As the Kaisar-I-Hind weighs anchor for Bombay in the autumn of 1928, its passengers ponder their fate in a distant land. Read more...
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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 English women 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 naive, 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" takes us back to a world we hardly understand but yearn to know. This is a book that has it all: glorious detail, fascinating characters, and masterful storytelling.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 32.
- Review Date: 2009-04-13
- Reviewer: Staff
British author Gregson bows in America with her fast-paced second novel, an absorbing international period drama concerning three young Englishwomen and a troubled boy journeying to India in the late 1920s. The eldest at 25, Viva Holloway is an orphan hoping to retrieve her lost parents' personal effects; she's paying her way by chaperoning three younger travelers. Rose Wetherby is going to India to be married; Victoria “Tor” Sowerby is Rose's bridesmaid; and 16-year-old Guy Glover is returning home after getting expelled from school for stealing. Throughout, narrative shifts reveal the travelers' perspectives and fears: Viva is haunted by a childhood and family she barely remembers; Rose is growing increasingly nervous about how little she knows of her fiancé; and Tor is eager, after a disappointing deb season in London, to find a husband of her own and avoid returning to England. Guy's strange behavior makes it clear he's unstable, and before long, he's assaulted a member of a powerful Indian family, setting off a frightening chain of events for both himself and Viva. Gregson's rich imagery, strong characters and gripping plot make this a resonant page-turner. (June)