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A Christmas Garland: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, October 30, 2012
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Top Customer Reviews
This year's book - A Christmas Garland - takes us to 1857 India. It is a few days before Christmas, but things are not peaceful in Cawnpore. The Indians are rebelling against the rule of the East India Company. Lieutenant Victor Narraway is a young soldier, only nineteen, but with a year in India under his belt already. When his superior officer calls him in to tell him he must defend a medical orderly accused of murder he is stunned - he has no formal law training at all. But the orderly swears he is innocent. Can Narraway save him from the hangman's noose in the few days he's been given?
Make yourself a pot of tea, turn on your reading lamp and settle in for another deliciously atmospheric tale from Perry. Her detailed descriptions bring historic events and settings to life. Narraway is a character I recognize from the Thomas Pitt mystery series. It was a treat to see him at a much earlier stage of his life. The opposing counsel is just as well drawn, albeit it in a negative light. The language and tone of the time are captured in Perry's dialogue - the horrors of war, the sense of honour and duty.
And into this slim volume, Perry manages to weave together a good mystery (I missed the conflicting clue) with a sense of hope and the human spirit. Reading Perry's annual Christmas book has become a tradition for me. And for those readers who haven't sampled Perry's writing yet, it's a great introduction.
Four Feathers came to mind because it is also a tale of British soldiers in a hostile land--the Sudan, in this case--where they are not wanted and are badly outnumbered by the natives, who want nothing more than to kill them all and take back their country. The soldiers in Christmas Garland also wonder why they are here in this alien land "for queen and country." There have been horrible atrocities including the savage deaths of the women and children that the soldiers and the men of the East Indian Company have brought with them.
Lieutenant Narraway must defend Corporal John Tallis, a medical orderly who is accused of freeing a Sikh prisoner; the prisoner killed his guard, also a Sikh, and fled to the rebels to betray a patrol of which he had inside knowledge. Nine of the ten in the patrol died. Tallis has no motive. He is only on trial because he is the last man standing, so to speak. He was alone and unseen at the time of the escape, so he had no provable alibi.Read more ›
The mystery is bound up in the horrific events of the Indian Mutiny that saw families mutilated. But, as with everything, there are two sides and Perry does not blame everything on the Indian populace that rose up against the British presence, but presents the folly of the British that contributed to it. The mystery is a simple but clever one, and it kept me wondering what was the solution until the very end. The facts are there, and there aren't any last minute surprises thrown in to make you groan in disgust.
Note: for some, the recollections of the soldiers concerning the massacre might be too gory. For others, their interest in British history in India might be piqued.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I wanted to read something out of my comfort zone. After the first chapter I found myself being sucked in. the plot was interesting it kept my interest until the end. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Tica
This is the first of Anne Perry's "Christmas novels" that I have read, and it will not be the last. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Carl E. Ahlm
It shows how even during war the feelings of justice and truth can create Christmas joy, love, and understanding of men.Published 7 months ago by Kindle Customer
As always Anne Perry keeps. You riveted from beginning to end. Surprising finish. I didn't see it coming. Thanks, Anne, for another spellbinding read!!Published 15 months ago by Joan
TThe review for The Christmas Garland was submitted by error on the page for A Christmas Hope.Published 16 months ago by sylvanlady
This story is a quick read that Offers us hope during Christmas. I especially enjoyed the mystery and tugs on the heart. Happy ending!Published 18 months ago by Christy
I liked the history and careful research into the fighting in India and the effect it had on the minds and hearts of those involved. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Judith Ann