Unbowed – my thoughts

unbowedAuthor – Lestine


“And years later, when she finally evolved a mind that could examine itself, she wondered how such concepts as fear of her own thoughts, shame of her own body—the very vessel that nature fashioned and her soul adorned—arose at all. When did her body become something alien—separate from her? 
So begins UNBOWED, the story of Basma, an obedient wife who makes an unwitting decision with far-reaching consequences. Filled with sex, forbidden love, shocking brutality, unflinching feminist prose, and chador-wearing gladiators carrying AK-47’s, nevertheless, UNBOWED is a story of Hope.
Set in present day cosmopolitan cities of New York, London and Paris, with their burgeoning immigrant populations, and spanning other international locales, UNBOWED weaves together three plotlines to illuminate the violent extremes some patriarchal cultures have gone to—to reinforce absolute power over women and girls—and the equally extreme, yet opposite, paths three women embark on, to change the game.

My thoughts –

I had won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway & I am thankful to the author for sending me a copy of the book. Ms Lestine, I am sorry for the delay in my review. 😦


The blurb of the book is what got me interested to participate in the giveaway & I am glad I did & won it too! 🙂 The book highlights the extreme & unimaginable violence meted out to women all over the world by their own family members (honour killings). After reading this book I felt privileged to be living in a society where I am safe & my family is loving & caring too.

The author had done a brilliant job in highlighting many issues currently faced by women-folk around the world (lack of education, dowry deaths, infanticide, female genital mutilation and rape, etc.) in the form of a book. Together with this, it also has forbidden love, sexuality, trust, compassion & many other things. The writing style was gripping and paced quite well. The book made me rush to read a few more pages every day, after I reached home from work. The characters of the book are well crafted. I particularly enjoyed the journey of Basma – from a timid & silent child-bride (married off to man of her uncle’s age) to a woman of confidence & with a voice of her own. Her ability to make choices for herself gradually during a life-changing journey was a joy in itself. I felt happy for her at the end. Then there were the other characters like Dr Neelam Sethi & Zafeera Hasni, which were very impressive & had some thought provoking take on things going on around us. All the three of them are of very different personalities & they take on different paths to change the prevalent system.

Final words – An interesting book of self-discovery & emerging out of the shell & at the same time highlighting some very serious issues without using a preachy tone or boring plot. A must read, for sure! 🙂

Some excerpts from the book –

4When Basma removed her hijab (cloth used to cover her head) for the 1st time








  1. Loved it. I like that Taking off the hijab incident. Just a few days back i was discussing with Puneet about wearing burqa. Media projects a woman in a burqa as someone who is living an oppressed sad life. But this is such a superficial way of looking at things. That woman could be a writer or a corporate person or a woman who has a happy family. I wish we could look beyond such things to know the real person.

    1. exactly! and in the story the lady later wore it on & off as & when she felt like wearing it.
      Why is a lady wearing it – because she believe in it or she is being forced to wear is the issue one should be concerned with, that’s what I felt after I read the book.

      1. Agree. Funny thing is media and society projects a woman in western clothes as too progressive and a woman in burqa too regressive. Why cant they just let the woman be, and at least let her decide her wardrobe? Or is she too dumb for that..

      2. I know; women’s choices in life are all directly/indirectly governed by those of men – that is how society has been designed over the centuries :/

  2. Great review. We often forget about the roles women have in other areas of the world. In regards to the above comments about the burqa. I live in a country where what I where is determined by me – not my husband. I think the media’s issue is whether or not women are free to make those same choices or if they are required to wear them by the men in their society.

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