Jana Bibi’s Excellent Fortunes by Betsy Woodman
Set in a fictional town in 1960’s India, this is a sweet and charming tale with Jana Bibi at its center. Jana is of Scottish heritage but was born in India and prefers to live there as well. When she inherits a house from her grandfather in the quite hilly town of Hamara Nagar, she quickly moves in with her parrot, Mr. Ganguly, and her maid and companion, Mary. When she learns that a proposed dam is going to drown the town, she joins the locals in rescuing it. She opens a fortune-telling business to promote the town as an exciting and enjoyable tourist destination. The characters involved are very colorful, from the very religious Muslim, Feroz, to the owner of the antique shop, Ramachandram. This story illustrates the uniqueness and tolerance of India’s cultural framework while in an exotic setting.