Tiger Hills by Sarita Mandanna is a tragic love story that follows the lives of 3 young children in Coorg, India. What first seems to be just another love triangle story turns out to be so much more than that as Mandanna spins a tale that cuts so deep and spans nearly 70 years.
The story's main characters are Devanna, Devi, and Machu. Devanna is an extremely smart boy while Devi is an outspoken brave girl. These two grew up together in the same village. Machu is Devanna's cousin and the esteemed tiger killer. It is the tangled relationship of these three and a series of unfortunate events that sets the somber mood of the entire story. It is through these characters that Mandanna explores the themes of love, regret, redemption, and forgiveness.
It takes a skilled author to make her audience feel and connect with her characters and setting so deeply and this is what Mandanna accomplishes. From the beginning of the story you become fully immersed in the lush landscape of Coorg and its flora and fauna. You feel like a child again reading about the children's adventures. You also feel the depression, the regret, the longing for what could have been. The story is gripping, and once I got to a certain point I could not put it down.
In all honesty I had no idea how Mandanna was going to reconcile the estranged relationships however in the end she wraps the story up well, conveying the message that forgiveness is the only way to unshackle yourself from the pain of the past.