East of the Sun: A Novel
Written by: Julia Gregson
Published by: Simon & Schuster,
A Touchstone Book
Date: June 2009 – Reprint
(Originally published in 2008)
Format: Trade Paperback
“East of the Sun is a breathtaking, literary masterpiece!”
Product Description – From Amazon.com
“As the Kaisar-i-Hind weighs anchor for Bombay in the autumn of 1928, its passengers ponder their fate in a distant land. They are part of the “Fishing Fleet” — the name given to the legions of Englishwomen who sail to India each year in search of husbands, heedless of the life that awaits them. The inexperienced chaperone Viva Holloway has been entrusted to watch over three unsettling charges. There’s Rose, as beautiful as she is naïve, who plans to marry a cavalry officer she has met a mere handful of times. Her bridesmaid, Victoria, is hell-bent on losing her virginity en route before finding a husband of her own. And shadowing them all is the malevolent presence of a disturbed schoolboy named Guy Glover.
From the parties of the wealthy Bombay socialites to the poverty of Tamarind Street, from the sooty streets of London to the genteel conversation of the Bombay Yacht Club, East of the Sun is graced with lavish detail and a penetrating sensitivity — historical fiction at its greatest.”
East of the Sun begins in London, England in September of 1928. Viva Holloway poses as an experienced chaperone and she takes on three charges for the voyage; two young women, Rose & Victoria, and a rather odd young man named Guy. They all make their way to Bombay, India on the luxurious ship, Kaisar-i-Hind. Viva is on her way back to Bombay to deal with unfinished business related to the death of her family and she chaperones the three young people as a way to pay for her passage to India. This story is beautifully described with picturesque images of India that capture the essence and the different customs found on the far away continent; the tastes, sights, aromas and sounds are so vivid, so tangible, that the reader experiences everything along with the characters and with the same impact. Many colourful, carefully-crafted characters dot the storyline, each of them unique and utterly captivating. I felt as if I had been transported to India where I became immersed in its unfamiliar culture and its earthy vitality.
Viva ran down the beach with them. There’d been days since she’d been back in Bombay when she’d positively hated it-too hot, too crowded, too smelly, too hard-but today, how could you not love it? This beautiful beach; the sun pouring out of the sky; the madcap bravery of these children forgetting so easily that they were orphaned and poor in one of the harshest cities on earth.
The narrative is vastly entertaining; at times it is humorous and witty, yet it has poignant moments that leaves the reader humbled with emotion and a deep sense of loss and sorrow. This story flows effortlessly, pulls at your emotions, and asks questions about your own humanity as it sweeps you up in its magnificence of scope and imagination.
This book is a long read, but it is worth every moment of your time!
I very highly recommend it to all historical fiction lovers and anyone with an interest in Bombay India or the “Fishing Fleet”.
♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ (10 out of 10 Diamonds) – Absolutely LOVED it!!
Link to the Author’s Website:
Link to the Publisher’s Website:
A special thanks to Simon & Schuster for sending me a copy to review.
Copyright © Book Reviews By Bobbie — Bobbie Crawford-McCoy