Reviewed in the travel section of The Age newspaper (Australia), March 25, 2012
“This is a delightful love story and a kind of manual for anyone wanting to rise to the challenge of living in another culture and society.”
Recommended in the What’s Hot! Supplement of The Times of India
From Mumbai Boss
From Poor in Java Blog
“I started this book in my flight to India and after 4 pages, my heart grew heavy and eyes wet but the best part about the book is that you cry for 2 lines and then the 3rd line brings a sweet smile on your face. I was so embarrassed that someone could catch me crying but fortunately the location of my seat was so perfect that I could sob at my ease. I am sure that there are millions of books out there written by many great and intense writers which can make me weep for probably hours and hours but something touched my heart in this book”.
From Readers at Amazon Kindle
“Loved this book!! As someone who grew up in India but has lived outside the country for the past 12 years, I look at my home country differently today. Sharell’s book struck a chord as she narrated her life in India from a woman’s point of view. I could relate to and understand each of her experiences, her frustrations and the joy that she found in little things in India. For me this book was enjoyable in more ways than one: to read about life in India from a non-Indian’s perspective, to read about a woman’s experiences in a conservative, prudish country like India and to read about someone’s romance with a culture and life that is very different from the one that they grew up with. Sharell has narrated all of this with ease and grace! This is a must-read for anybody wanting a glimpse into life in a complex, paradoxical country, which takes from you as much as it’s willing to offer.”
“I bought the book from amazon on my kindle as soon as I came home from work on friday. Loved the book and could not put it down till I finished it. Being Indian, I loved the description of India which I thought was very different from the very cliched manner in which most non-Indians portray India. I am amazed at Sharell’s will power and love for her husband and her very positive attitude to life. I liked this book much better than eat pray love although I would not compare both of the books. The book is a very well written, honest account of her experience and it teaches all of us one thing. Have the courage to go out of your comfort zone and have the courage to change your life to achieve what you want. Congratulations, Sharell. Good Job!”
“I highly recommend this book. Sharell has a way of captivating her audience and really draws you into the story. Reading about her daily struggles is something we all can relate to. As she takes us on her journey to finding happiness and unexpected love, you feel as if you are in India with her. Thank you Sharell for sharing your experiences with us!”
From Gayatri at Double Expat
“I never quite understood why so many people went to India to ‘find themselves’ especially since I, an Indian, ‘found myself’ in a country 6000 miles south-east of the coast. Nonetheless, I was fascinated by their experiences and read the books they wrote. But half a dozen paperbacks later, I recognized a pattern so predictable it could put a Shah Rukh Khan blockbuster to shame. Person goes to India. Tries to experience the ‘real India’. Hates it. Then loves it. Not this time!
What makes her story special is the way she writes it. It’s a sensitive and nuanced depiction, which neither glorifies the good nor mocks the bad. In fact, any woman who has ever relocated to another country can see a reflection of herself in Sharell’s stories. The situations may be different but the emotions are the same.”
From Jayne Fordham at The Australian Bookshelf
“I really loved this memoir, written by Australian, Sharell Cook. There seems to be a trend for women to write memoirs about their overseas escapades following a relationship breakdown. Sometimes, these work well and sometimes they don’t. Henna for the Broken-Hearted, definitely worked for me!
Although I did really enjoy Eat, Pray Love (the most well-known novel in this genre) it was quite introspective and quite melancholic at times. Which, of course is fine because that is what the author experienced and a memoir wouldn’t be a memoir if it didn’t shed light on the low points of one’s life. What I loved about Sharell Cook’s story is the balance between open-mindedness to experiencing the new and an introspective account that is realistic and shows her flaws.
As a psychologist, I was drawn to her insightfulness and her growing sense of awareness and sense of self.”
From Barnaby Haszard Morris at Jdanspsa Wyksui
“What ‘Henna for the Broken-Hearted’ really offers, though, is an honest new voice. I’ve always found Sharell to write on just about any subject with fundamental truth and honesty, but without compromising on elegance. I think that’s what sets the book apart from most transitional stories. There are no attempts to trick the reader by writing floridly around a point; instead, Sharell tells it exactly like it happened, warts and all, and she does so in a way that illuminates the deeper truths behind her experiences – truths many of us will be able to relate to. In her honesty, Sharell transcends simply narrating her own experience and speaks to all of us.
Probably the strongest section of the book is when Sharell is slowly getting to grips with Kolkata and falling in love with her husband-to-be. Their courtship is incredibly sweet and romantic, a real-life fairytale, but tempered with the reality of Sharell’s freshly broken heart and the more immediate challenge of dealing with daily life in India. She gives a good sense of what it feels like to drop yourself in such a foreign environment, and what the adaptation process is like. It’s slow, and there’s no single ‘eureka’ moment of understanding. If you put your mind to it, though, there are many small understandings along the way, each adding to a slowly growing knowledge and understanding of one’s surroundings. This is what happens to Sharell the longer she spends in India, and it’s what happened to me too”.
From The Bad Bhabhi Cultural Awareness Network
“Sharell’s thorough explanations, and emotive, relevant story make this book a great read for anyone – whether they have any connection to India or not. The book is centred around finding happiness, questioning societal norms and finding your passion – no matter how unachievable it seems. It shares that struggle and persistence are keys to success, that knowing yourself and what you are striving for are of utmost importance and that the universe is constantly presenting the opportunities that we need if we are ready to take them.
For me, as a “Gori Wife” (White Wife) the story profoundly resonated with me, the scenarios, the questions, the insecurities, misunderstandings and even the self discovery that uncovers a side to yourself that you may not want to see. Throughout the book, not only is there a story, but there is guidance, there is encouragement and there is a raw side of Sharell that is unveiled to give validation to those in her situation. The vivid imagery Sharell’s writing brings about is testament to her passion and her talent as a writer. I felt as though I was there with her, as if I was living the journey and this book has brought new life to my love of India and I cannot wait to plan our next journey there – armed with Sharell’s experience, advice and perspective on being in a foreign land!
I would recommend “Henna for the Broken-Hearted” by Sharell Cook, to anyone – no matter your age, gender, race or situation it has relevance to all. Life is precious and short, and we must live the life that we were born to find.”