- Paperback: 512 pages
- Publisher: Black Swan Books, Limited (August 1, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0552775223
- ISBN-13: 978-0552775229
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 1.2 x 7.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 109 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,540,139 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Sandalwood Tree Paperback – International Edition, August 1, 2011
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"A very promising new author" * New Books Magazine * "Elle Newmark tells a powerful tale of romance and mystery" * News of the World *
About the Author
Elle Newmark lives in the hills north of San Diego, California. Her sensational debut was The Book of Unholy Mischief. This is her second novel.
Top customer reviews
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In 1947, Evie and Martin, a young couple with a young son from Chicago, travel to India for Martin’s historical research of the exit of the British Empire amidst the contentious partition of the nation of India. With many hours and days of isolation at home, Evie finds letters hidden in the family’s cottage and clandestinely explores the life of the young women who had once lived in her home. Her search is not without its own dangers.
In India, in 1850, the Sepoy Revolution endangered the early English colonists, and it was during that time that two young and marriageable English women, rebellious of the strict English standards of conduct and expectation pressed upon them, found escape and solace in each other’s company in the Indian countryside, in Masoorla. Conflicts flourish between the characters, all struggling to find their own way through difficult times as they negotiate their way among teas and gossip and the abundance of Indian flavors and traditions. Surprises abound.
Evie is bored by the day to day inanity that fills the hours of most of the woman in her social set. She and her son explore the colorful streets and bazaars always looking for hints as to what became of the two Victorian woman who had previously lived in her small cottage. She becomes stranded by the violence caused by the partition of the Hindus and Muslims but more so stranded by her husband's reluctance to share his inner demons caused by the war in Germany.
As the story of the two Victorian era British women emerges it becomes apparent that they too suffered the pains of isolation and need for love in this strange and changing country. Forbidden love leads to dismal consequences. But love it is and can true love ever be considered wicked in and of itself? Can the lesson learned from these two women from another century be the channel for reconciliation in Evie's marriage?
This is a very well written book that brings the life and times of the characters into the present. The sights and smells, the tastes and sounds of India leap from the pages and the reader enters the story in a way that few authors can accomplish. I highly recommend The Sandalwood Tree.
Evie discovered a packet of old letters written in the 1800s that were hidden behind a loose brick in the wall of their bungalow. The letters were written by two women who had lived in the same house. The letters intrigued Evie and she embarked on a mission to learn about the women and their lives.
At the beginning, the book alternates between the story of Evie and that of the 19th century women, Felicity and Adele whom we first meet as young girls. Later in the book, Felicity's and Adele's story is told through the letters, journals and poetry discovered by Evie. I enjoyed both story lines.
I felt as if I were really in the small Indian towns experiencing the colors and smells. I could feel the emotions of the people. The characters were well developed and I felt like I got to know them. I also felt as if I learned some about historical events in both centuries and how they affected the native and expat communities of rural India.
Other reviewers have covered the story here, but I do want to comment on the language. Had I one tenth of Newmark's skill I might be able to find the words to help readers understand the quality of her language. Each word, chosen with the care of a poet, contributes to the tone, the excitement, the intrigue. This is not a book to skim, as the words create wonderful images, yet the story drives the reader onward.
Don't miss this one!
Most recent customer reviews
I was fascinated by this story and enjoyed to thoroughly. The story was abit predictable.in the end .Read more