Thursday, November 1, 2012

Torn Together by Emlyn Chand: Review

From her cheating boyfriend to her dead father and cold, judgmental mother, Daly knows she can’t trust others to be there when it counts. This cynicism begins to melt away when she meets Kashi, a light-hearted charmer from India, who decides he cares too much to let her fade into the background of her own life. After a series of false starts, their quirky romance carries them to India, where Daly must win the approval of Kashi’s family in order to seal their “forever.”

Meanwhile, Laine struggles to cope with the pain of early widowhood, fleeing into the pages of her well-worn library and emerging only to perform her duties as a social worker at the crisis pregnancy center. Although her daughter wants nothing more than to work as an artist, Laine doesn’t know how to redirect Daly to a more suitable profession without further damaging their tenuous relationship.

Can Laine look past her pain to learn from an unlikely mentor? Has Daly finally found someone whom she can trust? Will the women recognize their common bonds before the relationship is broken beyond repair?

"Torn Together," Emlyn Chand’s first sojourn into Literary/Women's Fiction, illustrates how our similarities often drive us apart.

Emlyn will be awarding a $50 Amazon GC and autographed copy of Torn Together to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.

About the Author:

Emlyn Chand emerged from the womb with a fountain pen clutched in her left hand (true story). When she's not writing, she runs a large book club in Ann Arbor and is the president of author PR firm Novel Publicity. Best known for her Young Adult novels, she is also developing a small, but devoted, following to her children's book series and is beginning to dapple in other genres as well. Emlyn enjoys connecting with readers and is available via almost every social media site in existence. Visit for more info. Don't forget to say "hi" to her sun conure Ducky!


Kashi pushed the second door open, and a wall of heat crashed into them. She peeled off both Kashi's jacket and her own, letting the hot air dry her clothes.

"Told you." He smiled when she handed his jacket back to him.

She stepped toward the stacked stone fountain at the center of the room, and listened to the simple harmony of the flowing water.

"I love this place," Kashi said. "Engages all the senses."

She agreed, taking in the sights and scents of the blossoming flowers, listening to the gentle trickle of the fountain, and allowing the warmth of the garden to embrace her. It engaged all the senses, as Kashi had said, except for taste. She glanced over at him, fixing her gaze on his full lips.

Why aren't I brave enough to initiate the kiss myself? "So beautiful," she said, bringing her eyes to meet his.

A curious Postman Butterfly landed on the fountain next to them. They watched the beautiful insect rub its forelegs together and flex its wings before flying away almost as quickly as it had landed. She followed as the Postman flitted upward, watching as dozens of butterflies floated above at the top of the glass dome. She reached to her side and took Kashi's hand, then closed her eyes and imagined him reaching up to pluck a butterfly from the sky, thus completing the picture from her diary, completing their hat trick of fate.

Someone bumped into them from behind, ruining the moment.

"Excuse me," said a middle-aged woman corralling two toddlers.

Zoo visitors continued to pour into the tiny garden, seeking shelter from the rain. The influx of too many people into too small a space compromised the romanticism of the place. A handful of volunteers in red vests stood guard, watching for any misconduct.

"This way." Kashi headed toward the exit. "It won't be so crowded."

She followed him through the chain curtain and into the free-flight aviary.

A Scarlet Macaw greeted them with an impertinent squawk as they strolled deeper into the indoor jungle.

Daly stopped to examine the colorful parrot, but Kashi continued forward, pulling her deeper into the warm sanctuary.

The winding trail was all but deserted. Most visitors clung to the more popular butterfly garden, which meant the two of them were alone in the presence of the birds. Rounding a corner, they came upon a secluded nook under a Caribbean bleeding tree still vibrant with greenery, even though the trees outside had long since begun to yellow and shed their leaves. High in the tree, long-necked Scarlet Ibises hopped about, competing to find the best branch for perching. A concrete wall, carved to resemble a natural rock structure, shielded them from the view of potential onlookers.

Daly marveled at the playful Ibises above. "They're so—"

Kashi interrupted her by bringing a hand to her cheek and taking a step into her.

Is this it? Is this the moment I've been waiting for all day? She didn't have much time to wonder, because within an instant, his lips drew forward to meet hers.

Her heart trembled as he parted her lips with his tongue. She pressed closer still and raked her hands into his hair. Locked in his embrace, she let her inhibitions go, wanting only more, more, more as they kissed in time to the cacophony of tweets, chirps and whistles of their avian companions.

If only this moment could last forever. If only I could live here permanently instead of at home with Laine.

Kashi pulled away and ran a finger across her lower lip.

She cast a weak smile. Her face flushed warm, but not from embarrassment. She couldn't allow this encounter to go on any longer—unless, of course, they really wanted to get in trouble with zoo security.

Kashi hummed one long beat and once again pulled her into him, this time in an embrace of arms rather than lips.

Her cheek pressed into his collarbone, where the rhythm of his heart thumped wildly against her face.

Bringing his lips to her ear, he whispered, "So, how was that for life-changing?"

My Thoughts:

 Before I write a review, or sometimes after, I always look around out there to see what other people said about the book - see if I am "in-line" or with the majority or if I am really out in left field.  Perusing through the reviews on Amazon, I saw this:

To me this book is more than just about two people meeting and falling in love. It is about overcoming demons from the past. Learning to live with your mistakes and learning from the mistakes. Learning to pick yourself up from the pit you have fallen into moving forward, to stop looking back. - KYBunnies, Kentucky

I couldn't agree with this reviewer more...and I couldn't have said it better myself.  This is a delightful story, one that stuck with me long after I read it! 

The relationships in this novel are the most striking part of the book - the title does it justice, Torn Together.  The characters in this piece literally are torn together!  They come into and out of each others' lives, and it is fascinating to see how the author writes and weaves them to and against one another.  The most interesting relationship is of course the one between Daly, the daughter, and Laine, the mother.  Chand writes Laine's character so that you really do dislike root for Daly to overcome her past and her present through the novel.

Another part of this novel that struck me were the references to art and through Kashi, to India.  The author did her research and it was so neat to read about these two that I am not so familiar with.

Emlyn Chand is a talented YA writer, I am intrigued by her work - I imagine we will see much more from her in the future!


  1. I love the vivid imagery in their visit to the zoo.It sounds like a magical relationship is forming. Thanks for sharing the excerpt

    fencingromein at hotmail dot com

  2. Thank you for the review--the book seems very intriguing!


  3. Thank you for the excerpt, I enjoyed reading it.


  4. I love the excerpted scene with the butterflies and birds. Sounds magical.
    catherinelee100 at gmail dot com

  5. Emlyn has a gift for crafting characters. I loved how these people interacted and was completely absorbed with Daly's journey. I was not expecting the ending at all.

  6. Interesting comments you made about what you do before you write your reviews. Just wondering: Do you ever let those reviews color what you will say?

  7. Hi Karen, thanks for commenting! I really don't let others' views color what I think, I am more interested in seeing if I thought the same thing or if I picked up something no one else did, etc. I also love getting excited about reading a novel and many times just seeing that the novel has a bunch of five star ratings will propel that excitement. If it isn't getting great reviews, I am even more into reading it just to see what's going on. To be honest though, I usually do some searching AFTER I read and review...

  8. I love the excerpted scene with the butterflies and birds. Sounds magical.

  9. Thank you for the fantastic review, Lindsay. I'm so glad you enjoyed the book, the characters, the research, and even the title! I poured my heart (and my fair share of tears) into this novel, so I'm always delighted when I hear that readers enjoy it.

    If you have a moment to cross-post your review to Amazon and GoodReads, I'd really appreciate it.

    Thanks so much,
    Em :-D

  10. I love the title of this book. Torn Together. It really pulls me in. I read the excerpt, and I think I will take on reviewing this book one day. Thanks for sharing!