Under the Tamarind Tree by Nigar Alam begins in 1964 in Karachi, Pakistan. Rozeena is struggling to build her medical practice and save her family home. Her parents fled India during the Partition of India. Since her father passed away, Rozeena takes on the responsibility of being the head of household.
Haaris, Aalya, and Zohair are all close friends of Rozeena. Aalya and Zohair have been meeting secretly – sometimes under the Tamarind tree. They are working on a way to become engaged. Rozeena and Haaris are also in love and hope to be married eventually. It seems that money and social status affects all of their potential marriages. No one could just marry the one that they loved. It wasn’t easy to love the one they were with either.
Unfortunately, Waleed follows Aalya to the rooftop of her house on the night of Haaris’s party. Zohair is close behind and a fight ensues. Waleed and Zohair fall off of the roof. Rozeena, Aalya and Haaris witness the incident and swear to keep the truth a secret. The only thing that people know is that Waleed did not survive and Zohair is critically injured.
Only one person finds out the truth – Waleed’s estranged widow, Kulsoom. She blackmails Haaris and Rozeena into keeping her secrets. If they keep her secret and do a few major tasks, then she will keep their secret about the party.
None of their lives are the same after that night but Haaris and Rozeena do what they have to do to protect their family and friends.
Years later in 2019, Rozeena is asked to look after Haaris’s granddaughter after a family tragedy. Zara, the granddaughter, and Rozeena strike up a friendship that helps them both with their feelings of loss. Their friendship seems authentic and sweet. It is one of my favorite things about the book.
Under the Tamarind Tree Recommendation
If you enjoy mysteries and secrets, then you will probably enjoy Under the Tamarind Tree. If you are a Petty Spaghetti who can’t sacrifice anything for anybody, then you should read Under the Tamarind Tree so you can learn what love is.