Title: East of the sun
Author: Julia Gregson
Genre: Historical Fiction
Paperback: 464 pages
Publisher: Orion; Reprint edition (12 Jun 2008)
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
A Richard and July book club pick
At the center of East of the Sun are 3 women, Viva, Rose and Tor. Rose and Tor are childhood friends and are sailing to India for Rose’s wedding to a British military man. Viva is supposed to be their chaperon for the journey. Guy, a 16 year old boy is another charge she has to take due to shortage of money.
What follows is their journey from the U.K to Bombay (now Mumbai) and then their individual journey’s through India in the 1920’s.
While I really enjoyed the first half of the book, the second half felt a little too long for me. I’m not sure if it’s the book or the fact that I have very less patience with chunksters, blame it on library due dates and on the towering TBR pile. The stories of all the 3 women were interesting but very long. There were a lot of unnecessary details which does contribute to number of pages.
What I liked most about the book was the atmosphere created, whether it was Mumbai or Ooty, I could picture everything in my mind. One thing I would like to add here is that Poona (Pune) is not hot in November. I thought I could just correct that.
The book is set in 1920’s, during the British occupation of India, so I expected a bit of Indian-British clashes, but here it almost felt pro-British. But considering it’s a novel that is not based on the Independence struggle I let that go. There were also a few inaccuracies in the book, especially the translation of a few Hindi words, but again nothing that non-Hindi readers would mind.
Overall its a descent book with settings you might enjoy if you like reading about India.