Posted in Book Review, Family Drama, Friendship, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction

5* #Review – The Girl in the Painting – Renita D’ Silva @bookouture @RenitaDSilva #HistoricalFiction #Literary #Fiction #India #1920s

India, 1926: English Margaret arrives with her new husband Suraj at his family home, set amidst beautiful rolling hills, the air filled with the soft scent of spices and hibiscus flowers. Margaret is unwelcome, homesick and lonely, but her maid Archana, a young woman from an impoverished family, reminds her of her long-lost sister, a tiny glimpse of home in a faraway place.

As Margaret and Archana spend more time together, an unexpected friendship blooms. But in British India the divide between rich and poor, English and Indian, is wide, and the clash between Margaret’s modern views and the weight of tradition on Archana will lead to devastating results…

England, 2000: Emma is at a crossroads. She has discovered the lie at the heart of her relationship, and she worries over the right choice to make for herself and her beloved daughter. When her grandmother gives her a mysterious painting, and asks her to take a message of forgiveness to an old friend in India, Emma is relieved to have some time and space to make a decision about her future. But as she fulfils her grandmother’s wish, a secret kept for over seventy years is finally revealed – the story of a day spent painting by a stream full of water lilies, where a betrayal tore three lives apart forever…

Will the weight of her grandmother’s regrets push Emma towards a mistake that will stay with her forever, or give her the courage she needs to make the right choice?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from bookouture via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

‘The Girl in the Painting’ and all of this author’s books are always thought provoking, rich in literary and visual imagery, full of historical detail, and unashamedly emotional. They are a true escapist read, written for the pleasure of writing, and this love and dedication comes across in every word.

The plot is divided between the early twentieth century, particularly the 1920s in England and India, and the end of the twentieth century when Margaret, at the end of her life, asks her grandaughter, Emma, also at a crossroads in her life to seek out an old friend and right a wrong.

The historical plot moves between England from Margaret’s perspective and India from Archana’s perspective, the stories seem so divergent, there are common threads, but it’s only in the late 1920s, when the two women’s lives become inextricably joined.

The story highlights the culturial differences from a unique point of view and allows the reader to better understand , what from a westen perspective may seem unthinkable. The similarites in the outlook and empowerment of women is also explored in this story. At the time when English women were campaigning for equality. They were in many ways as powerless to determine their own destiny, as the women in India at that time. The importance of sisters in their lives, is another thing Margaret and Archana have in common.

The characters are relatable and easy to empathise, you feel their pain and guilt and want them to find some solace. All three women and those who touch their lives are changed by heartbreak.

The historical detail gives the story depth and vivacity, whether it be in India or England, where Margaret tastes life with ‘The Bloomsbury Group, artists and writers who care little for social conventions and eptiomise the 1920s in England.

‘The Girl in the Painting’ is an emotional, evocative , escapist journey for everyone who likes to lose themselves in a story..

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Posted in Book Review, New Books

4* Review: While I Was Waiting – Georgia Hill

24762168Blurb - Coastal

June 1963, Clematis Cottage, Stoke St. Mary, Herefordshire

I am really not sure why I am writing this. A foolish whim by a foolish old lady and it will probably sit in a box unread and decay much like its writer when Death makes his careless decision.

But perhaps someone will find it. Someone will care enough to read and somehow I know that will happen.

April 2000, Clematis Cottage, Stoke St. Mary, Herefordshire

Tired of her life in London, freelance illustrator Rachel buys the beautiful but dilapidated Clematis Cottage and sets about creating the home of her dreams. But tucked away behind the water tank in the attic and left to gather dust for decades is an old biscuit tin containing letters, postcards and a diary. So much more than old scraps of paper, these are precious memories that tell the story of Henrietta Trenchard-Lewis, the love she lost in the Great War and the girl who was left behind.

Buy Links - Coastal
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My Review - Coastal

While I Was WaitingRachel finds ghosts, history, mystery and romance, when she leaves London and escapes to the rural idyll of Herefordshire.

Enchanted by Clematis cottage, she finds all is not what it first appears. When she moves in, drastic renovation is necessary for the bricks and mortar to match up to the cottage’s perfect outlook. Employing the local builders is the only way and they come highly recommended. Gabe is very easy on the eye, he compensates for the dust and the disruption but he is so different from what Rachel’s used to. Will he fit into her ordered world? The passion between Gabe and Rachel simmers, before it boils over but can they learn to celebrate each other’s differences, or are they doomed to crash and burn?

Rachel is determined to make her new life work. The villagers are interesting characters and their interaction is vital to her character’s growth and development. I particularly like Stan and Sheila, who in their different ways, both offer Rachel more advice and encouragement than her own parents.

The cottage’s former owner Hetty, now deceased, has her own story to tell and when a journal and fading letters are discovered, Rachel and the reader are flung back into the early twentieth century and the tragedy and illusions of ‘The Great War’.

Intrigued, Rachel’s tendency to obsess make her determined to find out what really happened in Hetty’s life when the journal and letters leave her with more questions than answers. The sojourn into the past has parallels to Rachel’s present and with some supernatural encouragement she is determined to find out the truth. Rachel’s emotional journey is what makes this a feel good read and the ending is truly magical.

I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

While I Was Waiting by Georgia Hill

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


While I Was Waiting by Georgia Hill

Georgia Hill

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