A woman in an arranged marriage is liberated by a desire that threatens her family and future. An only child raised to become a dutiful wife, Astha is filled with unnamed longings and untapped potential. In the privacy of her middle-class Indian home, she dreams of the lover who will touch her soul. But her future was mapped out long ago: betrothal to a man with impeccable credentials, with motherhood to follow.
In a world of rapidly changing values and traditions, an Indian woman enters into an arranged marriage to a man she barely knows and moves to distant Canada. Thirty-year-old Nina is an English teacher living alone in Jangpura, India. With diminishing prospects, she agrees to an arranged union. Her groom is the Indian-born Ananda, who lives in Canada. He once dreamed of becoming a doctor but settled for dentistry. He is lonely, and also in want of a spouse.
Virmati is the eldest of 11 children, born to a respectable family in Amritsar. Her world is shaken when she falls in love with a married man. Charismatic Harish is a respected professor and her family's tenant. Virmati takes up with Harish and finds herself living alongside his first wife. Set in Amritsar and Lahore and narrated by Virmati and her daughter, Ida, a divorcée on a quest to understand and connect with her departed mother, Difficult Daughters is a stunning tale of motherhood, love, and finding one's identity in a nation struggling to discover its own.
Shagun is a woman of unassailable social standing, married to a man chosen for her - a rising executive. Her lover is her husband’s boss. She asks for a divorce, and all hell breaks loose. Locked in a venomous legal battle for custody of their eight-year-old son and two-year-old daughter, Shagun and Raman begin a journey that will have unforetold consequences.
When their traditional business - selling saris - is increasingly sidelined by the new fashion for jeans and stitched salwar kameez, the Banwari Lal family must adapt. But instead of branching out, the sons remain apprenticed to the struggling shop and the daughters are confined to the family home. As envy and suspicion grip parents and children alike, the need for escape - whether through illicit love or in the making of pickles or the search for education - becomes ever stronger.