A Tale of Survival, Love and Revenge
The opening chapter of this novel, set in the port of Calcutta, describes the scene quite perfectly and as the sights ,sounds, smells and a mirage of colours emerge, so does a story that is rich in evocative detail.
Jemima is the Indian Ayah to the Hayward children,. She is a devoted nursemaid but her role in the household is ambiguous and she is often left feeling bereft of support and comfort. When the decision is made for Mrs Hayward and the children to return to England, Jemima is forced to travel with them, but plans for the family in London do not include Jemima, who is left alone and abandoned, with disastrous consequences.
What then follows is a haunting and troubled look at the social and moral differences which were all too rife in Victorian England. Jemima must learn to survive in a country which is very different from the one she has left behind, and with no money or support, she tries to exist as best she can. The underbelly of society becomes all too real for Jemima and even as she yearns for the warmth and colour of home, she quickly realises that to return to India is nothing short of an impossible dream.
I really enjoyed being taken into this world which the author has created so very well. It’s beautifully detailed; with a Dickensian richness which is evident throughout the whole of the story and such is the strength of the writing, that even though you sort of know that Jemima’s new life is going to be made up of heartbreak and broken promises, you really start to hope that eventually fate will intervene and some, hopeful, resolution will occur.
Best read with a cup of spicy Chai Latte and sticky, sweet cubes of Barfi, liberally laced with cardamom.
About the author
Thushani Weerasekera is a British-Asian actress and writer born in London and of Sri Lankan origin. Thushani lives in London.
Find Thushani on Facebook
Follow on Twitter @ThushaniWeeras1
You can read an interview with the author here
My thanks to the author for sharing her book with me.