Posts Tagged ‘India’

The Midnight Rose – Lucinda Riley

Posted in Historical Fiction, Saga on January 20th, 2014 by admin – 6 Comments

Midnight Rose

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Pan (16 Jan 2014)
  • ISBN-10: 1447218434
  • My Rating – 3.5 stars

Sometimes I need a good dollop of escapism in my reading material, especially during the dreary Winter months when sunshine is in short supply.  Fortunately I had The Midnight Rose, Lucinda Riley’s latest novel, to keep me entertained when the Christmas festivities had fizzled out.

This is the story of Anni (Anahita) Chavan, a tale which spans four generations and two continents.  As Anni celebrates her 100th birthday in Darjeeling, India, surrounded by her extended family, she decides to entrust her great-grandson, Ari, with the task of uncovering long buried family secrets – secrets which will lead him to Astbury Hall and the staid world of the English aristocracy.

As the novel progresses, we see the vivid colours of India at the height of the Raj; a warm, vibrant setting which contrasts sharply with the cold, reserved atmosphere which awaits Anni when she comes to England.   The characters are larger than life, particularly the strong women in the shape of Anni and her nemesis, Lady Maud Astbury.

The Midnight Rose is a thoroughly entertaining read which will appeal to those who enjoy historical sagas in the style of Barbara Taylor Bradford and Lesley Pearse and perhaps fans of Downton Abbey.  Yes, there are a few predictable elements but there’s no doubt Ms Riley can spin a good yarn to keep her readers captivated.

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The Elephant Girl – Henriette Gyland

Posted in Contemporary Fiction, Romance on July 19th, 2013 by admin – 4 Comments

The Elephant Girl

Published
04/07/2013

Publisher
Choc Lit

Source
Publisher

My Rating
4 stars -  I have a few more lined up from this publisher and am now looking forward to them even more!

The Elephant Girl is the second novel from Henriette Gyland and one of many new titles from Choc Lit, a relatively new publisher which publishes stories for women with romance at the forefront.  I never thought I’d ever be a fan of contemporary romantic fiction but I don’t mind being proven wrong here and more recently by another of Choc Lit’s titles, Beneath an Irish Sky.

There are two key characters in The Elephant Girl,  Helen Stephens and Jason Moody, both in their mid-twenties, who meet in supposedly random circumstances.  Little does Jason know that Helen is a woman on a mission, determined to track down the woman responsible for her mother’s death 20 years beforehand.

In this cleverly plotted tale, the author successfully blends romance and mystery with a dash of thriller for good measure.  Fear not, ye wimps (like me) who don’t fare too well with blood and gore, this is crime-lite, an ideal holiday read to put a smile on your face…or maybe an occasional  frown as you might want to knock Helen and Jason’s heads together but  then the path of true love never did run smoothly!

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The Sandalwood Tree – Elle Newmark

Posted in Dual Time Frame, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction on August 21st, 2011 by admin – 7 Comments

Transworld Book Group

I read and reviewed this book as part of the Transworld Reading Group Challenge.

I am very partial to well told dual time-frame stories although I usually find the contemporary narrative weaker so this is a rare gem indeed, a dual time frame narrative with both stories set in the past, both in India, one in 1947 and the other in the mid 19th century.  I’m delighted to report that both stories drew me in from the opening pages and I was sad to finish this very engaging novel.

In the 1947 setting, Evie and Martin Mitchell, and their little boy, Billy, have moved to India in a bid to embark on a new life, far away from the nightmare memories of WWII which continue to haunt Martin, a former soldier.  Unfortunately, the turmoil of war torn India with all its religious divisions mirrors the turbulent nature of the Mitchells’ relationship.  Evie feels isolated but a diversion arrives when she discovers some old letters hidden within the walls of their bungalow – she is enthralled by the story which emerges of two Victorian women who once occupied their home during the 1840s.

There’s a lot to satisfy the reader in this carefully woven tale – history, romance, eccentricity, various thrills and spills.  Elle Newmark has an almost painterly approach to her descriptions and you feel plunged into this dusty landscape – it is very easy to visualise the eponymous sandalwood tree in front of the bungalow which has witnessed so much change as India gradually edges its way towards partition.  We also witness first-hand the sights, smells and sounds of an India which has learned to “bend” rather than be “broken” by the streams of invaders and conquerers over the centuries.

I was very saddened to learn of the recent death of Elle who was still working on the final draft of this captivating novel during a long illness.  However she has left a wonderful legacy in both this and her previous novel The Book of Unholy Mischief.

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