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Invisible Lives    by Anjali Banerjee order for
Invisible Lives
by Anjali Banerjee
Order:  USA  Can
Downtown Press, 2006 (2006)

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* * *   Reviewed by Lyn Seippel

Lakshmi Sen lives with her widowed mother in Seattle and works in her boutique, Mystic Elegance. Her Ma opened the sari shop many years ago after Baba (Lakshmi's father) died. When the shop began to struggle, Lakshmi came back to Seattle from New York City to help out. Lakshmi believes in family above all things. She wants to take care of her Ma.

With her sixth sense, which she calls the knowing, Lakshmi is able to help their customers in more ways than just choosing a sari. When she picks a sari for someone it weaves a magic that improves their lives. Only a few friends know how strong her sense of knowing is.

Lakshmi, who came to America as a very young child, is usually a modern woman, but she believes in the Indian tradition of arranged marriages. She agrees to marry Ravi, an Indian doctor, whose father was friends with her Baba. She hasn't met Ravi, but she trusts that love will come after their marriage. The marriage will make her Ma very happy and Baba would have wanted it, too.

Asha Rao, a famous Indian actress, is in Seattle making a movie. She wants Mystic Elegance to provide her wedding trousseau complete with garments for her wedding party. Her driver accompanies her to the shop and every women there is smitten by this charming American, especially Lakshmi.

Throughout the book, Lakshmi offers help to her friends and customers. Banerjee doesn't disappoint by leaving their situations unresolved although they are secondary to the plot involving Lakshmi. In Invisible Lives, Banerjee has written a charming love story while introducing readers to Indian culture and traditions.

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