Anjali is someone you'll want to root for. Even with her mistakes and romantic missteps you'll stick by her. She is central to the feel good factor that runs through this book. There is a balance, perfectly struck, between the funny and serious in Anjali's story, and that of her sister and their Sri Lankan mother. That perfect balance is also evident in how the cultural divide between Anjali's Sri Lankan and English identities is portrayed.
We aren't getting off to the best start, but to be honest, that isn't unusual. Mum marches off into the cramped kitchen, where she chucks the lavender on the counter, switches on the kettle and begins lifting and thudding saucepans onto the worktop as if she'd rather be banging them over my head.
So this is my mum: she's wearing a huge dress that clings to her vast bottom and substantial thighs, patterned in red and blue so that from afar you might mistake her for a Persian rug. It's her favourite look of the past decade, after deciding saris were too impractical for Bristol's rain-soaked pavements. Her hair is very short and very dark, thanks to Tesco own-brand jet black hair dye. Maybe all three of us have the same almond-shaped eyes, but Mum's irises are little fires, burning into you with each word she utters.