Book Review: ‘Unchain My Heart’ by Sharika Esther Sharma

A Bold Saga of Modern Indian Women's Triumphs and Trials


Book Title: Unchain My Heart
Author: Sharika Esther Sharma
Publisher: Rupa Publications India
Number of Pages: 256
ISBN: 978-9357020510
Date Published: Aug. 05, 2023
Price: INR 264

Unchain My Heart by Sharika Esther Sharma Book Cover

Book Review

Unchain My Heart” by author Sharika Esther Sharma is a groundbreaking feminist drama that explores the lives of four contemporary Indian women – Alya, Eisha, Reena, and Malini. Authored by Sharika Esther Sharma, this compelling narrative presents a mosaic of struggles, triumphs, and self-discovery against the backdrop of a rapidly evolving cultural landscape. A half-Indian, half-Dutch author, Sharika, brings her cross-cultural background to the fore, enhancing the depth of these women’s narratives. Building on the success of her memoir “Monkeys in My Garden: Reflections from a Life in Isolation,” Sharma boldly steps into the realm of fiction with “Unchain My Heart.”

The transition showcases her versatility as an author who seamlessly transitions between memoir and feminist fiction, leaving an indelible mark on contemporary Indian literature.

In this captivating book, Sharma skillfully weaves the stories of these four women as they navigate the complexities of modern Indian society. Alya, a charismatic actress, battles loneliness despite her successful career; Eisha, wed to affluence, grapples with the hollowness of a soulless world; Reena confronts insecurities about her appearance and societal pressure to marry; and Malini, amidst privilege, embarks on a journey of self-exploration.

Through their journeys, the author artfully intertwines the challenges of careers, relationships, and motherhood, providing readers with a unique yet relatable perspective on the lives of modern Indian women striving to find their place in a fiercely competitive world. The stories are intricately crafted to resonate with many readers and connect profoundly to the characters’ experiences. With a backdrop of India’s evolving cultural dynamics, the book delves into these women’s lives, highlighting the interplay between tradition and modernity. “Unchain My Heart” is a timely narrative, shedding light on the strength and resilience of Indian women in the face of cultural transformation.

The characters in “Unchain My Heart” represent the modern Indian woman, and their aspirations, struggles, and growth resonate deeply with readers. As each woman faces the challenges of a society in flux, Sharma deftly captures the nuances of their emotions, making their stories truly impactful and relatable. Sharma’s storytelling prowess is showcased as she seamlessly weaves the narratives of Alya, Eisha, Reena, and Malini into a cohesive and emotionally resonant whole. The novel’s exploration of themes like ambition, betrayal, and self-discovery is courageous and insightful. From the glamour of Bollywood to the complexities of familial relationships, the narrative delves deep into the realities of life, offering readers an emotionally charged journey.

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As a seasoned author and dynamic storyteller, Sharika Esther Sharma’s “Unchain My Heart” is a literary triumph that captivates, challenges, and compels its readers. The book fills a significant gap in contemporary literature by bringing forth the seldom-told stories of modern Indian women, a resonance that extends across borders.

In a world where women’s experiences are often underrepresented, “Unchain My Heart” stands as a beacon, offering readers a fresh perspective on the journeys of Indian women in a modern and ever-changing world. Sharika Esther Sharma’s narrative prowess ensures that this book resonates deeply and lingers in the hearts of its readers long after the final page.

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