The novel “Cassandra” was first published in 1999. Set against the backdrop of a civil war, it tells the story of Cassandra, a young, beautiful, independent and ambitious girl who is out to conquer the world, without a man’s hand. She believes that women have more going for them than the subservient role designed for them by society. She therefore wants to be different and she has carefully laid out her plans up the ladder of success. That is until she meets Raymond………….and falls in love!
Here the story gains momentum- Raymond is a married man and a playboy and has nothing more to offer Cassandra than friendship. But Cassandra says she is ready for anything- she loves him so much that her principles are almost forgotten. But she is yet to learn that:
“Life………………..is not a simple mathematics where given formulae lead to accurate answers……………………..it is a puzzle nobody has yet succeeded in unraveling. Love is not the answer to everything”.
That is what Raymond tells her as much but Cassandra decides to go ahead with the relationship. It is total bliss for a while till the wife of Raymond comes into the picture. Her mother tries to talk her out of the relationship telling her that what awaits her in the future is just heartbreak. She pleads with her:
“You have so much potential for happiness and fulfillment. All you have to do is reach out in the right direction.”
Violet is a talented author, as one can tell from the events that follow as the story unfolds but still the reader is mesmerized all through. Raymond is separated from the wife, and they have a son, Steve who hates Cassandra because he thinks she is out to steal his precious dad. Steve falls seriously ill and this puts the relationship on hold. Around the same time Cassandra discovers she’s pregnant but Raymond insists it is not his since he is sterile!
Steve’s death brings back Raymond into Cassandra’s life. Her son, Benjie is a replica of Steve that he is convinced it is his son. But the real father of Benjie is Bevis, Raymond’s brother!!! When Raymond gets to know about it, he is in hospital recuperating from an accident, but the truth is too much for him to handle and he dies of a heart attack.
Bevis and Cassandra later get married and Cassandra is so alive because she is in love. Better put:
“Love is life…….she who has never loved has never lived. Love is ……the essence of our very existence”.
Thumbs up for Violet for a story well written. Despite the many twists and turns in the tale, the reader is not “lost” along the way.” Cassandra” will keep one awake way beyond bedtime- for I didn’t sleep till I’d read from cover to cover!