I’ve always enjoyed reading historical fiction so was excited to hear about the latest book by Dinah Jefferies, Before the Rains, which was set in India. Today I’m sharing my thoughts and taking part in the blog tour. Look for the #BeforeTheRains to find the other reviews.
Before The Rains
1930, Rajputana, India. Since her husband’s death, 28-year-old photojournalist Eliza’s only companion has been her camera. When the British Government send her to an Indian princely state to photograph the royal family, she’s determined to make a name for herself.
But when Eliza arrives at the palace she meets Jay, the Prince’s handsome, brooding younger brother. Brought together by their desire to improve conditions for local people, Jay and Eliza find they have more in common than they think. But their families – and society – think otherwise. Eventually they will have to make a choice between doing what’s expected, and following their heart. . .
I loved this book. I knew nothing about India or this period of it’s history but it was easy to imagine the characters come to life, thanks to the rich storytelling. I really love Dinah Jefferies style so found this book easy to read. I enjoyed reading more about life inside an Indian palace and the beautiful buildings, culture and customs.
I liked the fact that the relationship between the two main characters evolved during the book. I was never quite sure which way the story would unfold and it definitely kept me on my toes. I couldn’t wait to read a few chapters every evenings and would drift off to sleep, quite happy to be dreaming about something I had read about.
There are a good few twists and turns before the ending of the story, which managed to surprise me. I really did enjoy it and would recommend it to those who enjoy historical fiction, love India, what to read more about some of the customs (the good and the bad – they are all included) or just love reading the latest from Dinah Jefferies!
Before the Rains by Dinah Jefferies is priced at £7.99 and available from Amazon and all good bookshops.
Lockwood Kipling exhibition at the V&A
If you love reading about India then I must mention the Lockwood Kipling exhibition at the V&A. This is a large, free exhibition which is on until the 2nd April 2017. Lockwood Kipling has long been remembered as the father of Rudyard Kipling but he was so much more than that.
John Lockwood Kipling (1837 – 1911), was an artist, writer, museum director, teacher, conservationist and influential figure in the Arts and Crafts movement. He had a fascinating life, spending much of his career in Lahore as Principal of the College of Art and Director of the Museum, before retiring to England, where he worked as a book illustrator and designer until his death in 1911.
In partnership with his colleague, Bhai Ram Singh, he created Indian-style rooms for the British royal family at Bagshot Park in Surrey and at Osborne House, Queen Victoria’s summer residence on the Isle of Wight.
There are some beautiful items on display, perfect for imagining yourself in India! There are photographs and drawings taken by Lockwood Kipling; items he bought for his own homes, as well as textiles, paintings and items of furniture from the V&A collection – some of which were actually sent by Lockwood Kipling for the permanent collection of the museum.
You may be interested in my other reviews of books by Dinah Jefferies: