Saved in Sri Lanka
By Devika Fernando
Rating: Three and a half stars
“I have the feeling you have saved me with your love, or that I have saved myself by falling in love with you.”
An adventure that explores the innate beauty of Sri Lanka and discovering love cum sensual romance in a tale of heavenly bliss. Saved in Sri Lanka by Devika Fernando is the story of Sepalika, a tourist guide meets Daniel and as they discover each other, sparkling romance and love. The author depicts her characters as soulful, passionate and thinkers in the current scenario and builds the chemistry in the fast paced and engrossing narration. A unique sensual romance, Saved in Sri Lanka is a must read as the author makes you travel in this beautiful island, exploring the pain, truth and conflicts between the characters much beyond their wish. In short, both Sepalika and Daniel are hiding a secret yet they can’t help the feeling of being attracted to each other.
It sure feels that way when Sri Lankan tour guide Sepalika meets Daniel. The mysterious tourist from Ireland steals his way into her heart and makes her question everything her life is built upon. Instant attraction turns to love – but does he feel the same? And what about the secret she’s hiding from him?
“…..her gaze shifting away….as if he was a magnet and she a metal.”
One should hand it to Devika who presents the novel in a sensual manner, exploring the complexity of love, relationship and conflict in the mind as the story progresses and unfolds the rich cultural history of Sri Lanka. The author explores the jealousy angle-don’t we all feel the same?-with natural ease and gentle flow of words. The passage, “Something on her face must have given her away, or may be the thought had sunk in, for he laughed even louder and startled a bird on a nearby tree into flight….Are you jealous of these two? Is that why you’ve turned into a freezer?”
The language is beautiful like lyrics and captures the reader’s imagination, in particular depicting the scene laced with humor which is effortless and aesthetically done. There is not a dull moment in the way Devika captures emotions, be it in uncovering the lid about the characters we think we know and throws an interesting debate on the issue of arranged marriage. It is complex yet the author brings the characters alive, in particular Sepalika, her battles with the inner self, weakness and confusion she is faced with. A woman trapped between what she really wants in life and what she is compelled to do. Sepalika wants to break away from the restriction and social norms, something many of us secretly wish, yet her life is bound by external factors. The way Devika has defined the main lead is simply brilliant and kind of passion she injects in exploring Sepalika makes her a very relatable character.
She explores desire, sensuality and her choice of exquisite erotic words lends a divine grace and charm like the fragrance of jasmine and signs on a higher note with distinct love-making scenes and poetic words complementing each other. In Devika’s world, equating the name of her character ‘Sepalika’ to the mother of intimacy showcases the author’s ability in weaving romance in a structured and seductive manner. A compelling and engrossing book that will make you fall in love with travel and romance.
“Their lips and tongues explored, delving deep, tangling..the kiss started slow, but then it grew passionate with held back desires..Sepalika felt his breath tickle her ear, when he peppered it and her neck with featherlike kisses that stoked the fire slowly..” It’s exquisitely beautiful, in rhythm, like the song expressing an ode to love and longing. Devika has a way with words that captures her audience attention with elan and grace. Captivating literature.
Devika’s Saved in Sri Lanka is a short tale of romance and I feel that the character ‘Mahesh’ could have added more twist in a breath-taking climax and injecting drama. I love villains to be dreadful where they emerge as powerful that makes the lovers uniting after a hard struggle. How I wish the gripping romance novel would have been longer and adding more to the fun! Though I enjoyed the trip to Sri Lanka through the eyes of Devika, I feel that at some point, it verges a bit too much towards a travel diary and slightly interferes with the theme of romance.
Devika Fernando ‘Saved in Sri Lanka’ is a gem that explores romance with carefully selected words and a narration that makes it an affair to remember. The author doesn’t shy away in casting a glance at human aspiration, politics and the passages are constructed in a magnificent manner, making it a pleasurable read that you wouldn’t put away. The author redefines romance, sensuality and travel in an effortless manner which is engaging and swift at the same time. A must read for you will at the genre of romance in a new light.