It was an absolute pleasure to read Sheela’s generous memoirs, Marrying Across Borders. This most enlightening read shows her informed perspective on international marriage, giving others tips for thriving in the UK. They say to write what you would like to read; Sheela has filled a gap for those couples adapting to new surroundings and cultures. As well as us gleaning from her integration and connection with her family and friends, she cleverly elicits the experience of others in cross-cultural marriages. That was through a questionnaire to extend her Malaysian perspective.
This self-help book is presented striking a natural tone. Much humour and honesty keep us hooked in enjoying this helpful tool. I think it prepares those in cross-cultural marriages for smoother integration.
I particularly enjoyed the social and cultural norms chapter where Sheila says of her marriage: “When two people from different cultures fall in love, they come as two uniquely wrapped packages with intricate layers of beliefs and rules from their own culture ... We realised that we needed to respect and compromise as a couple in a cross-cultural relationship when it came to each other’s culture.”
Her story covers current topics to encourage cohesion within families. So the reader learns about misconceptions and better understands rich cultures. The layout is easy to dip into for valuable insight to engage newcomers as challenges present themselves or consume as a gripping memoir. I highly recommend this as a valuable resource to those welcoming couples in a cross-cultural marriage.
Fiona Linday is an East Midland’s writer, coach and creative mentor. First published with the young adult Get Over It, Adventures, Onwards and Upwards. Then followed a prize-winning short story, ‘Off the Beaten Track,’ and the Unique Writing Publications Story Award for ‘Love’ prose non-fiction. There is a YA eBook anthology of short stories, The Heavenly Road Trip with Help For Writers. More recently, she enjoys facilitating with Attenborough Arts Centre, Leicester University learners editing Family Matters: An Anthology of New Writing, 2019, and Making Our World Better, Dahlia Publishing, 2022. These projects were Arts Council supported. Her inspirational collection is Count Our Blessings, Onwards & Upwards, 2021. Presently, she is pitching a resilience-building, wildlife picture book series seeking a publisher. Her website is here. You can read more about Making Our World Better on Creative Writing at Leicester here.