Genre: Historical Fiction
She allows herself to kiss her perfect child just once. She wraps the baby in her last gift: a hand-knitted cardigan, embroidered with a water lily pattern. ‘You’re better off without me,’ she whispers and although every step breaks her heart, she walks away.
1910, India. Young and curious Alice, with her spun-gold hair, grows up in her family’s sprawling compound with parents as remote as England, the cold country she has never seen. It is Raju, son of a servant, with whom she shares her secrets. Together, their love grows like roses – but leaves deep thorns. Because when they get too close, Alice’s father drags them apart, sending Raju far away and banishing Alice to England…
1944. Intelligent and kind Janaki is raised in an orphanage in India. The nuns love to tell the story: Janaki’s arrival stopped the independence riots outside the gates, as the men on both sides gazed at the starry-eyed little girl left in a beautiful hand-knitted cardigan. Janaki longs for her real mother, the woman who was forced to abandon her, wrapped in a precious gift…
Now old enough to be a grandmother and living alone in India, Alice watches children play under the tamarind trees, haunted by the terrible mistake she made fifty years ago. It’s just an ordinary afternoon, until a young girl with familiar eyes appears with a photograph and Alice must make a choice. Will she spend the rest of her life consumed by dreams of the past, or can she admit her mistakes and choose love and light at last?
A stunning and heartbreaking novel about how a forbidden love can echo through the generations. Readers who love Lucinda Riley, Kathryn Hughes and The Storyteller’s Secret will be captivated.
Verdict: I was privilege from the good people and net galley who let me read this before it’s released to the general public, I have to say I wasn’t disappointed. This book has everything: scandal, class divides, religious divides, post natal depression, roots, the oppression of women and the prejudices they face in the science and medical fields. It’s important to remember that this book is set when the British ruled over India and the Indians wanted independence. The fact that the narrative is set in real places amongst real political events makes the book even more fragrant and vivid. The alternating narratives show the different attitudes towards women in the early 1900s and 1940s and later the 1980s. It also shows usthe blatant racist and elitist attitude that the adults of the 1920s generation had and the sense of entitlement they thought they had over a land that wasn’t really theirs. ￼I loved each and every character and felt every emotion that they did.￼￼ this book showed me that your past doesn’t have to define you or shape your future only you can do that and it is always important to remember your roots and where you came from. It is a Romeo and Juliet love story set in a time where their romance will you be accepted but despite this the characters pursue their own happiness although sometimes having disastrous consequences on the ones they love the most￼.