Synopsis: 1929. When a passionate love affair threatens to leave Lucy in disgrace, she chooses a respectable marriage over a life of shame. With her husband, coffee plantation owner James, she travels to her new home in India, leaving her troubled past behind her.
Everything in India is new to Lucy, from the jewel-coloured fabrics to the exotic spices. When her path crosses that of Gowri, a young woman who tends the temple on the plantation’s edge, Lucy is curious to find out more about her, and the events that lead her to live in isolation from her family…
Now. With her career in shatters and her heart broken by the man she thought was her future, Kayva flees from bustling Mumbai to her hometown. A crumbling temple has been discovered in a village nearby, and with it letters detailing its tragic history – desperate pleas from a young woman called Gowri.
As Kavya learns of Gowri and Lucy’s painful story, she begins to understand the terrible sacrifices that were made and the decision the two women took that changed their lives forever. Can the secrets of the past help Kavya to rebuild her life?
Kat’s Rating: 5/5
Kat’s Review: I confess that before I had read Renita’s work I was always a little put off. I don’t know why but the synopsis always seemed a little too ‘not my thing’. However, after reading the first book by her I was smitten. I always love it when an author and their book surprises me. Since then I have goine on to read and loved her tales, because that what they are. Cleverly woven stories which literally take you on a journey. When I saw she has a new book out I have to admit I was apprehensive. When you fall in love with an author and their work, I always get a little bit scared that their following books won’t live up to my expectations. Thankfully I was wrong and this book swept me away as much as her others have, if not more.
I confess when the synopsis indicated we would be reading about Lucy and Gowri in the 1920’s my heart sunk a little. I have never been big on historical settings however by the time I had finished the book I was literally blown away. This story is tragic, emotional and so compelling I literally didn’t want to put it down, something I never thought I would say when it comes to historical stories.
Lucy lives in England and Gowri in India. Their lives could not be further apart and their stories end up being completely interweaved in a tale that swept me away to tyhe wilds of India. Gowri is a young woman who was given as a Devadasi when she was a young girl. Upon finishing this book I googled and read a lot more about this sad and sorry tradition where young girls become a servant of God and essentially nothing more than a mans toy. My heart wept for Gowri but the story was told with such passion and heart that I didn’t just imagine this story, but felt like I was right there with her. On the opposite side of the world Lucy is an entitled young British woman who seems to have it all. Her story takes a turn when she makes a huge mistake in her life which leads her into the arms of James, a young eligible Bachelor who owns a plantation in India.
In addition to Lusy and Gowri we meet Kavya who is living in the present day and who has had to make the decision to return to her village after failings in her personal life. We also briefly meet Sue, a widow who is working through the grief of lsoing her husband whilst recently discovering she was pregnant. Although Gowri and Lucy stole the show for me, both Kavya and Sue were pivotal to the story towards the end. The book started a little slower than her usual books but with perfectly good reason. The background is all important as these girls lives are laid out before us.
This book was a sheer joy to read and I am putting myself out on a limb by saying this is the best book I have read in this genre this year. Please do not make assukmptions like I once did by either teh synopsis, or cover not being the style you would read. This is true storytelling at it’s best and transporting you to another time and another world. One that had me absorbed to the end. A truly outstanding book that I hugely reccomend to everybody. This is by far the best work Renita D’Silva has written and a book that I absolutely LOVED!