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.
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Panoramic, Beautiful, Smart Historical Drama
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.
vintage Rosie Thomas
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.