23-07-22

Heartfelt and charming

A wonderful tale about one woman’s complicated life. The Indian culture is what drew me in, I love learning about other cultures and this one is my favorite. I figured out the big secret but that didn’t ruin anything. The writing was beautiful and heartfelt.

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  • BlueSky
  • 21-07-22

Narrator a bit annoying.

Story was fun - the mystery and setting in Boston.Unfortunately the narrator made the main character sound as if she was whining most of the time.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 13-07-22

Too much sorrow

The narrator did a very good job on this book. However, some people can write books with sorrow in them but can still make you smile and laugh at the same time. Others just like to drown you in it like too much ketchup on fries. I felt like the story was repetitive and tried to drown me in its sorrow. At the end I just felt soggy and limp.

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  • Tricia
  • 12-07-22

Predictable, often repetitive.

Followed the playbook, no plot surprises regarding the storyline centered on the romance. The parallel storyline concerning Meena's family tree slightly less predictable.