Stitch and Bear

A long-running Irish blog with reviews of the best restaurants in Dublin and throughout Ireland. Some wine and cocktails thrown in for good measure!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

East of the Sun - Julia Gregson

Author: Julia Gregson

I received East of the Sun by accident when sent me the wrong book by accident. I was annoyed when I opened the envelope, as I had been expecting The Pirate's Daughter (reviewed here earlier), but after I read a few pages of East of the Sun, I decided to keep it.

This of course led to confusion on the part of Play when I offered to pay for the book. They kept offering me money so that I could return it to them. Suffice to say, I still haven't managed to pay them for this book, despite my best efforts.

The only annoying thing about this book was the firmly attached Richard and Judy Bookclub sticker. I hate stickers on books and the first thing I will do after a purchase in the book is remove all price tags, promotional stickers and labels. Given that any book sold in Waterstones these days can have a "3 for 2" offer, a Richard and Juby label and a price tag means that removing all stickers can take a fair amout of time. I also hate those shops that don't use easy to peel stickers. Shame on you. It seems that I'm not the only person in world who obsesses over this though - read here.

Back to the book in question. It's set in the late 1920s and features a young English lady, Rose, who is taking the boat to India to marry a young calvary officer who she barely knows. Accompanying her is her friend Tor, who failed to find a young man at the last debs season and is now hoping to find a partner in India, where women are in short supply. They are chaperoned by Viva, who is returing to the India she left as a child in order to make sense of her family history.

The novel follows the tales of the three women, each with a distinct personality as they struggle in the face of tough relationships and the increasing political turmoil in India. It's a wonderful tale of friendship, and while romance and relationships are part of this story, they never really dominate the central theme of friendship. The scenery and settings in the book are fabulously described and capture an era that is now gone, that of British colonial India.

This is a great read - not too strenuous or tough, but still with meaning.

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