Books corner: Twelve Hours of Temptation by Shoma Narayanan

Shoma Narayanan
  • Ambica Gulati

A banker during the week and romance writer on the weekends, Shoma Narayanan was the first Indian to become a Mills & Boon author with a global release in 2011. The book was Monsoon Wedding Forever. An engineer and MBA, writing was a hobby which won her first prize in a competition run by DNA's Me magazine. Then she saw an ad for the Mills & Boon Passions contest that said that Harlequin (M&B) was looking out for Indian authors, and she spent the weekend writing a story about two lovers separated in college, and submitted it. The next thing she knew, she was one of the three winners of the contest, and was working on a full-length book. Since then she has written Take One Arranged Marriage, Secret & Saris and The One She Was Warned About.

An email conversation reveals what makes the current book Twelve Hours of Temptation something different:

A very urban setting-- bold and 21st century live-in relationship… Weren't you worried about the world getting upset with you-- the family elders?
Twelve Hours of Temptation does have an urban setting, and the characters are typical of the kind of milieu they belong to. I don’t foresee anyone I know and care about getting upset by the book.

Has most of India really changed in the romantic sense?
India is a bundle of contradictions and parts of it have changed, while parts haven’t.  In the romantic sense people are perhaps more open about their relationships now, and more people opt to marry for love than they did earlier.

Which is your favourite romantic setting--rural or urban?
My own novels are all set in cities, though I have experimented with a small-town setting in one. Perhaps that’s because I’m more comfortable with writing about the kind of people I’m familiar with. I’d love to read a novel written in a rural Indian setting.

You really describe emotional times and mindsets well... Why does the romantic play of words not go to the steamy hot scenes as in M&B's western counterparts?
It’s a personal preference. I like to focus on the relationship and the interplay of emotions between the lead pair, and so my books stop at the bedroom door.  

Which is your favourite romance novel?
 Love Story by Erich Segal is probably my favourite. But there are other books that I like such as Gone With the Wind and Wuthering Heights that are not strictly romance novels, but have a powerful love story as a main theme.
What Ambica feels about the book

I have always been a romantic at heart. Even though, I thought it was frivolous to read romance after my teens, I must say Shoma’s emotional and psychological insight has made me fall in love with M&Bs all over again. The book is a fast read and pleasant. It’s an India we urban dwellers can relate to. It’s also a relationship which we can relate to. The good parts are the flirting scenes where Melissa is trying to attract her boss Samir, yet keeping a distance. The car journey from Mumbai to Goa and Melissa fainting and Samir coming to her rescue, is probably every girl’s dream of a hero in her life.
Relationships are tricky, especially when that are something as sensitive as love, and that has been portrayed well. It’s actually not surprising that the ones in love don’t recognise they are in love until misunderstanding crops up. A small issue can be blown into an episode. And who knows it better than women! Twenty first century young urban India is hesitant to commit, but eventually follows the heart and that is what the book says. Read it, enjoy it, feel your heart beat go up and down as you go through Melissa and Samir’s fun, frolic, hurts and get others to read it too.

Book details
Twelve Hours of Temptation by Shoma Narayanan
Publisher: Harlequin India
Pages: 184
Price: Rs 150

Being chained to her desk is not how copywriter Melissa D’Cruz envisaged spending the night before her first awards ceremony. No Cinderella moment for this award nominee – instead she’s facing a night of deadlines! But Melissa is determined to get to the event.. she has to figure out how?

New boss Samir Razdan catches Melissa burning the midnight oil and offers to drive her to Goa himself. But the minute they set off Samir knows he’s in trouble – because being this close to Melissa is already driving him crazy and they’ve got twelve hours of temptation ahead..!


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