A Distant Heart by Sonali Dev

A Distant Heart

Her name means “miracle” in Sanskrit, and to her parents, that’s exactly what Kimaya is. The first baby to survive after several miscarriages, Kimi grows up in a mansion at the top of Mumbai’s Pali Hill, surrounded by love and privilege. But at eleven years old, she develops a rare illness that requires her to be confined to a germ-free ivory tower in her home, with only t...

Title:A Distant Heart
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Edition Language:English

A Distant Heart Reviews

  • Maida

    Loved it! Still wiping tears from my eyes as I typed this. Happy tears, though. How I adore Sonali Dev. Love her. Love her books. 😍

    I took my time reading A Distant Heart even though I had a deadline to rate and review it within two weeks of its release. I wanted to not only delve deep into the story and characters, but also study the writing style and learn from it. I've decided that the majority of my books will be set away from the US and this is a perfect model for me to emulate. Sonali trans

    Loved it! Still wiping tears from my eyes as I typed this. Happy tears, though. How I adore Sonali Dev. Love her. Love her books. 😍

    I took my time reading A Distant Heart even though I had a deadline to rate and review it within two weeks of its release. I wanted to not only delve deep into the story and characters, but also study the writing style and learn from it. I've decided that the majority of my books will be set away from the US and this is a perfect model for me to emulate. Sonali transported me to Mumbai from the first word. I lived in the chawl with Rahul's Aie and Mohit, ground spices with the kakus. I lived in The Mansion with Kimi and Kirit-sir and watched beside Rahul outside the glass door. Sonali did this without having to translate every Marathi word into English. She deftly weaved the Indian culture into the story without the need for a glossary and lengthy explanations.

    The dual timelines could have been confusing, but because a consistent system was established early on (alternating POV, alternating past/present), following the story through the jumps was easy.

    What I love the most is that I really got to know the characters through their conversations, actions, and reactions to events. Rahul is stoic, proud, responsible, and protective of Kimi. He's also scared of his feelings for her to the point that he tries to push her away. Kimi is full of hope and positivity. Because of her illness, she tries to live each day to the fullest as if it's her last. This attitude strongly appeals to me and my motto of Carpe Diem.

    The secondary characters are fully fleshed out, too. From Kirit Patil, Aie, Mohit, Mona, the doctors, Nikita (Jess?), Nikhil, Jen, and Joy, the servants, the police officers, and even the villainous Asif. Even the absent Rupa was a distinct and memorable character, someone who sticks to a reader's mind even though she was not physically present for most of the book.

    A Distant Heart is an incredibly well-written book that is full of emotion and action. It has a lot of depth as well as flashes of humor. It will make you feel and think. You will have to ponder the answer to the question: How far will you go to save a loved one's life?

    Beautiful. Five stars.

  • Ishita

    I hate it when books with an Indian backdrop promise an "authentic Indian rep" and it ends up being a bad imitation of cheesy bollywood song-and-dance romance.

    But I loved A Distant Heart for being so unabashedly Bollywoodsy in terms of setting up the world of its two main characters.

    Rich Girl meets Poor Boy - CHECK

    Poor Boy follows his father's footsteps by joining the city police force - CHECK

    Rich Girl's father is a politician - CHECK

    The infamous Mumbai mafia are the menacing villians in the s

    I hate it when books with an Indian backdrop promise an "authentic Indian rep" and it ends up being a bad imitation of cheesy bollywood song-and-dance romance.

    But I loved A Distant Heart for being so unabashedly Bollywoodsy in terms of setting up the world of its two main characters.

    Rich Girl meets Poor Boy - CHECK

    Poor Boy follows his father's footsteps by joining the city police force - CHECK

    Rich Girl's father is a politician - CHECK

    The infamous Mumbai mafia are the menacing villians in the story - CHECK

    The Poor Boy is the sole bread-winner of his family who live in the Mumbai chawls - CHECK

    and so on.

    Yet, what makes this book rise above the cliches and the simple two-line plot are the two main characters. When Rahul stays away from Kimi, you understand. You understand Kimi’s stubbornness. Her sporadic desperation to cling onto Rahul not because she started considering him as her lover, but because he was just about the only friend she could make during her forced exile from the outside world. And if you know something about how the classic Indian stories have characters reacting to and believing in luck and superstition, you sort of get where Rahul is coming from too.

    I quite liked some of the secondary characters too, especially Kimi's parents. If there is a spin-off to this book that is a love story of Kimi's parents (who were former bollywood stars), I would definitely read it.

    The book has some really good quotable passages, my favorite ones being about making peace with circumstances and losing control of circumstances and your body when you have an illness. If there is something that could have been better, it is probably some of the dialogues. It felt clunky at times.. and well.. read too much like.. quotes? I mean, there were times it didn't feel casual or authentic in a way you would expect people to actually converse. I also would have liked if the author had gone the whole hog with the mystery plot (instead of making it really predictable)

    This plot is something that was introduced in the previous book. But, there is enough background information given, so the book worked perfectly fine as a standalone for me (since I havent read the previous book). However, I feel that I would have related to a couple of characters more if I had read the previous book (when they were first introduced)

    I would recommend this book for its bittersweet romance lilting in from the mansions and chawls dotting the Mumbai landscape. Do check it out when it hits the stores this December!

    (I was lucky to get an ARC of this book from Shenwei@readingasiam/wordpress. Thank you!)

  • Kate Douglas

    I sat next to Sonali at an RWA book signing in Orlando this year, and managed to talk her out of an advance copy of A DISTANT HEART. I fell in love with this series after reading A Bollywood Affair, and couldn't wait to get my hands on this one.

    The thing is, every once in a great while a reader might be lucky enough to find an author with a voice so powerful, an ability to tell a beautiful story so compelling, that they become an absolute “auto buy.” For me, Sonali Dev is that author—her writing

    I sat next to Sonali at an RWA book signing in Orlando this year, and managed to talk her out of an advance copy of A DISTANT HEART. I fell in love with this series after reading A Bollywood Affair, and couldn't wait to get my hands on this one.

    The thing is, every once in a great while a reader might be lucky enough to find an author with a voice so powerful, an ability to tell a beautiful story so compelling, that they become an absolute “auto buy.” For me, Sonali Dev is that author—her writing is so lush, so full of beautiful phrasing and heartfelt characters that I find myself pausing to reread paragraphs and scenes for the pure poetry of her words.

    The setting for A DISTANT HEART is almost entirely in Mumbai, India. I’ll admit to spending more time than I should have searching Google images to see if the graphic visuals Ms. Dev creates with words are close to the reality I could see in pictures. She nails it. Once I had that confirmed, I settled in to read a most amazing story of the relationship between a young woman with a serious illness who was born to great wealth, and a young man from the slums with a tragic connection to the girl’s father.

    They are two who are terribly dissimilar—the overly protected girl, trapped and secluded by both her illness and her well-meaning parents, a boy who is forced at too early an age to become a man—and yet the friendship they build over the years that is so much deeper than mere friends is a powerful force that will change their lives and those of their families on every level.

    This is a story to savor, one you’ll probably finish, set aside, and pick it up immediately when you realize you can’t walk away from Dev’s world that easily. A DISTANT HEART has everything that makes a book unforgettable. Five stars aren’t nearly enough.

    Kate Douglas

  • Barbara O'Neal

    A book that is almost impossible to drop into a neat category. It's part suspense, part gritty crime tale, wholeheartedly romantic, and a most unusual Rapunzel tale. I loved that it was set in Mumbai, and yet was completely accessible. Loved Sonali's voice, which is highly original and lyrical. Loved the romance between two hungry souls. Sexy, gritty, romantic, compelling. Excellent.

  • Timitra

    A Distant Heart is a friends to lovers story set in India that I quite enjoyed. I loved the way in which the author told it. Showing the hero and heroine's first meeting as children and how their relationship evolved over time. Nothing between moves quickly, it's a slow build up that is very much reflected in the way things are revealed and the culmination of their first sex scene.

    I definitely recommend it to one and all.

    ARC provided by publisher through Net Galley

  • Krystal

    I was enchanted from Sonali Dev's dazzling book cover with adorned brown legs, and I am pleased to share that this heartwarming romance did not disappoint any of my high expectations!

  • Kathryn

    Review to follow

  • Mandi Schreiner

    I have a love affair with Sonali Dev's books. She writes such good words. Words that usually completely break my heart (it's still broken after reading A Change of Heart) but she repairs it and gives us a shiny HEA at the end with all the smiles. The heroine in this book, Kimi, literally has a broken heart. A lifelong heart condition that keeps her sick most of her youth in Mumbai, India (where the whole book takes place) leaves Kimi very sheltered. Her father, a former bollywood actor turned  m

    I have a love affair with Sonali Dev's books. She writes such good words. Words that usually completely break my heart (it's still broken after reading A Change of Heart) but she repairs it and gives us a shiny HEA at the end with all the smiles. The heroine in this book, Kimi, literally has a broken heart. A lifelong heart condition that keeps her sick most of her youth in Mumbai, India (where the whole book takes place) leaves Kimi very sheltered. Her father, a former bollywood actor turned  minister, is very wealthy. Kimi was a miracle child after her parents endured many miscarriages. She was sheltered even before they realized how sick she was. Then her entire life became keeping her alive and away from germs until a donor heart could be found. Her mother is often gone to worship, and her father keeps an eye on her every move.

    The present day of this book takes place two years after she has had her heart transplant. Kimi is ready to experience life - but not everyone is on board with this. Our hero, Rahul, loves Kimi. He has loved her for a long time. His father, a policeman in Mumbai, took a bullet for Kimi's father when Rahul was young. He died in Rahul's arms. After this, Kimi's father felt greatly indebted to Rahul and his family, who have nowhere near the amount of money Kimi's family has. Rahul though is a proud guy. He was a proud kid and he is a proud adult. He didn't want that money, and the book goes back and forth, from present day to past, and really explores Rahul and Kimi's upbringing. In the past, Rahul and Kimi eventually meet, and eventually become best of friends, turned lovers. She becomes very dependent on him, when she is down for the count with her heart problems.

    In present day, a few things are happening. In the romance department, Rahul is scared that Kimi can live life now. She has left her bubble. Always one to sneak out and rebel a bit against her strict father, Rahul wants to wrap her up and keep her safe. He puts distance between them, which really hurts Kimi, who wants to love  him and experience life with him.

    In the suspense department we have a very bad man named Asif. If you have read other books in this series, he is the man who was running the illegal harvesting of organs on the black market, and he killed a previous character named Jennifer Joshi. (you don't have to have read the previous books to follow this one.) Asif mildly attacks Kimi one night and mentions her transplant. Hmmmm.... a bad man who runs a black market organ ring, and a woman who somehow got a heart transplant. He pops up throughout the book, causing a lot of trouble and violence, as Rahul has been desperately hunting him after he murdered Jennifer.

    Although I have no personal knowledge of transplants and heart problems, I found it all very detailed, well written and engrossing. The reader really lives Kimi's health problems and limitations.  The author writes her characters so full of life and rich. We really get to know both Kimi and Rahul, and their families and life in Mumbai. It's so well done. I do wish we had spent less time in the past and more time in the present. But the feel of the city - the difference between living wealthy and living poor - is all very detailed and there for the reader.

    Their love is a tortured one, which starts out tortured because of Kimi's illness and lack of being able to physically be present. Later, it turns torturous because of Rahul's angst over her need for adventure. Rahul is such an interesting hero. Very stoic, proud, forced to grow up fast after his father is murdered. Experiences such heartache as a kid. He could have exploited Kimi's father for so much money, but instead uses some of it wisely and becomes a police officer himself. I wish he would have been a little more passionate towards Kimi at the end - to get that HEA, but at the same time his personality doesn't necessarily lead to passion, and that way okay for me.

    Although Rahul pushes Kimi away in present day, she did that plenty to him in the past. Maybe a little selfishly, as she knew he would always come back. But we all can't be perfect, huh?

    I find Sonali Dev's books just so intriguing and different. She really knows how to pull on your heartstrings.  The suspense ending in this one - I could see it coming but damn. It's a little harsh. A happy HEA for Kimi and Rahul but I fear heartache in their lives for external reasons will linger.

    I highly recommend all of her books. In my opinion, her first two books, A Bollywood Affair and The Bollywood Bride are more light-hearted than her last two. A Change of Heart, remains my favorite. It is gut wrenching.

    Grade: B+

  • Marianna

    You can find this and many more reviews on my blog

    The story is set in India, Mumbai and follows two people, Kimi and Rahul, as they form an unlike friendship. They come from two completely different worlds; Kimi is rich, whereas Rahul is extremely poor. However they somehow make it work and they form a very strong bond between them.

    When the story begins, Kimi and Rahul are not in, let’s say, speaking terms. For some reason their bond and trust has been broken. Through flashbac

    You can find this and many more reviews on my blog

    The story is set in India, Mumbai and follows two people, Kimi and Rahul, as they form an unlike friendship. They come from two completely different worlds; Kimi is rich, whereas Rahul is extremely poor. However they somehow make it work and they form a very strong bond between them.

    When the story begins, Kimi and Rahul are not in, let’s say, speaking terms. For some reason their bond and trust has been broken. Through flashbacks, the reader learns how this friendship started and how they came to be this inseparable duo. And for me these were the best parts of the whole book; we got so much insight on each character, so much backstory and it made the plot come together and the characters to feel fleshed out and real.

    Kimi as a character is very interesting. Despite all the money she has, she has had to face many difficulties which made her tough. But next to her toughness there is also an immense amount of positivity and optimism. Her optimist is a little annoying at times -maybe that’s just a me issue cause I’m not the most optimistic person on the planet and cheerfulness gets on my nerves heh– and I really, really, really disliked her constant use of “thank you very much”. GOD THAT WAS SO ANNOYING!

    Anyway, moving on to Rahul. Ah, Rahul *swoons*. He is THE tortured, broody, poor, thinks he’s not good enough, male lead. His backstory was a lil bit too tragic but it’s fiction so I don’t really care. I really liked we got to see a character that is actually poor. If you follow me on twitter you may have seen me complaining about this issue before and it was so refreshing finally seeing it in a story. His family lives in a chawl (click on the word to get to the wikipedia page if you don’t know what it is) and they barely make ends meet. They struggle with money and they don’t buy new clothes and toys every other day.

    Now the romance aspect. In case you didn’t get it from all the above this is a best friends to lovers book. But BEWARE! If you cannot handle slowburn and you are tempted to burn the book in the pyre to save yourself from the torture like me ahem, do not pick this up. Otherwise it was good. Even though this is a romance novel, the focus isn’t so heavy on the romance. There is another subplot running which was more on the mystery/ crime genre.

    One thing I liked very very much is the use of Marathi words. Whenever I read a book and the plot is set outside the US, I like getting those little words ’cause they make me feel more connected to the setting and the plot. So that’s a plus!

  • Natalie

    This is my first Sonali Dev book and surely not my last wow!!! What a fantastic ride this was. I didnt read the book before this one and was still able to follow the events with ease.

    The story told by switching between present day events and Kimi and Rahul's past and it was done so effectively. We really get so much depth of these characters by seeing their relationship from how it began to what it is at present.

    I loved Kimi and Rahul so much. Well fleshed out, complex characters.

    I was on edg

    This is my first Sonali Dev book and surely not my last wow!!! What a fantastic ride this was. I didnt read the book before this one and was still able to follow the events with ease.

    The story told by switching between present day events and Kimi and Rahul's past and it was done so effectively. We really get so much depth of these characters by seeing their relationship from how it began to what it is at present.

    I loved Kimi and Rahul so much. Well fleshed out, complex characters.

    I was on edge reading the entire time and a ball of emotions.

    I'll definitely be checking out the author's other books, so good


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