Saturday, August 10, 2013

Review: Jacob Hills

It's just another evening at the Tiller's Club.

Capt. Rana, a Young Officer training at the War College, stands at the bar, deliberately avoiding his pregnant wife, Heena. Saryu, village belle-turned-modern babe, drink in hand, chats up another YO. Her husband, Maj. Vikram Singh, shoots angry glances at her. The flamboyant Lt. Col. Gary Randhawa and his wife Pam chat merrily with the senior officers - who'd guess that they lead on underground swinger couples' club?

In a corner stands Eva, the beautiful Anglo-Indian wife of Maj. George Chandy, who finds herself at the heart of a murder mystery. The murdered woman's body is covered with cigarette burns. A six-year-old girl's wrist is similarly marked. Another little girl shows signs of severe abuse.

This is Jacob Hills: and army station that houses the War College. A world of genteel conversation, smart men and graceful women. Set in the 1980's - in a country on the cusp of tradition and Westernized modernity - Jacob Hills is the story of what lies beneath the smooth veneer. It's a noxiousness the Chandys must confront if their love is to survive Jacob Hills.

About the author
Ismita Tandon Dhankher is 'A Lesser Known Poet'. Her poem, 'I am Beautiful', won a prize in the Yahoo-Dove Indibloggers contest. She's also the author of the romantic thriller Love on the rocks, released in 2011.
Ismita went to Sophia College, Ajmer, where she studied economics, history and sociology. After acquiring MBA and a brief stint in the foreign exchange division of Thomas Cook, Mumbai, she took up poetry and prose wholeheartedly.
She's currently working on The song of the Sufi Masroof, a book of photographs and poems. Ismita blogs at

The cover of the book has a 1980's look and gives an impression of a thriller/suspense type book. It is plain and simple. The synopsis doesn't really tells much about the book, but gives an introduction to the different characters.

The book is set in 1980's, in Jacob Hills, a military camp near Shimla. Being set in an Army surrounding, it gives a whole lot of detail about the ways and functioning of army, including the boss-subordinate relations, the officer's club and the officer's wives. It also shows the hard realities of women abuser, child marriage and child abortion. Only a lady author could have written the book in such a detail mentioning even the minutest detail, specially the part where officer's wives is included.

The character building is done perfectly, spending just the right amount of time describing the character. The reader is able to make an impression of the character. The narration is plain and simple, and plot is beautifully built.

One of the most interesting thing about this book is it's alternate person narrative style. Each chapter is written from the point of view from a different character which makes the book even more interesting. It helps in giving an account from the point of view of different characters, such as the abuser and the one being abused, the lover and the hater. This is the main USP of this book.

Although I did feel the ending was abrupt, and could have been better, or the author could have spent more time on it.

 On the whole, this is an short enjoyable read. Read it for it's alternating person narrative style, the army related surrounding and the character building.

Rating: 3.5/5

Book: Jacob Hills
Author: Ismita Tandon Dhankher
ISBN: 9789350296493
Publisher: Harper Collins
Genre: Fiction/Suspense
Page: 263
Language: English

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