The Book Mark

Books that make the grade.

Tag Archives: India

The Midnight Rose


I am happy to say I spent the weekend with The Midnight Rose (A) by Lucinda Riley.

This delightful, heartfelt book spans four decades and several continents and delivers characters that are authentic and dynamic. Set both in India and England, we meet Princess Indira daughter of a noble Indian family and her best friend and constant companion Anahita. Indira is extremely willful and spoiled while Anahita has lived an impoverished though noble life. In 1920, Anahita travels with Indira to England where she meets Donald Astbury from the Astbury estate. Despite their differences of culture and position they fall in love. Princess Indira, though arranged to marry another, becomes desperately in love with Prince Varun. Neither woman has chosen an easy path but his is only half the story.

Present day events at Astbury Estates bring the novel to current misguided love affairs while entangling the lives of the lovers of 1920. Now, in 2011 a film crew has descended on Astbury Estate. Rebecca an American actress so closely resembles Violet Astbury that Anthony the present lord of the estate believes it is she reincarnated.

Riley expertly weaves the past and the present delivering an amazing story of love, deceit and betrayal. Though set in different time periods it flows seamlessly. The characters are powerful and the reader becomes deeply invested in their lives. Once started, The Midnight Rose is unstoppable. You will not be able to rest until you have read the story to its conclusion. It has been sometime since I have read a book of this caliber. To this end, I more than recommend you read it. I want you to read it. You will not be disappointed. You will thank me for this suggestion 🙂

The Female Spirit

This week I had the pleasure of reading an advance copy of The Lilac House (A) by Anita Nair.  This novel is set in India where Meera’s husband Giri has gone missing.  She soon learns that he has left her and their family in order to go forward with his life.  As wife and mother, Meera has mostly lost “self” and now, she is challenged to take on the untraditional roll as provider; a roll that she is ill prepared for.

Professor Jak has returned to India as a recently divorced man who must face his own demons.  Jak and his family have lived in America.  His “American” daughter, Smritri decided to attend University in Jak’s native India so that she could experience the India that her father has so often spoken about.  There has been a terrible accident and now Smritri lies in a vegetative coma and Jak is determined to retrace her steps in order to find the truth.

The Lilac House is beautifully written and is a powerful story of the feminine spirit.  Meera struggles to reinvent herself into a modern woman who will no longer be bound by her culture.  She must learn to allow herself a life that isn’t always lived for others.  She must recognize that her feelings matter and that she has worth and needs.

As Jak seeks the answers to Smritri’s actions; he faces his own failures as a father, husband, son and brother.  Is Smritri paying for his past deeds?  Was she a rebellious spirit or a righteous one?  Can he manage the pain of her condition and learn to deal with his guilt?

As Meera and Jak evolve into the people they were meant to be; their lives cross and their story becomes one in an effort to find truth, maintain hope, and recognize the amazing power of the female spirit.

I strongly endorse The Lilac House.  Like the pomegranate that is depicted on the cover it consists of many pieces, textures and layers that produce incredible flavor and I believe its flavor will be pleasing to everyone.