What if? What if we packed up and moved to another country? What if we sold the business and started over? What if we continued our grandparents’ legacy and helped others? What if? This one little question holds so much power. Life is built on the “what ifs,” the choices we make every day. Foreshadowing the theme, our protagonist rightly perceives that “sometimes life can give us compelling reasons to pick a path we never would have chosen. I guess it’s impossible to foresee what destiny holds for us, and for all you know this might be the path to a new beginning.”
Awake Under the Night Sky by Vanya Sharma follows two young people navigating life’s labyrinth. Andre dreams of reopening his parents’ glass factory in Italy. Vivian, following her grandmother’s footsteps, wishes to provide medical assistance to the poor in Ghana. Crossing paths at a university in India, they unsurprisingly dive into a whirlwind romance in spite of their radically different lives. The plot twists and turns through the ups and downs of their relationship.
While the book begins with a bit of unnecessary character backstory, the real story emerges at the first encounter of the young couple in India. Sharma creates relatable protagonists in real-life situations where Andre and Vivian face the common conundrums of any young couple. They must ask themselves: what is worth sacrificing? What does a life together look like? Is this in fact true love or a passing fling? And ultimately, what if? The story lies in the answers.
Awake Under the Night Sky is a real page turner once the story gets going. I would recommend it in a heartbeat to anyone who loves surprises; my attention remained captured by the ever twisting plot. In the spirit of Nicholas Sparks, Sharma constructs a riveting tale of true love and emotional turmoil that will make even the most callous of readers weep.