Star crossed lovers, the British Raj & India, what more can you want in a book?
This was just an amazing book. Once the author set up her characters and story line things just cooked along — be prepared for the last 200 pages, because you will not surface for air until it’s done! We have Winter, a wealthy heiress born and orphaned in India and sent to England to be raised by mostly uncaring relatives(except for the great-grandfather). When her great-grandfather dies, she is sent at the age of 17 to join her fiancee under the care of Alex Randall, who unbeknownst to her is now a debauched, obese drunk. Alex does try to tell her, but she maintains her childhood image of her “hero” and will not listen, to her great regret.
Lots of trials and tribulations as our hero and heroine travel back to India, the meeting and marriage to Conway and the Sepoy rebellion, and vividly portrayed by an author who has a great knowledge and love of the country and it’s history. This is not only a story of two lovers, but one of stubborn, bigoted officials hiding their heads in the sand, treachery, intrigue and the brutal way in which the rebellion played out against the British, even shocking some of their own people. As with The Far Pavilions, it is shocking to see after 150 years not much of life and politics has changed in the Far East, nor should the Europeans (or Americans now for that matter) be interfering in their life, culture and religion.
Highly recommended for any lover of historical fiction, India, or just a darn good book. This would make an awesome mini series, the sequences from the attack on the British and Alex and Winter’s escape are just breathtaking. As a side note for those loooking for well written books for younger readers, this should be a good choice. Originally written in the 50’s, the love scenes are quite chaste. Just be prepared for some gory, though accurate, portrayal of the violence aginst the British (including women and children) during the rebellion.
If you enjoy this book, I would also recommend Zemindar. The same topic, the Sepoy rebellion, and beautifully written. The author’s prose was gorgeous, very reminiscent of Charlotte Bronte.