Women's Fiction

Shadowed Promise – Sunanda Chatterjee

From India’s poverty to America’s Riches: a fascinating story about a young woman struggling to find her way in life and to come to terms with her past whilst following her dream


When you firmly believe to be the cause of other people’s bad luck – how can you stay around those you love? When disaster strikes you promise to protect an innocent life – but are forced to leave. Do you abandon your responsibility to escape a life of poverty? Will you hold on to the promise even if it destroys your happiness? Is it possible to overcome a shadowed past?


Eighteen-year-old Moyna lives with her aunt and uncle in suburban Bombay, India. Her parents have been killed in a car accident and according to her aunt, that’s Moyna’s fault. In fact, every bad luck anyone around her experiences is her fault. It’s imprinted in Moyna’s mind and will destine her life. Moyna’s cousin Tania is expected home from college in Delhi when riots break out. Will Tania come home safely? She does, but as it turns out she is pregnant, bringing shame on her family.

When the outbreak of violence comes close to home and Tania has to get to hospital disaster strikes: Tania is being slashed down and dies in hospital, while her baby boy is being delivered. True to her promise to Tania to protect her child, Moyna takes responsibility and names him Avinash, Avi – the indestructible. In an impulsive act Moyna puts both herself and her school friend Karan, who was also killed in the violence, as the parents on Avi’s birth certificate. Avi will not grow up an orphan.

Moyna’s dream is to go to America and study at a renowned university but baby Avi is her responsibility. Her aunt and uncle are in shock, grieving over the death of their daughter and there is only Moyna to look after Avi and them, even if they despise her. Bound by her promise  Moyna fears she has to give up her dream. However her aunt wants Moyna to leave and be as far away from Avi as possible, so no harm will come to him because of Moyna’s dark shadow. She is bad luck, remember.

Every doubt leaves Moyna’s mind as she finds a brochure of Southern California’s School of Law in Los Angeles in Tania’s belongings while at the same time receiving a letter from the same University, offering her, Moyna a scholarship based on her excellent exam results. This is her destiny, she will study law in Los Angeles and keep Avi safe because of the distance between them. Moyna is terrified and thrilled but determined to do whatever it takes to become a lawyer in memory of Tania.

At University Moyna and fellow students, Lupe and Aaron, become best friends for life. Moyna also meets Sameer, son of an Indian immigrant, now a successful lawyer. Sameer, who doesn’t want to follow his father’s footsteps, is captivated by Moyna, her beautiful eyes, her warm smile. She reminds him of a girl his best friend Jeff was smitten by while on vacation in India and Sameer cannot wait to get acquainted with Moyna. She is attracted to Sameer – but fears her curse will bring him bad luck.

Moyna is dedicated to her study, determined to do what it takes to fulfil her dream of becoming a lawyer. But what about her love life, can she overcome the curse of bringing bad luck to the ones she loves? Back in Bombay – now called Mumbai – there’s Avi. What will his reaction be when he finds Moyna’s name on his birth certificate? Moyna’s aunt is desperate to keep Moyna away from Avi, but she made a promise to Tania. Can Moyna hold on to her promise even if it destroys her life?

No matter how much knowledge Moyna acquires and how well she adapts to her new life in America – she still struggles with her curse, her inability to bring happiness and safety to those around her, her fear for violence induced by her presence. Will she forever be haunted by her bad omen? The shadow of the past is always present and Moyna knows one day, she has to face it.

My Thoughts

It is a fascinating story of a young woman, coping with her past and fate.  Moyna is kind, intelligent and yet naïve and insecure. Imagine from childhood on being told that you caused your parents’ death, that you are a curse to the lives you touch – how would you feel? Would you possess the strength, the courage to alter your life, to start afresh on the other side of the world? Because that is what Moyna does – you have to admire her determination and dedication building her future.

Sunanda Chatterjee has written an inspiring and intriguing novel, a pleasant and interesting read. What I love about the book is, that the author doesn’t judge nor opinionate, but paints a picture with her words, telling the story as it is. The reader easily sympathises with the characters and learns where they come from, what drives them, what fears and motivation they have. It’s a book that combines and entwines the culture of America and India, respecting both worlds.

About the Author


Freelance author, blogger and ex-Indian Air Force physician Sunanda J. Chatterjee is a practising pathologist in Los Angeles. The themes of her books are family dramas, romantic sagas, immigrant experience, women’s issues, medicine, and spirituality. ‘Shadowed Promise’  is her second novel (Jan, 2016). Her first novel ‘The Vision’  is published in 2014. Her third novel ‘Fighting for Tara‘ is published in June, 2016. 

Book Info 

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 Paperback   228 pages
 Publisher   CreateSpace Independent Publishing  Platform (9 Jan. 2016)
 Language   English
 ISBN-10  1519620799
 ISBN-13  978-1519620798

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