Book review | Lallan Sweets by Srishti Chaudhary
Author: Srishti Chaudhary
No. of pages: 301
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Published by: Penguin India
Published on: 6th July 2020
My rating: ★★★★☆
It is 1995. Tara Taneja lives in the small town of Siyaka, running Ultimate Mathematics Tuition Centre and working for Lalaji, her grandfather, at Lallan Sweets, his famous sweet shop. The laddoos sold at the shop are made using a secret family recipe that contains a magic ingredient known only to Lalaji.
When Lalaji chooses to retire, he decides that Lallan Sweets will not be inherited but earned. He devises a quest for his three grandchildren-Tara, Rohit and Mohit-to discover the magic ingredient. Whoever finds it first will get to run the shop.
It helps that Tara's long-time crush and neighbour, fun-loving and good-natured Nikku Sabharwal, returns to Siyaka after years. He joins Tara in her pursuit to outsmart her cousins. As the quest takes them from Mathura to Ludhiana, they must battle old secrets, family legacies and unexpected dangers. Yet, the toughest part will be acknowledging their feelings for each other. Will this journey bring them together or lead to a bittersweet end?
Lallan Sweets is a super sweet and refreshing story, set in a small town called Siyaka in 1995. Lallan Sweets is a sweetshop that acn easily be considered as the heart of Siyaka. It is famous for it's motichur laddoos that is known to have a magic ingredient. Only Lalaji, the grand old man and proprietor of Lallan Sweets knows what the ingredient is, and when the time comes to decide the inheritor of Lallan Sweets, Lalaji give Tara and her two cousin brothers a quest that will decide the fate of Lallan Sweets. This quest is to find the magic ingredient and whoever finds it first will earn Lallan Sweets.
Thus begins our protagonist - Tara's journey with her best friend and childhood crush Nikku - across Mathura to Agra to Barreilly to Delhi, in a stolen Fiat, and lots of misadventures that consist of getting chased by police, faking to be NRIs, getting kidnapped, a trip to a haunted haveli, and attending beauty contests.
The book was such a fun read! I honestly loved it because of its simplicity, and all the light-hearted moments it had. The story has just the right pace. It starts off by giving us a background check about Tara and the sweetshop. We get eventually get introduced to the other characters in Tara's life - her supportive mother, an irritating pair of uncle and aunt who are eyeing Lallan Sweets as well, a pair of competitive cousins, and also a good-for-nothing boyfriend. Then enters Nikku - the best friend. As we get accustomed to a diverse comical cast of individuals, our Tara goes on an adventure (or should I say misadventure) that spans across 250+ pages. But never did it feel stretched out. It was just the right amount of story that I needed.
Lallan Sweets will always be one of those book that I'll keep recommending people who ask for light book recommendations. Not only is it just the right book for you to take on a beach to read, it also comes with Tara and Nikku's friendship that literally is goals (later you'll get to know this friendship becomes more than a friendship *winks*). And wait, it also comes with the perfect picturesque descriptions of the various places Tara and Nikku go. I mean I never thought I'd get to clearly imagine how the Taj Mahal looks at night while reading a book!
The storytelling style has just the right ingredient. Not too sweet, not to salty. Not too descriptive, not too slacking. It was like the pinch of salt that Lalaji adds to his laddoos, to make the perfect balanced laddoo. Author Srishti Chaudhary has remarkably written a book that has simplicity yet will take you on an adventure.
How much do I recommend this book? Highly!
Srishti Chaudhary is a writer and studied Creative Writing from the University of Edinburgh, and before that studied English literature from lady Shri Ram College at the University of Delhi. Her first collection of short stories has been published by Juggernaut Books. Her ideal day would involve a few hours of writing, a run in a big park with bigger trees, and some zumba.
I received a copy of the book in exchange of an honest and unbiased review.