Thoreau’s saying, “to follow
confidently in the direction of your dreams and to live the life you’ve
imagined,” is the resounding mantra of the young—those not yet ensnared
by convention or who have succumbed to lives of quiet desperation. Afia
Rana, a young budding airline professional, is also marching to the
beat of her own drummer by refusing to yield to her culture’s
traditional expectations of women.
Despite strides in progress, women's rights in India are still restrictive. Afia’s father is persistent in his demands for her to quit her job as an air stewardess and become a housewife to a man of his choosing. Afia rebels, however. She’s enjoying her freedom in the skies until she meets Dhruv Tandon, the owner of a steel corporation. Afia falls instantly for him, despite warnings from friends and family, and soon finds out that she is carrying his child. Abandoned to the whims of a culture that shuns and degrades unmarried mothers, Afia learns to rise above their cruelty and unshackle herself from the man who started her down that path.
Using apt poetic literary descriptions and vivid imagery, Fernandez paints a bittersweet picture of the hardships of being a young, single mother in India. The author does a fantastic job of getting the reader to empathize with Afia’s struggle to survive in a society that refuses to show her compassion (in addition to her own child struggling to find his identity in a fatherless environment).
While Steel Fetters is primarily a character-driven story, there’s also forbidden love, kidnappings, and enough secrets to keep the reader hungering for more. Fernandez cleverly weaves in enough action and drama to appeal to a diverse audience.
RECOMMENDED by The US Review