Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows had a surprising number of elements running through the plot considering what a short novel it was. Nikki, our protagonist, lives in West London, where she works at a pub and wants to explore a career in writing. She has intentionally put distance between herself and her rather conservative Indian immigrant family, and is flabbergasted when her sister announces she wants an arranged marriage. She ends up taking a job as a creative writing instructor for a group in the Punjabi community at a temple, where she winds up working with a group of widows, many of whom are elderly.
Nikki is quickly surprised what stories come from this group of widows, and finds herself trying to hide the risque subject matter from her boss. The Punjabi community is opposed to scandalous behavior of any kind, and those who do not agree with the Brothers are removed from the community. Nikki finds herself involved in a murder mystery, and her sense of feminist idealism leads her to believe she can be the one to put forward evidence to change the community forever.
While at times the story dragged on, I loved the sense of community that was pervasive in the widows tight-knit group. I loved exploring their sexy stories, and thinking about how out-there the group truly was for their community. The murder mystery element was not my favorite, and I felt as though clues seemed to come out with little warning. Nikki’s role of anti-tradition felt a little overdone as well. Other than those minor details, I found the book to be overall very fun and fast-paced. I thoroughly appreciated Nikki’s love interest, although I kept suspecting him of being involved with the conservative Brothers throughout the book.
It’s hard to put my finger on why I enjoyed this book so much, but I believe it was because it felt fresh and original. I have not searched long and hard, but I’m not sure how many books there are out there that tell the erotic stories of widows, let alone Punjabi widows. This book’s popularity felt novel as well, not often has this kind of book made it into the spotlight, although I hope more and more diverse books will continue to exceed expectations in popularity.