[Review] The Sunshine Time 1 by Sonal Panse

05:00 Cilla P 0 Comments

"The times are turbulent, and so are the romantic tangles. 

On the long train journey from Samanbar to her new home in Alsalem, Lea Chantry is intrigued by a handsome and taciturn Mitrione officer, quite enough to disregard the deep-rooted familial hatred of the dreaded paramilitary force and make a nuisance of herself."

Title: The Sunshine Time - Season 1 Episode 1
Author: Sonal Panse
Publisher: Maysun In C
Source: Electronic copy provided by the author
Release Date: 16 October 2016


The first installment to The Sunshine Time has an endearing leading lady in no-filter, irreverent Lea Chantry. The story's most entertaining moments come from whenever she opens her mouth, and I found the dynamics of her family fascinating. I found it difficult to grasp the context this story exists in, however. 

If she was real, Lea would be the kind of girl I find equally adorable and exasperating. She has her heart in the right place and her mind open to the complexities of the world. She won't shut up even when it's probably in her best interest to. That makes her fun to read; I kept looking forward to see if she's either going to dig herself a huge hole or win hearts.

I was intrigued by her complex family. She has an angry grandpa who picks a fight practically at every turn, a mother who married outside of their ethnic group and against the grandfather's wishes, and plenty of other interesting relatives. I wouldn't have minded if the story kept us longer around them, though I grew as frustrated as Lea was with every racist comment her grandfather made.

This episode also introduced us to the political and ethnic conflicts raging in the background. While these did pique my curiousity, I was more often confused than not. For instance, the opening line:

“Here we are, your compartment, Sir,” said the TC, as we left Monireh, the last train stop in Samanbar District, and he sounded very obsequious and excited.

I never found out what TC stands out. Train Conducter? Ticket Checker? In the long run, it's not a big deal, but for me that wasn't the right kind of 'huh?' to start off with. This kind of continues for a while. There was a lot of information packed into the first 10 or so pages that goes into world-buidling, a number of which are given to the readers by Lea recounting something that happened in the past. I got lost in trying to remember who's who,when things happened, and what's actually happening in the moment. 

Aaand there's that moment of instant, life-changing attraction. After just one look, Lea was instantly convinced that this handsome soldier's destiny is intertwined with hers. While I concede that love/attraction at first sight is possible, there's a larger part of me that's highly skeptical when such moments happen. In this instance, the attraction was handled well in that the two didn't immediately give in to the attraction despite all odds. I hope that will continue.

Overall, The Sunshine Time is most enjoyable when we're with Lea in the moment as she interacts with the characters around her. While I get a sense of the world she lives in, there was too much information packed into a little space, which made it difficult to follow. If you're a contemporary reader who is patient and doesn't mind a bit of insta-attraction, this could be worth a look.

(I received a copy from the author in exchange of an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book.)

Reading this book contributes to the following challenges:

  • Goodreads Challenge


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