The author has visited Arctic islands and has lived in India and you can tell a lot of her own experiences have gone into the book, giving the storyline a really authentic feel. The Arctic Curry Club maybe wasn’t the traditional cosy romance I was expecting, although there is love in the story. However it is most definitely a heart-warming read!
About the book
But there’s a cost: the aromatic cuisine rekindles memories of her enigmatic mother and her childhood in Bangalore. Can Maya face the past and forge a future for herself in this new town? After all, there’s now high demand for a Curry Club in the Arctic, and just one person with the know-how to run it…
‘For my whole life I had been looking for home. But why would that be in a place that I’d left? Perhaps I had to keep moving forward in order to find it…’
Cooking gives Maya more confidence and it was lovely to watch her self-esteem grow as she began to make friends, find out more about herself, feel more secure in her abilities and become happier in her surroundings. I do love to watch a character grow throughout a book and Maya most certainly did that.
A tender and uplifting story about family, community, and finding where you truly belong – guaranteed to warm your heart despite the icy setting!
Dani Redd is the debut author of The Arctic Curry Club, which was longlisted for the Lucy Cavendish Prize. She has an MA and PhD in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. This involved research trips to some of Europe’s remoter islands, including Spitsbergen, in the Arctic Circle. After this, she spent two years living in India. She now lives in Norwich with her husband, and is working as a food editor while writing that tricky second novel.
In her loneliest moment, Maya opens her late mother’s recipe book and cooks Indian food for the first time. Through this, her confidence unexpectedly grows – she makes friends, secures a job as a chef, and life in the Arctic no longer freezes her with fear.
Soon after upending her life to accompany her boyfriend Ryan to the Arctic, Maya realises it’s not all Northern Lights and husky sleigh rides. Instead, she’s facing sub-zero temperatures, 24-hour darkness, crippling anxiety – and a distant boyfriend as a result.
I was lucky enough to win a proof copy of this book so thanks to the publishers Avon Books UK for that. I was very intrigued with the idea of the combination of a snowy location and a curry club which I don’t think I’ve come across before. And talking of snowy locations, I couldn’t resist taking a photo of my proof copy when we had a smattering of snow a couple of weeks ago!
I really felt for Maya. It becomes clear quite early on that she has mental health issues including anxiety and has very little confidence in herself. You can tell that this is linked to the death of her mother and her early life. She has very little memory of her younger years which she seems to have blocked out. There is a layer of intrigue as we sense that her father has been keeping something from her. As she begins to cook from her mother’s cookbook for the first time, repressed memories bubble to the surface brought back by connections to food. If you don’t want to cook (or buy!) some Indian food after reading the mouth-watering descriptions of the dishes Maya cooks, I’d be really surprised.
About the Author
One thing that was different about this book right away is that the main character, Maya, does not immediately fall in love with her new surroundings when she moves to the Arctic with her boyfriend, Ryan. Rather than being entranced by the beautiful, snowy conditions, Northern Lights and cold starry nights, she finds it bitterly cold, unwelcoming and bleak. It’s not that surprising when we learn she is on Longyearbyen, an island so far north that it is almost constantly dark and Ryan seems to be constantly either at work or at the gym leaving her feeling increasingly isolated.