‘Bitter Sweets’ is Roopa Farooki’s first novel; it explores the effects of deceit across three generations of an unusual family, for whom the truth is, as Oscar Wilde put it, “rarely pure and never simple”.
Henna’s marriage was achieved by an audacious network of lies as elaborate and brazen as the golden embroidery on her scarlet wedding sari…
In 1950s Bengal, Henna Rub, a precocious, wayward teenager, brings off a brilliant marriage to a wealthy romantic, Ricky Karim, trapping him with a web of lies that she has spun with
her wheeler-dealer father.
And so on his wedding night, believing himself married to an educated, sonnet reading, tennis playing soul mate, Ricky Karim is horrified to discover that his new bride is in fact a lazy, illiterate, shopkeeper’s daughter.
As Ricky and Henna uneasily tolerate their loveless marriage of convenience, the way is paved for a future of double lives and complicit deception – an unspoken family tradition that is inherited
by their daughter Shona, who elopes with her secret love to live above a subcontinental sweet shop in 1980s south London.
But two decades later, with her own children grown, it is Shona who is forced to discover unpalatable truths about her loved ones, and come to terms with the lies which superficially hold the three
generations of her family together…and which are really keeping them apart.