The Bandit Queens by Parini Shroff

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Ballantine Books

Date of publication: January 3rd, 2023

Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Cultural, India, Adult, Contemporary, Thriller, Mystery Thriller, Adult Fiction, Literary Fiction, Literature, Asian Fiction, Novels

Purchase Links: Kindle | Audible | B&N | AbeBooks | Alibris | Powells | IndieBound | Indigo | BetterWorldBooks

Goodreads Synopsis:

Geeta’s no-good husband disappeared five years ago. She didn’t kill him, but everyone thinks she did–no matter how much she protests.
But she soon discovers that being known as a “self-made” widow has some surprising perks. No one messes with her, no one threatens her, and no one tries to control (ahem, marry) her. It’s even been good for her business; no one wants to risk getting on her bad side by not buying her jewelry.

Freedom must look good on Geeta, because other women in the village have started asking for her help to get rid of their own no-good husbands…but not all of them are asking nicely.

Now that Geeta’s fearsome reputation has become a double-edged sword, she must decide how far to go to protect it, along with the life she’s built. Because even the best-laid plans of would-be widows tend to go awry.


First Line:

The women were arguing. The loan officer was due to arrive in a few hours, and they were still missing two hundred rupees.

The Bandit Queens by Parini Shroff

I was intrigued when I read the blurb for the Bandit Queens. I liked seeing a strong woman as the main character in the book. Plus, I was a little curious about how the author would portray Indian life. I wasn’t disappointed; I was shocked at how women in modern-day India are treated. It was eye-opening.

The Bandit Queen is a fast-paced book that takes place mainly in an unnamed village in India. Geeta’s husband, an abusive drunk, had disappeared five years previously. The suddenness of his disappearance caused a whirlwind of rumors to swirl around her. The prominent rumor was that Geeta killed her husband and got away with it. Geeta embraces that rumor and her newfound freedom. She becomes a “self-made” woman and is doing pretty well for herself. That is until the night one of the members of her loan group asks for help killing her husband. That night sets into motion a series of events Geeta cannot stop. But when Geeta needs help, will the women she helped come to her aid?

There are trigger warnings in The Bandit Queen. The author often talks about the sexual assault of girls and women. There are scenes of the aftermath of domestic abuse. There is one memorable scene of attempted rape. There are graphic descriptions of murder. There is animal abuse. The caste system is also investigated in the book. I am sure there is more, but my notes got erased (thanks to my kids). If any of these trigger you, I recommend not reading this book.

The primary and secondary characters of The Bandit Queens are wonderfully written. They were rich and added an extra depth to the storyline, while not needed, that expanded on what was given. They were well-fleshed out, and I connected with several of them. These were characters that I could picture walking down the street or shopping in the supermarket. I am going only to highlight Geeta and Solani. To me, these two were the superstars of the book.

  • Geeta—-I loved her. I wasn’t expecting to at first. She came across, in the beginning, as very standoffish and cold. But as the book went on and I got a good look into her life, I understood why she was that way. I also understood why she embraced what the rumors painted her to be. It gave her a certain amount of freedom that she wouldn’t have been able to have if she didn’t. I was horrified and then amused when Farrah roped her into helping her kill her husband. And when word got out, the fireworks began, and I was giggling the whole time. Geeta wanted no part in killing anyone, yet there she was, helping the twins with the nuisances (aka husbands). I also liked that Geeta, during this time, could look at her past life and reflect on it too. I believe that is why she and Solani reconciled (I am glad they did).
  • Solani—I can’t even begin to describe how much I loved this woman. She was a force to be reckoned with throughout the entire book. I am glad that she saw past Geeta’s husband’s facade and to the real person underneath. She tried to warn Geeta, but that didn’t go over well. Even when they weren’t talking, Solani attempted to be an excellent friend to Geeta. Some things came out towards the end of the book that proves that. I can’t say what because of the spoilers. Also, I loved how Solani embraced herself. She knew she was overweight (having kids will do that to you), and she didn’t care. There was one scene where it was called out, and she was like, “And?

The Bandit Queens have quite a few genres it could fit into. But the top three that fit perfectly into are the Fiction, Mystery, and Adult categories.

The main storyline with Geeta, Solani, the other women, and the killings were wonderfully written. I could see Geeta coming to life as the story went on. She was dragged, kicking and screaming, back into a friendship with Solani and into helping the other women kill their husbands. The humor was very dark in this storyline.

The end of The Bandit Queens was organized chaos, and I loved it. I’m not going to get too much into detail, but I did fear for Geeta. Several things happened that could have harmed her or her friends, and I was anxious reading that part of the book. But the author did a great job of relieving that anxiety. There is an author’s note after the story is over that I appreciated reading.

I would recommend The Bandit Queens to anyone over 21. There is violence, mild language, and very mild sexual situations. Also, see my trigger warning section.


If you enjoyed reading The Bandit Queens, then you will enjoy reading these books:

Three Sisters (The Tattooist of Auschwitz: Book 3) by Heather Morris

Book Cover

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Date of publication: October 5th, 2021

Genre: Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Literary Fiction

Series: The Tattooist of Auschwitz

The Tattooist of Auschwitz—Book 1 (review here)

Cilka’s Journey—Book 2 (review here)

Three Sisters—Book 3

Purchase Links: Amazon | Audible |B&N |WorldCat


Goodreads Synopsis:

A promise to stay together.
An unbreakable bond.
A fierce will to survive.


From international bestselling author Heather Morris comes the breathtaking conclusion to The Tattooist of Auschwitz trilogy.

When they are girls, Cibi, Magda and Livia make a promise to their father – that they will stay together, no matter what.

Years later, at just 15 years old, Livia is ordered to Auschwitz by the Nazis. Cibi, only 19 herself, remembers their promise and follows Livia, determined to protect her sister, or die with her.

In their hometown in Slovakia, 17-year-old Magda hides, desperate to evade the barbaric Nazi forces. But it is not long before she is captured and condemned to Auschwitz.

In the horror of the death camp, these three beautiful sisters are reunited. Though traumatised by their experiences, they are together.

They make another promise: that they will live. Their fight for survival takes them from the hell of Auschwitz, to a death march across war-torn Europe and eventually home to Slovakia, now under iron Communist rule. Determined to begin again, they embark on a voyage of renewal, to the new Jewish homeland, Israel.

Rich in vivid detail, and beautifully told, Three Sisters will break your heart, but leave you amazed and uplifted by the courage and fierce love of three sisters, whose promise to each other kept them alive. Two of the sisters are in Israel today, surrounded by family and friends. They have chosen Heather Morris to reimagine their story in her astonishing new novel, Three Sisters.


First Line:

The three sisters, Cibi, Magda, and Livi, sit a in tight circle with their father in the small backyard of their home.

three sisters by heather morris

When I agreed to read and review Three Sisters, I thought I knew what I was getting into. I had read/reviewed numerous books on the Holocaust and didn’t think that I could be affected by what was done to millions of people. But then I read Three Sisters, and my heart was broken by what I read. I don’t think that I will ever read a book about the Holocaust without crying my eyes out.

Three Sisters is a book that details Cibi, Magda, and Livi’s time in Auschwitz. Well, to be clear, the book mainly follows Cibi and Livi in Auschwitz. Magda was able to stay at home with her mother and grandfather until the Nazis rounded everyone up towards the end of the war.

I thought I was prepared for the horrors that I had read about Auschwitz in previous books. But, whatever preparedness I had was thrown out the window. The trauma that the girls went through touched me deeply, and I just wanted to reach through the book, hug them, and say, “It’s going to be alright.Cibi, Livi (most of all Livi), and Magda were all survivors.

Three Sisters went into what life was like after the Nazis were deposed. Cibi, Livi, and Magda were forced to rob their own childhood home for pictures Magda and her mother hid away. The bigotry and hatred that people showed them were horrifying to read but not unexpected.

The end of Three Sisters made me smile. The girls found their HEAs and were committed to never forgetting what happened to them. The afterward (with the different children and grandchildren) made me smile because they did have a “normal” life.

The Summer That Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Date of publication: July 26th, 2016

Genre: Fiction, Magical Realism, Contemporary, Literary Fiction, Fantasy, Adult, Historical, Historical Fiction, Horror, Adult Fiction

Purchase Links: Amazon | Audible | AbeBooks | Alibris | Powells | IndieBound | Indigo

Goodreads Synopsis:

Fielding Bliss has never forgotten the summer of 1984:
the year a heatwave scorched the small town of Breathed, Ohio.
The year he became friends with the devil.

When local prosecutor Autopsy Bliss publishes an invitation to the devil to come to the country town of Breathed, Ohio, nobody quite expected that he would turn up. They especially didn’t expect him to turn up a tattered and bruised thirteen-year-old boy.

Fielding, the son of Autopsy, finds the boy outside the courthouse and brings him home, and he is welcomed into the Bliss family. The Blisses believe the boy, who calls himself Sal, is a runaway from a nearby farm town. Then, as a series of strange incidents implicate Sal — and riled by the feverish heatwave baking the town from the inside out — there are some around town who start to believe that maybe Sal is exactly who he claims to be.

But whether he’s a traumatised child or the devil incarnate, Sal is certainly one strange fruit: he talks in riddles, his uncanny knowledge and understanding reaches far outside the realm of a normal child — and ultimately his eerily affecting stories of Heaven, Hell, and earth will mesmerise and enflame the entire town.

Devastatingly beautiful, The Summer That Melted Everything is a captivating story about community, redemption, and the dark places where evil really lies.


I don’t even know what to write here (which is a first) because the book was THAT good. It was written so that you couldn’t help but get sucked into it, and then you can’t put it down. As I said, it is THAT good.

I was introduced to the Bliss family in the book’s first chapter. Autopsy, Stella, Grand, Fielding, and Aunt Fedelia. Autopsy is the local prosecutor for the town of Breathed. Autopsy decided, one day, to write a letter to the devil inviting him to Breathed and posted it in the newspaper. Guess what? A young boy claiming to be the devil showed up right before a major heat wave.

This is where the story became interesting. The author kept you guessing if Sal (Satan and Lucifer’s name combined) was the devil. He had insight into the different relationships that were going on in the town that no 13-year-old should know. I never figured out if he was the devil or not.

Strange events started happening every time Sal went into town. The heat kept rising; a woman had a tragic accident, a mob was incited, and stuff along those lines. He isn’t allowed out of the yard/house to keep him safe.

The story is told in flashbacks from a 70-something-year-old Fielding. Who suffers survivor’s guilt. I don’t like it when books are told in flashbacks. You lose something from it. In this case, it worked. I got to see the long-term damage caused by the events of that awful summer/fall, which is heartbreaking. The author did a perfect job of taking older Fielding’s memories and turning them into a story about younger Fielding.

There was a huge twist in the story that I saw coming. It involved Elohim, Fielding’s former mentor and Sal’s biggest enemy in town. I did a WTF when it was revealed.

I would recommend The Summer that Melted Everything to anyone over 21. There is strong language and violence.


If you enjoyed reading The Summer that Melted Everything, you will enjoy reading these books: