Midnight’s Star by Shilpa Suraj is the the first book in the Shades of Night series. Midnight’s Star is the story of Dev Arya and Avni Desai. Dev Arya is a best-selling author, and by Avni’s own admission, makes Avni’s toes curl. Dev is visually challenged, but through his determination, he has managed to make a mark for himself in the world. He is funny and sensitive, but beneath his facade, he carries emotional baggage. Avni is the part-owner of a small cafe called “The Teacup”. She has put her heart and soul into the business. The day Avni is dumped by her fiance and partner in the cafe, Bharat, Dev Arya walks into her cafe and life. Over tiramisu, Dev and Avni discover an unnamed instant connection with each other. Dev and Avni are attracted to each other, nor do they try to deny it. Being dumped by Bharat bruised Avni’s trust more than her heart. It makes Avni determined to be independent and secure, but will this decision cause friction between Dev and Avni? Will they be able to reach for what they want without the past clouding their judgements?
Humour is Shilpa Suraj’s trademark, and this book too doesn’t disappoint. Though Dev and Avni are not sniping protagonists, the bickering of the rest of the cast keeps the reader chuckling throughout, including a little bit of boys talk, which doesn’t descend into the crude category. Even the regular dialogues get an uplift with the author’s sense of humour. Like for instance where Sehar plots to take revenge against Bharat ( “we should make tiny cuts all over..), or when Dev muses about the change in his mother when she is bride searching for him ( She was still the best-demented mother hen around), or when Avni’s father compares Bharat to an earthworm! The physical humour (watch out for them) also leave you chuckling and shaking your head.
One thing that really stands out in Shilpa Suraj’s books is how relatable her characters are. There is an incident where Avni is musing about perfectly shaped eyebrows. Avni wonders how when Avni gets her eyebrows done, they are on two different levels giving her a quizzical look. Reading that sentence made me guffaw. My instant reaction to that sentence was, this is so me!! In this book, the author moves beyond the typical formula of two good looking characters falling in love. Instead, real love, the one where you fall in love with your senses and soul, has been showcased. A love that is clumsy, uncommunicative, or misreading the cues, yet you know that this person only is the one for you. The scene where Dev compares Avni to a comforter made me go “aww”. I totally relate to Dev’s viewpoint. At the end of the day, you need someone you can be friends with, someone with whom you can be totally comfortable.
Shilpa Suraj is the queen of Indie romance. She is a prolific writer who keeps churning out one book after the other. And yet, despite her speed, the books do not feel formulaic or repetitive. Every time you open a new book, there is something fresh, something different. In Midnight’s Star Shilpa Suraj has woven a tale which is funny, engrossing but most of all heartwarming.
About The Author
Shilpa Suraj wears many hats – corporate drone, homemaker, mother to a fabulous toddler and author. An avid reader with an overactive imagination, Shilpa has weaved stories in her head since she was a child. Her previous stints at Google, in an ad agency and as an entrepreneur provide colour to her present day stories, both fiction and non-fiction.