Publication date: 25th January, 2017
‘Enta Habibi’—meaning ‘You Are My Love’ in Arabic—is a beautifully crafted book that presents five romantic stories handpicked from Reetwika’s fantasy collection. The author has come up with an innovative Love-Palette Connection Theory in this book, where she has creatively associated five shades of colour (namely Blue, Red, Black, Grey and Pink) with five vibrant genres of romanticism (Emerging Love, Failure in Love, Betrayals in Love, Immoral Love and Sweet & Sour Love), closely attributing the respective love themes with the discrete traits of the chosen colour shades.
The stories broadly revolve around the sugary romance between a newlywed couple, betrayals and hatred in love, the author’s haunting experiences at a vintage shelter, love-doomed murder mysteries, ground-breaking investigations by a lady detective, historical fiction, and bubbling romance with a sensual touch. The target readership for ‘Enta Habibi’ is mostly young adults; however; anyone who fantasizes about emotional intimacy will savour the reading experience.
Reetwika has explored a longish format of storytelling in this book and it has worked quite well for her. She has a penchant for mystifying titles and she ensures that an inquisitive reader will pick up a copy, if only to know more about the title. Quite helpfully, she explains the meaning of “Enta Habibi” in the foreword.
What is impressive is the level of research that backs each story. An avid traveler in real life, her adventures and experiences provide her with a rich base from which to pick and choose interesting plots. For the most part, she has created an interesting mix of stories, full of her signature twists.
What I liked:
I loved “Haunted Refuge at Itachuna Royal Palace,” which is historical fiction dealing with betrayal in love. The way the Kundan family history unfolds is riveting. The royal palace is described in sufficient detail for the reader to form a clear mental picture. I was a little unhappy about the end because I would have loved an ancient coin-filled treasure chest that makes the protagonist a rich guy overnight, but that’s just me.
“Love Just Happened” simply pulled at my heartstrings. I was rooting for the lead characters all the way. The story could have ended in many ways and the title wasn’t giving much away either. Are Sumi and Neelanjan going to meet again and will they live happily ever after? You almost don’t dare to read till the end lest it turns out to be something you don’t want.
“Two Onions & A Skull” required some re-reading because it was slightly complicated. A well-researched detective story, “Two Onions & A Skull” lays bare the nitty-gritties of the investigative process before the evidence is neatly lined up to reveal the murderer.
What I did not like:
I felt that “Miles Apart” and “Man of the Tournament” let down the collection. Both are predictable and offer stereotyped characters. Meghna, the rape victim in “Miles Apart” is filled with gratitude when a man proposes marriage to her, “despite knowing the hardest truth of her life.” Pragati, the ugly, dark-skinned, fat, bespectacled, and smart schoolgirl, pursues Rishi, the hunk of the class, and is rejected. These notions are normalized in society, but perhaps we could begin to make a change by presenting them in a different way.
“Enta Habibi” takes the reader through a wide variety of emotions in the span of a single afternoon. You can feel the adrenaline rush while you’re flipping through the pages. The book ended too soon for me. I’m eagerly waiting for more!
(I received a copy of this book from the author with a request for an honest and unbiased review.)
Get your copy of Enta Habibi here: https://literoma.stores.instamojo.com/product/52001/enta-habibi-adult-novella/