After Crying in H Mart and Send Nudes (which I’ll be posting my review for in the new year), I wanted a different read to end the year on.
Not really sure what to go with, I turned to my December TBR and then I remembered the book I received from Avon’s new book showcase earlier this year: The Arctic Curry Club.
*I may have received this book for free from the publisher but I was not instructed to review this book by them and the thoughts/opinions in this review are all my own.
Soon after upending her life to accompany her boyfriend Ryan to the Arctic, Maya realises it’s not all Northern Lights and husky sleigh rides. Instead, she’s facing sub-zero temperatures, 24-hour darkness, crippling anxiety – and a distant boyfriend as a result.
In her loneliest moment, Maya opens her late mother’s recipe book and cooks Indian food for the first time. Through this, her confidence unexpectedly grows – she makes friends, secures a job as a chef, and life in the Arctic no longer freezes her with fear.
But there’s a cost: the aromatic cuisine rekindles memories of her enigmatic mother and her childhood in Bangalore. Can Maya face the past and forge a future for herself in this new town? After all, there’s now high demand for a Curry Club in the Arctic, and just one person with the know-how to run it…
I began reading this book with completely different expectations of what’s to come. The cute, wintery cover conjured up images of a gorgeous fluffy romance but – from the author’s dedication onwards – I began to realise that this was not what I was letting myself in for.
The Arctic Curry Club follows Maya, who jets off to Longyearbyen – a town in the Arctic Circle, as she accompanies her boyfriend Ryan. The first few parts of the book take the reader through the settling in phase, and we see Ryan settle instantly whilst Maya struggles with crippling anxiety against the dark, cold backdrop. This book raised awareness of how difficult living with anxiety is, without making things too cliche or part of a punchline.
Luckily this book isn’t just watching a woman struggle and eventually freeze, it is her journey for belonging in both the Arctic and India. I haven’t been to either place but Redd paints a vibrant picture of both through the fascinating descriptions throughout and I loved the various people she encounters in both places and the emotional, personal journey she goes on as the book unfolds.
The Arctic Curry Club may not have been what I was expecting, but it was an unexpectedly deep insight into living with anxiety, finding yourself and making some delicious sounding food along the way (honestly I think this is a book you need to read with snacks!).
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