FeaturedWomen's Fiction

A Quiet Dissonance


Must read 🏆

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, and would recommend it to every woman. There’s a bit of Anu in all of us!

Love and acceptance are basic human wants; and when denied can wreak great harm on a person’s psyche. A Quiet Dissonance is the story of one such woman, Anu, who goes through life seeking love, friendship and acceptance.


Set in England, the story revolves around an Indian family Anu, Ravi and their daughter Neha. Recently having moved from a predominantly Asian area, she feels like an outsider. At her daughter’s primary school, she struggles to find a place amongst the other mothers. Despite the best of her efforts, she ends up as an outcast. Unlike her husband Ravi, who fit in easily.


Unfortunately, she doesn’t gel well with the Indian moms at her daughter’s classical dance classes either. Regardless of the fact that she is amidst ‘her own people,’ she still feels unaccepted.


With time, she makes a few friends with other school moms and her neighbors. But these friendships don’t happen easily, there’s a lot of drama and it takes a toll on Anu. She tries her best to blend in, even at the cost of trying to become someone she is not. All for just one reason–to have her tribe of friends!


When I started reading, I wondered why Anu struggles so much. Why does she lack confidence and always seek validation from others? The chapters unraveled the answers to my questions; and I saw the protagonist for who she is, and understood why she is the way she is.


Her insecurities stem from her unloved upbringing. Anu loses her father at a young age, and never receives much love from her mother, grandparents, or half-siblings.


She is a talented artist, and finally finds friendship, acceptance, recognition and happiness by absorbing herself in her paintings.


The book is divided into four parts, each phase reflecting on important stages of Anu’s life. Her struggles, insecurities, journey, self-doubt and acceptance are well expressed.


Having read Manco’s short stories earlier, I was aware of her writing style. But with ‘A quiet dissonance,’ she has upped herself. The moods, the emotions, the journey may be of Anu, but this is a story almost every woman can identify with. Apart from the main protagonist, even the minor characters are well etched. The language and narration are flawless, and sure to stir the reader’s emotions.



Sharing few unforgettable excerpts from the book -


“Family, she realised, wasn’t just about who was related to you. It was who was willing to forgive you your foibles and embrace you, regardless of your flaws.”


“Sweetie, life’s like that, isn’t it? Sometimes you don’t get answers and you just have to let it go.”


“A long time ago I read that holding a grudge is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”


“The moment you develop self-respect, everyone else starts giving you the respect you deserve.”


An inspiring read of self-discovery. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, and would recommend it to every woman. There’s a bit of Anu in all of us!

I got the ARC from Reedsy in exchange for an honest review.


Reviewed by

A published author in many anthologies and online platforms, I am fond of reading and writing. I love reading books and try my level best at sharing honest and unbiased reviews.

Chapter One

About the author

Born and raised in India, Poornima moved to the UK over twenty years ago. Her love of writing began at a very early age and has remained with her all her life. She has authored four short story collections, one novella and a novel. You can find her at: www.poornimamanco.com view profile

Published on March 30, 2021

Published by

80000 words

Genre: Women's Fiction

Reviewed by