Saturday, July 25, 2009

East of the Sun

East of the Sun, by Julia Gregson, revolves around the lives of three young Englishwomen bound for India. Each is traveling with a different purpose: Viva, the young inexperienced chaperone, projects an air of mystery and hopes to retrieve personal effects belonging to her deceased parents; Rose, naïve and caring, is engaged to marry a man she met only a handful of times; and, Victoria, bridesmaid to Rose, is just running away - she cannot stand her current environment and wants out - she is looking for a husband, a magic panacea for all her woes. They are considered to be part of the fishing fleet – a term used to describe the Englishwomen who come searching for a husband, unsure of what they will find in this distant land. In addition to the two women, Viva has a third charge, Guy – a loose cannon to say the least – who is returning home after being expelled from school.

The characters were interesting and likable. Each chapter is dedicated to one character and we slowly learn more and more about them. Transitioning between characters from chapter to chapter was seamless and done well. The format and short chapter lengths were just right. At the end of each chapter, I would look at the length of the next to see if I had time to read another (and another and another and …). I wanted to know what would happen to these characters and had to have things wrapped up before I stopped reading. We see the personal growth of each character. They all reach some pivotal dark turning point in their lives and come out on the other side – the reader must decide for themselves whether or not it was for better or worse.

Overall, I liked the novel and recommend to those who enjoy historical fiction and/or romance style novels. This is a long book; however, it is a quick read – which you will enjoy.

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