This incredible historical fiction by Sanjay Chopra and Namita Roy Ghose shines light on the events of World War II in which India was involved, while also masterfully linking the story with the fascinating life of Netaji Subash Chandra Bose, the “George Washington of India.” The tale is set in the year 1944 in Kohima, where Netaji and his Indian National Army are extremely close to defeating the British Empire, along with the Japanese. However, the story takes a turn when emotions and feelings collide with the struggle for freedom, and a great betrayal takes place for the sake of love.
The novel revolves around three main characters – Debraj Mookerji, a rich, sophisticated aristocrat from a well-reputed family; Nishonko Mitro, a man dedicated to the cause of the Indian National Army; and Aditi Sen, a beautiful young woman caught up in the midst of passion, war and betrayal. As the authors perfectly balance historical facts with elements of fiction, the story unfolds in an extensively descriptive and complex way, while maintaining great interest in the reader throughout the entire book. There are numerous qualities and nuances that compel the reader to continue turning each page, and make this a very worthwhile read. However, a few instances have really stood out for me as being memorable parts of the literary work, and I would like to share those with you.
Firstly, I have thoroughly enjoyed seeing the development and progression of one of the protagonists, Debraj. What began as a typical description of an excessively privileged, perfect young heir to an abundance of wealth which would be handed to him, I did not expect to see him develop into the dedicated freedom fighter he became. The authors did an excellent job of straying from the norm and illustrated his maturation as a character in many instances. Being able to see beyond his lavish lifestyle, Debraj longs to earn the respect of his family, is willing to sacrifice everything for his love and sees himself getting involved with the bigger picture problem at hand, which is India’s struggle for freedom. This well-rounded character is an absolute delight to read about, and this makes him one of my favourite features of the novel.
In terms of structure, I really liked the arrangement of having six acts sandwiched between a prologue and an epilogue. For the first time in a novel, this specific structure truly added the touches of perfection needed to understand the intricate changes and directions the story took. With so many twists and turns, I believe this was essential for having the effect the novel did, while also ensuring the reader is not lost among the detail. However, as a reader, it is essential to be skilled in reading a fast-paced, packed novel so as not to get lost, as The Wrong Turn is the epitome of what that looks like.
Finally, I was extremely captivated and impressed with the level of detail and accuracy with which this novel outlined key events in that historic time period. Even those who are not too familiar with details from Indian history, like myself, would find themselves drawn to learning more about Netaji, the Japanese and the INA’s role in the revolutionary Battle of Kohima. This novel also signifies the struggle and sacrifice that thousands underwent, whether or not they were directly a part of the action in war. The Wrong Turn not only shows the turn of events in love and betrayal, but also the turn life takes for the protagonists as a result of the reality they must face as they approach the height of a crucial battle that decides the fate of India.
I would highly recommend this book to not just lovers of historical fiction, but also those who have a keen interest in fiction that is thrilling, captivating, suspenseful and meaningful in many ways. The Wrong Turn was truly a superb read!