Left penniless upon the death of her mother, Perdita Whitney’s future takes an unexpected turn for the better when she joins her father Edward in India. Edward’s business is based on the opium trade, and while it is a distasteful business it is also quite lucrative. At twenty-six Perdita is pretty much on the shelf marriage wise, but she receives a very unexpected proposal from Marcus Blagdon, the new Earl of Beaminster. Marcus is a considerate husband, but not a passionate one. They get along well enough and Perdita begins to come out of her shell and shine on her own merit, and now that she’s shining a lot more she’s also attracting the attentions of American Charles Byrd who has quite a reputation as a ladies man.

The story moves to Afghanistan after the British occupation, and once things are *secure* the military wives, including Perdita join their husbands – although the political situation isn’t quite as stable as everyone thought…

I won’t go further so as not to spoil for those not familiar with this bit of history but those who are know there is quite a nail biter when the British withdraw from the occupied territory. I did enjoy this, but it doesn’t quite come up to Emma Drummond’s Beyond all Frontiers, nor MM Kaye’s fabulous The Far Pavilions, but does fairly well as a fix for the British Raj addicts like myself. I didn’t warm up to Perdita, nor buy into the big love story, and those geared more towards romance will be a bit disappointed in the ending. I do give kudos to the author for running a merry chase on the big betrayal promised on the book jacket – I did not see that coming at all. 3.5/5 stars.

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