Sunshine Clinic: A Novel with Recipes

Image of Sunshine Clinic: A Novel with Recipes
Release Date: 
May 12, 2024
Fleets Bay Press
Reviewed by: 

“Read this book for the story, the characters, and the setting, and savor it for the food and the recipes.”

Meera Ekkanath Klein's third and probably her best novel, Sunshine Clinic, offers 15 recipes for savory dishes such as Potato Green Bean Stew, plus the ingredients and easy to follow instructions. Food also figures throughout the text itself, though Klein doesn't describe what Sunny, an Indian doctor, and Callum, her dashing Scottish fiance, eat in a posh restaurant for tourists and upscale locals.  

Sunshine Clinic is about the comforts of home, including home cooking, not the fare one can find in restaurant dining rooms. It's a homey book with dollops of romance and love, and ample servings of friendship and family ties.

Callum might have been introduced earlier in the plot, but when he does arrive he’s a welcome addition to the characters, especially the large cast of women, including the Indian villagers who are the true heroes in a narrative that honors contemporary western medicine and traditional eastern spirituality.

Dr. Sunny saves lives at her clinic, mends broken bones, helps women give birth to babies, and knits the community together, including the Mother Superior and the sisters in the church who co-exist with the villagers who owe their allegiance to the Goddess.

Along with melodrama, adventure, and a nod toward matriarchy, there's comedy, and a cinematic conclusion that should satisfy devoted readers of romance fiction. Westerners and Easterners who know that East and West do meet and comingle will delight in the way the author resolves the dramatic conflicts she has created.

Klein's pacing is excellent, the suspense first rate and her prose enticing as, for example, when she writes "the eastern sky was a warm promise on the distant horizon." The author takes a long view of life and also describes people and places up close.

At the end of the story, villagers cheer the couple who are joined together from opposite ends of the world, while "drummers started beating a jubilant rhythm." The drumming leaps off the page.

Klein, who was born in India, and who has lived for decades in California with her American husband and their sons, knows how to please readers from New Delhi to New York and from Kerala to California. Read this book for the story, the characters, and the setting, and savor it for the food and the recipes.