Probably not very many people take a book with them to Jazzercise class, but I was early and really wanted to keep reading Climbing the Stairs by Padma Venkatraman, so I toted it along and did manage to read a few more pages before my workout began. If you have read this blog at all, you already know that I love historical fiction books and this book fits the bill. Set in 1941 in Bombay, India, this book gives a new perspective on life during World War II, showing how another country was affected by the war. Vidya, a teenager during the novel, comes from a life of some comfort. Her father is a doctor who has joined the freedom fighters, taking part in Mahatma Gandhi's efforts to peacefully resolve conflict. During this period, the British have a presence in India which is not regarded as a positive thing by the native people. Vidya is most worried about the fact that she could be married off, when instead she wants nothing more than to go to college. When her beloved appa, or father, is injured her life's plans are forced to change. She and her mother and brother, Kitta, are sent to live with her father's older brother, his family and her grandfather. While there Vidya's life continues to change as does the world when Pearl Harbor is bombed and America enters World War II.
This is a wonderful coming of age story set in an important period in history. To check out the Climbing the Stairs website click here.