1939: Nerys Watkins leaves rural Wales to accompany her husband on a missionary posting to India. Travelling from lonely Ladakh, high in the Himalayas, Nerys discovers a new world in the city of Srinagar.
Here, in the exquisite heart of Kashmir, the British live on carved wooden houseboats and dance, flirt and gossip as if there is no war. But the battles draw ever closer. Nerys is caught up in a dangerous friendship, and by the time she is reunited with her husband, the innocent Welsh bride has become a different woman.
Years later, when Mair Ellis clears out her father’s house, she finds an exquisite antique shawl which holds a lock of child’s hair. Tracing her grandparents’ roots back to Kashmir, Mair embarks on a quest that will change her life forever.
©2011 Rosie Thomas (P)2011 AudioGO Ltd
This is an extraordinary historical drama. It mostly concerns the fortunes of three British women living during the British Raj period in India. They are the wife of a missionary, a hapless and naive soldier's wife, and an engineer's wife. Their characters grow--or are crushed--as the story develops. The setting and time are shown in both their brutality and beauty. The story shifts back and forth between the present day descendant of the missionary's wife and the 19th c. era, with the emphasis on the latter. Some aspects of this book are truly heart breaking, but in a way that gives the book a great sense of historical authenticity and emotional truth. The narration is spectacular, with Welsh, Scottish, English, and Indian accents effortlessly limned. There is romance, but it is far, far more than a sappy romance. Can NOT recommend this highly enough.
Truly vintage Rosie Thomas, a captivating story in a fabulous setting.
The characters were so real, so varied and so believable.
The setting between rural Wales & vibrant India transported the reader.
The thread of the story made it un-put downable.
I read the book but was unsure of the pronounciations so her reading helped to bring it to life for me.
I loved the description of the shawl being spread out & drifting with all the beautiful colours being seen for the first time.
I rated this book as highly as "Sun at midnight " & "White" which I have always considered superb stories.
i actually enjoyed the grandmothers staory most i think that could have been a book on its own! not sure why the granddaughters story was such a big part, it was a bit of a let down
yes but i dont want to spoil it!
I have always wanted to travel to Kashmir, so I loved how the setting of the novel was portrayed! The contrast between life as a privileged Brit and poor native people was well-researched and believable. The natural beauty of Kashmir, and the descriptions of the houseboats were also intriguing. The end of the British Raj was an epic time in human history, and I thought the flashbacks between then and now were an effective method of spinning a wonderful mystery. As to the romance: I did not find the main character's extra-marital affair very sympathetic or compelling. I enjoyed the narrator's voice and thought it contributed well to the story.
"The shawl carries such a story"
I enjoyed the book which was two stories within one novel the story of Mair and her hunger for information on the shawl and Nerys and her life in India and the rich imagery that brings.
It was an interesting story and I personally found the character of Nerys much more interesting than Mair although both were essential to the story as it unfolded. I especially enjoyed the rich descriptive text which really drew me into the novel and made it interesting.
I have not read any other books by Rosie Thomas but would consider them and really enjoyed the narrative by Nerys Hughes.
I would recommend the book as I enjoyed it but would concede that it would not be to everyones taste.
"A pleasure to listen to"
I was really hoping that this would live up to the cover description and be a trip backbin time. I was not disappointed the author managed the two main characters with great skill keeping you guessing as each story unfolds across the years. I will definitely read more from this Rosie Thomas.
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