Book Review- Jacob Hills

Title: Jacob Hills

By: Ismita Tandon Dhankher

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About the Author (From the book) –

IsmitaTandon Dhankher is ‘A Lesser Known Poet’. Her poem, ‘I am Beautiful’ won prize money of 50,000 on the Yahoo-Dove Indibloggers contest. She’s also the author of the romantic thriller Love on the Rocks, a Penguin imprint released in 2011.

Ismita went to Sophia College, Ajmer, where she studied Economics, History and Sociology. After acquiring an MBA and doing a brief stint in the Foreign Exchange Division of Thomas Cook, Mumbai, she took up poetry and prose wholeheartedly.

She’s currently working on The Song of the Sufi Masroof, a book of photographs and poems. Ismita blogs and can be reached at

ISBN:  978-9350296493

Cover Price: Rs. 299.00

Rating:  4/5

Something about the book ( from the book’s cover):

It’s just another evening at the Tiller’s Club.

Capt. Rana, the Young Officer undergoing training at the War College stands at the bar, deliberately avoiding his pregnant wife, Heena.  Saryu, village belle turned modern babe, drink in hand, chats up another YO. Her husband, Maj. Vikram Singh, shoots angry glances at her. The flamboyant Lt. Col. Gary Randhawa and his wife Pam chat merrily with the senior officers – who’d guess that they lead an underground swinger couples’ club.

In one corner stands Eva, the beautiful Anglo-Indian wife of Maj. George Chandy, who finds herself at the heart of a murder mystery. The murdered woman’s body is covered with cigarette burns. A six-year-old girl’s wrist is similarly marked. Another little girl shows signs of severe abuse.

This is Jacob Hills: an army station that houses the War College. A world of genteel conversation, smart men and graceful women. Set in the 1980s – in a country on the cusp of tradition and Westernized modernity – Jacob Hills is the story of what lies beneath the smooth veneer. It’s a noxiousness the Chandy’s must confront if their love is to survive Jacob Hills.

Now for my View:

Having read Ismita’s Love on the Rocks, I knew that Jacob Hills would not disappoint. And I was right, for I finished reading the book in a few hours. Not for a moment while reading did I want to put the book down. So I braved hunger, thirst and sleep to consume the latest offering from this talented writer we know as the lesser known poet!

One thing that I particularly like about the way she writes is the use of multiple points of views. She had done that exceptionally well with her first book. And with Jacob Hills too she gave the readers a peek into the thoughts and emotions of various characters using their very own point of views. It’s not easy to write a whole book using multiple alternating points of views, trust me. But Ismita is definitely proving to be an expert at that.

So the book is about army officers, their wives, children and basically life at an army station which in this case is Jacob Hills. That added with the murky underbelly of wife swapping, child abuse, premarital pregnancy, domestic violence and fake revelry give you a feel of the personal lives of men and women connected to one of our country’s most respected establishments, the Army. But that’s not all, there’s a murder too! And all this is set in the 1980s, a time when the country was undergoing a metamorphosis towards modernisation while still holding on to its cultural legacy with one hand. The story revolves around various characters, the pivotal ones being Eva Chandy and her husband George. Eva finds herself stuck in the middle of a murder mystery and unearthing the truth of child abuse. Her actions seem to put George’s career in jeopardy which could eventually affect their married life. Will the events around Jacob Hills lead to stress in their relationship? Or, will they come out of these circumstances unscathed? Well, to find that you’d have to read the book. You wouldn't want me to give away the ending now, would you?

I enjoyed the book. Honestly, it was a breather. I think what works for the book is that it’s crisp and an easy read. Perhaps the suspense element of the story could have been stressed on more. Nevertheless the book still works for me.

The plot’s twists and turns and the suspense led me to turn one page after the other. And the best part was the surprise she sprang at the culmination of the suspense. The characters and the incidents seemed well written since not for a moment was I bored. The book effortlessly took me through a walk into the dark side of army life. But it didn’t stress me out, which is good.

I must say that the few hours I spent in reading this book were not wasted at all. And now I can’t wait for her next book to come out! She seems to have grown as a writer and I can only imagine how good her third book will be.

So what are you waiting for? Grab your copy and let me know if you liked it as much as I did!