- Author : Alice Perrin
- Publisher : Speaking Tiger Books
- Genre : Historical Fiction
- Source : Publisher
- Rating : 3.5 Stars
Alice Perrin is an author I have never heard of! A pity considering my anglophilia and my obsession with books written in times when using the word “Woo” was normal. But better late than never I say and I’m really glad this cover caught my eye on the Speaking Tiger website and I’m gladded that I was able to get my hands on it as soon as I did.
The Woman In The Bazaar follows Captain George Coventry, a rather old fashioned British officer as he falls in love once and when that goes awry, falls in love again and is dangerously close to ruining things the same way here as well. Rafella, his first wife, is a devoted woman to begin with, full of Christian values and quiet country ways. This is what originally attracts him to her but when he marries her and brings her to India, she is unable to understand and deal with the sudden social life she’s been thrust into and this lack of knowledge makes her behave, unwittingly, in the wrong ways. Her husband dismisses her behaviour at first but soon grows jealous, threatening and terrorising her into running away from him.
He does not give her a second thought and returns to England to his quiet life. Years later he falls in love with another girl, the complete opposite of his wife, outgoing and friendly and perfectly incapable of living under the thumb of an insecure and bossy man and the story we read, is about how he either saves or ruins his second love and if it ends well for all involved.
The author takes us through various stages of his life, starting with him and ending with him and Trixie, each one absolutely necessary. The book is short, below 200 pages, but she successfully leaves the reader feeling like they know these characters in and out despite spending only so many pages with them. The one aspect that did disappoint me though was that we never learnt more about the woman in the bazaar. I say this so you aren’t disappointed as the reader, I kept expecting it to be narrated from her POV atleast for a chapter but that doesn’t happen and instead, we are left with this blood curdling lack of knowledge, that George surely must feel, at her plight.
George as a character is very well written, the right amount of jealousy and reasonableness but with fits of anger that make him a perfectly believable character. And though you rage at what he is capable of you still want him to have one shot at happiness. He does what any man of the time, even a man today, would do and blames his wife completely and that splits your affections between parties. Trixie in particular is a brilliant character, though I completely disapprove of the age gap she is as mature (or immature) as he is and Perrin does a brilliant job of pairing these two unlikely candidates and it works out well!
The author is someone I shall keep an eye out for (well, she’s dead and gone, what I mean is if her books get released here I shall grab them.) and make sure I don’t miss a single book of hers. Anglophile or not, you must enjoy this style of writing, putting across the most horrifying things without uttering a single offensive word! The book is fast paced, a light and quick read which leaves you with the impact of a much heavier book. I adore this style of writing and I have to say, I’m glad the author is being rediscovered in India because these kinds of books will be very welcome.
Many thanks to the publishers for providing me a review copy.
On leave in England from his regimental duties in British India, Captain George Coventry falls in love with the vicar’s daughter, Rafella Forte. After a brief courtship they marry and move to India. Rafella is a devoted wife and George is glad to have her for a partner, but when she strikes up a friendship with Mr Kennard, a handsome barrister, George assumes the worst. In a fit of jealous rage, he terrorizes his young wife and she escapes into the night, never to be seen again.
Years later, when he is ngiven another chance at love with the young, outgoing beauty Trixie Munro, George must face down his dark past. He must also contend with the ‘woman in the bazaar’—an increasingly persistent and bloodcurdling rumour of an Englishwoman sold into slavery—a horror he fears he might have wrought on his first wife.