Nandini Gupta’s debut novel “Daughter of the Night” is a fresh take on a simple journalist’s life who just wants to lead a simple life. Like many journalists, she gets up each day to go to work, works all day, and returns home to spend restful evenings with her grandparents. She loves her job; she wouldn’t do it otherwise. But the readers can immediately sense that there’s something missing. She’s not happy.
Just like the readers, she doesn’t know what’s missing from her life. There’s a void and she seems to be dragged deeper into the void with each day’s passing. Her long search for contentment and peace is finally headed in a new direction when she lands an international project in India, the neighboring but rival nation. Despite initial doubts and disagreements, Laila decides to head to India to complete the project. Do her duty as a journalist.
And it is this duty that she deeply wants to fulfill when things start to change. Laila meets certain new people and goes through certain experiences in the foreign city that completely change her life. And all this comes at a price.
Gupta’s writing makes the audience yearn for more. There’s a surprise on every page and the character development leaves the readers in complete awe of the story. It’s one thing to write a story, a completely different thing to make the readers feel the story. Gupta’s writing makes her readers see, feel, read, breathe, and live her story. There’s an immediate connection between the author and the audience, which makes the novel even more memorable.
The rich detail in the story filled with the history of India and Pakistan and vivid descriptions about modern-day Udaipur transport the readers into Laila, the protagonist’s world. The story unfolds slowly and the readers can almost imagine as if a movie is being played in front of them.
There’s a lot to unpack in the story and yet not much should be said about it due to the cliffhangers embedded through every stage of the story. There’s always something about to happen, which catches the audience off-guard. This makes the novel a gripping, fun, and exciting read.
“Daughter of the Night” sets a fine example for debut novels and Gupta’s rich work makes her readers expect many novels to come in the future. Gupta should be commended for her beautiful work and should always be proud of her first novel.