The House of Hidden Mothers, Hardback Book

The House of Hidden Mothers Hardback

3.5 out of 5 (1 rating)


"Moving and incredibly funny at the same time. A great achievement." (Richard E. Grant). "Dazzling. Intense and gritty at times, sparkling and hilarious at others.

I found it absorbing, witty, joyous and moving...and that's all I really want from a book!" (Jo Brand). "Witty and engaging." (Sunday Times). Little India, East London: Shyama, aged forty-eight, has fallen for a younger man.

They want a child together. Meanwhile, in a rural village in India, young Mala, trapped in an oppressive marriage, dreams of escape.

When Shyama and Mala meet, they help each other realise their dreams.

But will fate guarantee them both happiness?...Brimming with warmth, wit and indignation, Meera Syal immerses us in a devastating story of friendship, family and the lengths we will go to have a perfect life. The Houde of Hidden Mothers is her long-awaited third novel and shows Meera Syal at the height of her literary powers Meera Syal, CBE, is one of our most acclaimed actors and writers of stage and screen.

She starred in the hit series The Kumars at No.42 and recently in the BBC film of David Walliams' The Boy in the Dress. She is currently in David Hare's play, Behind the Beautiful Forevers at the National Theatre, and in the latest series of Broadchurch.

Meera Syal is also highly regarded for her funny, sharp and provocative fiction.

Her earlier novels are Anita and Me and Life isn't All Ha Ha Hee Hee (now available as a re-issue). The Housw of Hidden Mothers is her long-awaited new novel. "Brilliant. It is destined to be a bestseller. There is so much in it too. Beautiful writing, human frailty, love, vanity, friendship - but most importantly the shocking reminder of how woman are abused the world over." (Esther Freud).


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Amazon said this book was 239 pages long so I thought it was worth giving it a try when I wasn't completely sure it was my cup of tea. However, when it arrived it was 422 pages long! And its length is part of the reason why I'm giving it 3.5 stars and not more. I did really like most parts of this novel but there were bits when I thought it could have been cut down and I wouldn't have missed anything. But actually, this book is not so much about the surrogacy as it is about Indian families living in England, and family life in general.Shyama is older than her partner, Toby. They've been trying for a baby but no luck and they turn to a surrogate. They travel from London to Delhi, where Shyama's parents are from to visit a surrogacy clinic and they meet Mala, a young woman who becomes the carrier of Toby's baby. Shyama's late-teen daughter, Tara, isn't best pleased and is suffering from a lot of angst, and her parents, Prem and Sita, are nonplussed and in the middle of fighting a legal battle to get family members out of the flat they bought in Delhi for their retirement.As you can tell, there's quite a lot going on in this book. Overall, I enjoyed it and it certainly kept me interested and reading to the end, but there's just that niggling feeling that it was overlong. Meera Syal has a nice, warm style of writing and has created some interesting characters. She also writes in an appealing way about India. I haven't read any of her other books but I would consider doing so.