Book Review: East of the Sun by Julia Gregson

East of the Sun by Julia Gregson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Publisher:  Orion

Summary: Autumn 1928. The Kaiser-i-Hind is en route to Bombay. In Cabin D38, Viva Hollowat, an inexperienced chaperone, is worried she's made a terrible mistake. Her advert in The Lady has resulted in three unsettling charges to be escorted to India.

Rose, a beautiful, dangerously naive English girl, is about to be married to the cavalry officer she has met only a handful of times.
Victoria, the bridesmaid, is determined to lose her virginity on the journey before finding a husband of her own in India. And overshadowing all three of them, the malevolent presence of Guy Glover, a strange and disturbed schoolboy.

Three potential Memsahibs with a myriad of reasons for leaving England, bu the cargo of hopes and secrets they carry has done little to prepare them for what lies ahead.

A solid 3.5 for me. I actually have this in ebook & paperback form, apparently I was so drawn to the story I had to buy it twice. I'm on a bit of a British Colonialism in India jag at the moment (after finally getting to watch The Jewel in The Crown this summer & now highly anticipating Indian Summers soon to air on Masterpiece)so I dove right into this. I was satisfied enough with the story of Viva, the chaperone of Rose, Tor and the odd end of the story Guy (so odd an end, that he's not even mentioned in the book blurb or summary). Viva was in search of a trunk left to her by her deceased parents, Rose is travelling to India to marry Jack whom she's met a handful of times & Tor (Victoria) is on the husband hunt, apparently so called "The Fishing Fleet". Most of their journey to discovery is interesting but the story did feel a bit slow in the middle. I quite enjoyed the parts covering the passage on the ship and the descriptions of India in a particular time and place on the cusp of something major was well done. Still, I would have liked a bit more of the perspective of an Indian character or two. As it stands they were background dressing mostly and not very deeply rendered at all and I think some of them could justifiably have been more to better effect. So, my main issue is that this felt a bit light on the actual Colonialism & it's ripples through society. That aside, I did enjoy the book and am glad that I read it. This was my first read of Julia Gregson but I do have her Jasmine Nights as well so will read her again. I'd recommend this one to historical fiction fans & fans of the time & instance.

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