Author : Alice Perrin
Publisher : Speaking Tiger Books
Genre : Historical Fiction
Source : Publisher, I requested a copy
Rating 3/5 Stars
If you follow my blog or my twitter, you’ll know that I previously reviewed and adored The Woman In The Bazaar. After that, I was lucky enough to receive Star Of India, another book by author Alice Perrin, to read and review here. While both are the same genre following similar themes, the experience was a little different from TWITB. Both stories follow young ladies that have somehow ended up married to older men and each one features the older man being a suspicious git. Though in one case it doesn’t end as badly as it does in the other.
As mentioned earlier, Alice Perrin writes historical anglo Indian fiction. There are no Indian main characters in her books, I imagine it might have been scandalous at the time, and all her characters that are Indian are usually in a position of servitude. She showcases exactly what life might have been like for the English ladies in India at the time and I really enjoy reading her POV. This one is divided into two parts, one is before the major turn of events takes place and part II is after. And just like the solid divide in the book, my feelings for each part is just as divided.
I adored part one, not as much as say TWITB but I liked it nevertheless and thought it a perfect Sunday brunch out in the garden with a cup of tea and maybe a couple of cookies sort of read. Part two on the other hand felt like it was lacking a bit, maybe a bit broody and slow for my taste. Of course the last few chapters picked it up again but it felt rushed instead of the well done pacing that the first part has and that took away some of my enjoyment.
WHAT I LIKED : Stella. No I don’t mean I liked her (I think she deserves a good scolding) I meant I liked how well the author had written her. You can almost picture this girl and if the story was another one I wouldn’t say she’d be sees as much different from Anne of Green Gables, though maybe not as talkative. (Am I the only one that feels this way?). I don’t mean their inherent sense of duty and suchlike but their childlike wonder and happiness in the little things. I thought she was one of the best characters ever written by this author and ad the whole thing been from her POV or if atleast she’d had more chapters dedicated to her, I’d have left this read feeling more satiated. The pacing throughout part one is excellent as well. She writes well and writing interaction between people is something she excels at.
WHAT I DISLIKED : Alas, I can’t say she excels at writing introspection. While she writes awful older men really well the portions with Philip, only in the second part, left a bit to be desired and I found my mind wandering whenever he went off into deep thought. This slowed down the pace a bit leaving me to skim long paragraphs till I got to the more interesting parts.
That being said I would still recommend this to a lot of people. If you have an older person or someone who prefers classics and older reads but don’t want something that is intense this would be the perfect book for them. After all is it the old fashioned version of a romance novel.
Alice Perrin was born in India in 1867. After her education in England, she married Charles Perrin, an engineer in the India Public Works Department, in 1886, and the couple returned to India for the next sixteen years. Most of her works are based on her experiences in India. Star of India was published in 1919. Her other notable works include East of Suez(1901), The Spell of the Jungle (1902) and The Woman in the Bazaar (1914). Alice Perrin died in Switzerland in 1934.
Stella Carrington, young and beautiful, feels that life is passing her by in the repressed Victorian household of her grandmother and spinster aunts. A casual flirtation shocks and horrifies the elderly ladies, and they summon Robert Crayfield, her godfather, who is an officer in the Indian Civil Service, to make suitable arrangements for her to be a missionary or governess. But, tantalized by her beauty and disregarding the difference in their ages, he offers to marry her instead, scandalizing the village.
Stella, indifferent to romance, is most excited by the prospect of going to India that her marriage offers. Once there, she is enthralled at the beauty and mystery of the subcontinent, but increasingly disenchanted by her husband, who is only interested in her as a whet to his sensual appetites. When the young, handsome Philip Flint is posted as a junior officer in the same town, for the first time, she is forced to consider her own desires and duties.