Tuesday, January 9, 2018

When Childhood Friendship Turns To Love

With: Sonali Dev

Giveaway Alert!

There’s just something about knowing someone as a child. Childhood friendships that last into adulthood are a special kind of bond. My favorite stories are the ones where I get glimpses into the childhoods of adult characters. For me, it instantly connects me with the character and gives them context and makes them real people, which in turn make them memorable. 

A Distant Heart explores my love for the childhood bond. The book is set in two timelines, where we get to grow up with Kimi and Rahul in the past while also facing their considerable challenges in the present.  Kimi, at the age of eleven is confined to a sterile room in her mansion in Mumbai for twelve years because of a rare illness, and Rahul is a servant in her house because he needs to pay off a debt to her father. He ends up befriending her and becoming her eyes to the outside world for twelve years until a heart transplant sets her free.

To me Rahul and Kimi have a connection that feels essential to who they are, because it’s a connection that has developed during the harshest time in their lives. But the only reason they get a chance to make that connection in the first place, and get exposed to each other as who they are on the inside despite all the socially constructed distance that separates them, is that they were children when they first met. When we’re children the barriers between us as people aren’t solidified. It’s a more vulnerable time, a time when we haven’t yet stopped looking at each other because we can’t look past who we’re supposed to be. It’s a braver time.

It’s because they meet as children that a connection so deep happens between Rahul and Kimi. And its a really good thing that their connection is that deep and strong because it’s  going to be tested hard once they grow up. No matter how much they learn to cover up and protect themselves from hurt and fear of loss, what gets them through the conditions that test them is their connection and vulnerability not the armor they’ve tried to develop as adults.

Another thing about Rahul and Kimi’s story that I love is that they both have to deal with having no control over their circumstances but the way each of them deals with this is entirely different. From a very young age, Rahul has agency in ways that Kimi doesn’t. This is a two sided coin. His having agency comes with weighty responsibilities. The way he deals with the weight he carries is through self-denial, because he believes he can only deal with pain by avoiding it entirely. He believes that he doesn’t have the luxury to indulge in things that will cause pain, so he makes them unavailable to himself. Love is one of those things.

Through all of this Kimi sees the person he is on the inside, she sees past his experiences and past all the adult weight he has to carry as a child and it helps him find his own lost childhood. And it’s all the more powerful because she’s carrying the weight of unusual responsibilities and restrictions as well. They’re aware of the work the other has to do, but they aren’t focused on that like everyone else around them. The first time he sees her he says it was like “unexpectedly spotting your reflection while passing a window.”  I think that sums up their relationship perfectly and it’s what I think every relationship is trying to achieve.


Infused with the rhythms of life in modern-day India, acclaimed author Sonali Dev’s candid, rewarding novel beautifully evokes all the complexities of the human heart in A DISTANT HEART.

Her name means “miracle” in Sanskrit, and to her parents, that’s exactly what Kimaya is. The first baby to survive after several miscarriages, Kimi grows up in a mansion at the top of Mumbai’s Pali Hill, surrounded by love and privilege. But at eleven years old, she develops a rare illness that requires her to be confined to a germ-free ivory tower in her home, with only the Arabian Sea churning outside her window for company. . . . Until one person dares venture into her world.

Tasked at fourteen years old with supporting his family, Rahul Savant shows up to wash Kimi’s windows, and an unlikely friendship develops across the plastic curtain of her isolation room. As years pass, Rahul becomes Kimi’s eyes to the outside world–and she becomes his inspiration to better himself by enrolling in the police force. But when a life-saving heart transplant offers the chance of a real future, both must face all that ties them together and keeps them apart.

As Kimi anticipates a new life, Rahul struggles with loving someone he may yet lose. And when his investigation into an organ black market ring run by a sociopathic gang lord exposes dangerous secrets that cut too close to home, only Rahul’s deep, abiding connection with Kimi can keep her safe–and reveal the true meaning of courage, loss, and second chances.

Infused with the rhythms of life in modern-day India, acclaimed author Sonali Dev’s candid, rewarding novel beautifully evokes all the complexities of the human heart.

Available at:


 “Searingly asks its characters what they’re willing to do for the people they love… explores family dynamics, class issues, and many layers of guilt, hope, and determination in ways that are both distinctly Indian and universally luminous. Another beautiful, breathtaking novel from a not-to-be-missed author.”— Kirkus, STARRED Review
“Dev crafts another thrilling story filled with intense drama, deep emotion, and well-developed characters; a can’t-put-down book.”—Library Journal, STARRED Review
“Thrilling action sequences and a complex, weighty romance propel this smart, sensitive story. A natural wordsmith, Dev dives into the psyches of disparate characters with voice-driven prose that includes both chilling insights and quirky humor… This poignant, sensual, and exciting tale captures a range of emotions and conflicts.”Booklist, STARRED Review

“Award-winning Dev returns with another of her emotionally resonating stories that explore, in depth, the intersection of friendship, love, sacrifice and desperation… There is a tremendous richness to this story… A truly captivating tale of friendship and love. Dev always delivers!”RT Book Reviews, 4.5 Stars, TOP PICK!

About Sonali Dev
Sonali Dev’s first literary work was a play about mistaken identities performed at her neighborhood Diwali extravaganza in Mumbai. She was eight years old. Despite this early success, Sonali spent the next few decades getting degrees in architecture and writing, migrating across the globe, and starting a family while writing for magazines and websites. With the advent of her first gray hair her mad love for telling stories returned full force, and she now combines it with her insights into Indian culture to conjure up stories that make a mad tangle with her life as supermom, domestic goddess, and world traveler.
Sonali lives in the Chicago suburbs with her very patient and often amused husband and two teens who demand both patience and humor, and the world’s most perfect dog.
Sonali’s novels have been on Library Journal, NPR, Washington Post, and Kirkus’s lists
of Best Books of the year. She won the American Library Association’s award for best romance 2014, and is a RITA® finalist, RT Reviewer Choice Award Nominee, and winner of the RT Seal of Excellence. She was hailed by NPR.org as a ‘stunning debut’.

Connect with Sonali at: Website | Facebook | Twitter| GoodReads | Amazon


Sonali will be giving away an ebook copy of A CHANGE OF HEART to one lucky reader leaving a comment or email entry.

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST Jan 10th. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email maureen@JustContemporaryRomance.com with a subject title of JCR GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway. 


  1. I am intrigued by the story line. I would be interested in reading this book.

  2. reading A Distant Heart right now actually and really intrigued by it so far!

  3. looks interesting

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  4. Sounds good



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