East of the Sun by Julia Gregson

Title: East of the sun
Author: Julia Gregson
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Library
Paperback: 464 pages
Publisher: Orion; Reprint edition (12 Jun 2008)
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
A Richard and July book club pick

My thoughts:
At the center of East of the Sun are 3 women, Viva, Rose and Tor. Rose and Tor are childhood friends and are sailing to India for Rose’s wedding to a British military man. Viva is supposed to be their chaperon for the journey. Guy, a 16 year old boy is another charge she has to take due to shortage of money.

What follows is their journey from the U.K to Bombay (now Mumbai) and then their individual journey’s through India in the 1920’s.

While I really enjoyed the first half of the book, the second half felt a little too long for me. I’m not sure if it’s the book or the fact that I have very less patience with chunksters, blame it on library due dates and on the towering TBR pile. The stories of all the 3 women were interesting but very long. There were a lot of unnecessary details which does contribute to number of pages.

What I liked most about the book was the atmosphere created, whether it was Mumbai or Ooty, I could picture everything in my mind. One thing I would like to add here is that Poona (Pune) is not hot in November. I thought I could just correct that.

The book is set in 1920’s, during the British occupation of India, so I expected a bit of Indian-British clashes, but here it almost felt pro-British. But considering it’s a novel that is not based on the Independence struggle I let that go. There were also a few inaccuracies in the book, especially the translation of a few Hindi words, but again nothing that non-Hindi readers would mind.

Overall its a descent book with settings you might enjoy if you like reading about India.

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13 thoughts on “East of the Sun by Julia Gregson

  1. I like this review, especially from someone who has more than the average insight into India….just curious, for a beginner into this geographical location, are there any books you would recommend as a good introduction to historical fiction about India??

    • I’m not sure I’m the person for this as I don’t read a lot of Historical fiction. But I have observed that most of the historical fiction set in India is written by non-Indians, so I’m not sure how authentic they are.

      One book I remember I loved is Train to Pakistan by Khushwant Singh. It’s based in a small village along the now India-Pakistan border. It’s during the time of partition and what that small village and many others went through. It’s a small but beautiful book πŸ™‚

      Other than that I’ve heard A Suitable Boy is good but I haven’t read it.

  2. Love the new look..It’s more vibrant. Did u make the new header with ur new photo editing software ? πŸ™‚

    I think my library has this, will go and get it soon. It is always great to read books where in story happens in India . Feel more at home with such books but squirm when there are gross inaccuracies πŸ™‚

  3. Ahh! Breath of freshness!!!!!! LOVE the new look girl! The header is so cute! though your pic is a bit out of focus… but overall it is jus cool!

    And well i dnt like chunksters as well.. but this one does sound interesting πŸ™‚

  4. I started this book, but gave up before the end. I can’t remember exactly what was wrong with it, but it didn’t grab my attention at all. I’m pleased to hear that the second half wan’t as good as the first, as that means I didn’t miss anything!

    PS. I love the new look !

  5. I think I have this somewhere on Mt. TBR… lol. I need to reorganize my shelves so I can find things.

    I enjoyed your review of it. It’s too bad it ran long for you. It’s so aggravating when a book does that, it kind of makes me want to toss them and move on. I’m not a book abandoner, so I never do, but there’s been times I wanted to chew my arm off to get away from a book.

    It’s interesting to know where the author made a few boo-boos in her writing. It’s fun reading what an inside authority has to say πŸ™‚

  6. Know that there are innacuracies actually bothers me, even if I won’t notice them πŸ˜› But it won’t stop me from picking up the book, especially as it sounds like one I’d enjoy. I do wish editors were more careful when it comes to translations/spelling in foreign languages!

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