09 Jun Meet Me In Bombay by Jenny Ashcroft
A lyrical love story to set your heart aflame
Passion and romance, happiness and despair, love and loss are all explored under the heat of the Indian sky as this beautiful love story takes us to the splendid days of the Raj when, in 1913, Madeline Bright returns from Oxford to her parents’ home in Bombay.
Adrift in her new life, Madeline does not find it easy to settle – her mother, Alice is cool and distant, and Madeline can never quite forgive her for leaving her as a child in Oxford and failing to return for visits. And now it seems Alice wants to marry her off! Madeline has to admit that surgeon Guy is handsome and personable – but he is almost 20 years older than her and there is no spark there. Still, encouraged by her friend, Della, it seems as if she might settle for him.
But when she meets Luke Deveraux, the dashing young soldier friend of Della’s brother, sparks definitely fly! Theirs is a heady romance, but just when it appears Madeline might enjoy a happy-ever-after, WWI is declared and the lovers must part.
Will they be reunited by the war’s end? And if Luke doesn’t return, will there be a chance for Guy, waiting in the wings for Maddy to finally notice him?
This is such a romantic story, but it’s so intriguing, too. We know from the start that a soldier lies in a hospital ward in England, suffering from memory loss, dreaming of a beautiful young woman and the warmth of a subtropical sun. The narrative takes us back to him every so often, as he gradually pieces together tantalising glimpses of his past, but is he Luke? He could be Guy …
It all adds to the drama of the love story played out for us in lyrical prose. I could almost feel the heat of the sun, taste the fragrant curries, feel the silken scarves slip beneath my fingers – this author knows how to conjure up a scene, drawing the reader in to wherever the action is, be it bustling Bombay or the battlefields of Flanders or chilly but somehow familiar Blighty, where the poor wounded soldier languishes.
The characters are beautifully drawn, too. They spring to life, fully fleshed out with their own stories to tell, and so we are drawn to understand why Alice behaves as she does; what underpins Guy’s actions; why nothing is black and white.
Madeline, of course, remains the heart of the story, a beautiful woman whose love for Luke makes her vulnerable and strong, all at the same time. Hope sustains her, but will fate be kind to her?
Hers and Luke’s story will remain with you long after you finish the book. I loved this one, and hope you will too.
Published by Sphere
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