The Forest of Enchantments| Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni| Book Review
4 mins read

The Forest of Enchantments| Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni| Book Review

The journey of an infant born from the earth to an empress of the great Ram Rajya. The forest of enchantments gives us a fresh point of view of the epic Ramayana retold in a voice that you least expected; the voice of Sita. This celestial heroine makes us smile, cry and above all experience the beauty of falling in love, with her.

The story is in accordance with the outline of the epic, Ramayana. Starting from when Ram wins Sita’s hand by paying her bride price. The bride price is nothing but lifting Shiva’s divine bow given to the king Dashrath. He then takes her to Ayodhya where she encounters new challenges that her sheltered life as a princess didn’t expose her to. She tries to befriend her in-laws. Kaushalya, her mother-in-law who is often sidelined in front of the other queens, finds a confidante and well-wisher in her.

No matter how much she impresses her in laws, fate still leads her to a rough road. The third queen Kaikeyi, wishes to make her son, Bharat the new king. Kaikeyi asks Dashrath to grant her the two booms that he had promised her. She asks him to make her son, the king and banish Ram to the forest for fourteen long years.

Sita decides to not let time subject her to a lifetime of loneliness. For the love of her husband, she decides to accompany him. Thus, Sita, Ram and Laxman make their way to the forest.

Just when you think that it can’t get any worse, a maiden appears at their makeshift hut and asks Ram to marry her. They get into an argument and at the end of it, Laxman ends up cutting her nose. After this humiliation she asks her brothers to avenge her. It is then that Ravan disguises himself as a sage and abducts Sita. Later however he starts to desire the beautiful Sita. He gives her a year to think about becoming his queen.

My thoughts on The Forest of Enchantments

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni has a beautiful style of writing that manages to capture the deepest thoughts of a woman. She weaves a beautiful tapestry of words, colourful and brilliant. In this novel we come across the various thoughts of Sita the princess, then Sita the wife and lastly of Sita, the daughter of earth and fire. Her personality shines through all her tough times. It’s truly a pleasure to view the world through her eyes.

This book will make you feel the characters’ emotions at a deep level. Sita’s excitement for her imminent marriage will make you feel excited with her. When she gets abducted, you will feel her fear. In her darkest times, you will cry your eyes out with her. Such is the effect of the author’s writing and indeed she is one of my favorite authors.

Although this book can be read by anyone but some ideas and portrayals will better suit someone who is at a certain level of maturity. This book isn’t just a story but a life experience in itself.


The beauty of writing a story is that you can add magic to the tale. In the Forest of Enchantments, such was the detail of sita having a deep connection to Shiva’s bow. The very bow which had descended from the heaven for the sake of her marriage. She would often wipe it, clean it and talk to it.

Sita’s sister, Urmila has also been given adequate representation that she has always deserved. She too has experienced the unbearable pain of separation. She slept through the fourteen years as a sacrifice so that her husband can stay awake and protect Ram and Sita. Such was the love and devotion of Urmila. Her sacrifices have always been overlooked.

This book provides food for thought. It is something that will remain with the reader long after it is over.

Author: Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

writing: 4.5/5

Presentation: 4.5/5

Overall: 4.5/5

Genre: Fantasy/ Fiction/ Mythology fiction

Other books by the same author: The Conch Bearer , The Mistress of Spices

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