House of Cards is a story about a simple village girl Mridula, who migrates to Bangalore city along with her husband Sanjay. Actually, Mridula and Sanjay fall in love during a wedding and Mridula marries him despite a deformity in one of his hands.
Both Mridula and Sanjay enjoy their government jobs. Mridula is a school teacher and Sanjay is a doctor (gynecologist). They are happy to lead a simple life. But, Sanjay faces a lot of problems in the government hospital setup. Even though he is well qualified, he is refused a trip abroad Some of his seniors play politics. When Sanjay is disillusioned, his friend Alex shows him an alternate path.
Alex convinces Sanjay to leave his government job and start a private hospital along with him. Sanjay's behaviour and attitude changes when money flows from the nursing home. Sanjay took all decisions in the family unlike the early days when both Sanjay and Mridula would discuss and take a decision. Their son Sishir was a spendthrift and Sanjay and Sishir always formed a team against Mridula. Sishir never listened to Mridula.
Their marriage goes on well till one day Mridula finds out that Sanjay was siphoning more than 50 lakhs to his sister and mother. Mridula was kept in the dark about these transactions. Mridula is very disappointed. She gets very depressed and meets a famous psychiatrist. Sanjay refuses to accompany Mridula during her visits to the psychiatrist. He keeps dodging her.
On their 25th wedding anniversary, when a big party is planned, Mridula leaves Sanjay and goes to her village. What happens in the end is for you to read and know.
Sudha Murthy sticks to her favorite theme - the clashes between the husband and wife when the husband becomes highly successful and rich. The story starts with a dedication "To all the Mridulas who suffer silently." The character portrayal of Sanjay's mother Ratnamma who lives in her own world of money lending is really good. Sudha Murthy shares her wisdom about marriages and what men and women expect in a marriage. These themes are brought out well when Sishir tries to date a girl named Neha. There are many supporting characters in the story. Sometimes you feel that too much of information is given about minor or insignificant characters who appear just once or twice in the story. Sudha Murthy excels in her portrayal of various travails in government hospitals.
The book runs to 232 pages and is published by Penguin Books. The prize of the book is Rs. 250.