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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

UNDER THE JEWELLED SKY by ALISON McQUEEN

Under the Jewelled Sky


I like books set in colonial India. I never seem to tire of them. This was absolutely brilliant. 

We have a very middle class English family. Father is a doctor, mother housewife and one child. Doctor enjoys working for the Rajah in the palace and despite the lack of an intellectual stimulus he does enjoy the work and his colleagues. The wife is a puritan, does not like the natives, looks on everyone as savages if they are not Christian and generally looks down on everyone around her. Sophie our heroine is the charming, innocent daughter of these two who unhappily falls in love with one who definitely forbidden territory. One of the local boys. To his own family this is a disgrace and one which leads to his father leaving the household of the Rajah in disgrace and going back to his old village.

Fast forward a good time and we find Sophie married to a supposedly charming man who is also in the diplomatic services with his posting to New Delhi on the cards. This posting opens up a world which Sophie has kept tightly hidden within herself and the series of coincidental events which unfold could be just a romantic story or could be what would also be described as your karma or fate from which one can generally never escape.

Very descriptive of colonial India both before independence and at the time of independence, the paranoia over separation, the jitteriness amongst the old colonials who are torn between going back to a home they do not know or understand or settling in India for good, an India which does not look very favourably on them at that. 

The split between two time frames of Sophie as a youngster and Sophie years later her lover as a young boy and then later as a man and also her father in his retirement were very interesting facets of the book. 

Excellent storytelling and at the heart of it a story of love, family, betrayal and regained love. 

11 comments:

Harvee @ Book Dilettante said...

I would love to read this one too. Historical novels set in India are always interesting to me.

Joanne said...

I like the sound of this book! Reminds me of M. M. Kaye's books set in Colonial India.

bermudaonion said...

I love books set in colonial India as well. This one sounds terrific!

Sarah Johnson said...

I just received it in the mail after ordering from Book Depository. Glad you'd recommend it!

Mary (Bookfan) said...

I'll look for it. I think it sounds like a wonderful book. Great review, Mystica!

Lisa said...

I added this one to my wish list as soon as I read your first two sentences!

Melissa @ Confessions of an Avid Reader said...

This book is new to me, but it sounds intriguing. I'm going to add it to my wish list. Thanks for the review.

Darlene said...

I've got this book up to read soon and can't wait. I'm so glad to hear you enjoyed it.

Carole said...

thanks for lettign me know about this book. I think I will enjoy it too. Cheers

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

This sounds like a wonderful read -- on the list it goes.

Julie @ Knitting and Sundries said...

This one sounds fab! I also love tales of colonial India, although sometimes they make my blood boil (the attitude of the doctor's wife in this one would be a good example). I also LOVE this cover! Going on my wishlist.