The Sandalwood Tree PDF ñ The Sandalwood MOBI

I think The Sandalwood Tree is a humdinger of a story Of course I wrote it so I might be biased It involves two love stories 90 years apart set in war torn India The research for this book was fascinating We Americans do not ordinarily study Indian history world history is usually limited to Europe and reading about the drama and pageant that was the British Raj was colorful and gripping I topped off all that reading with a trip to India driving around northern India to check facts and collect sensory details for a feeling of authenticity Writing The Sandalwood Tree was an adventure and my life is richer for it Overall I was disappointed in this novel The characters and the idea of the story were brilliant but the execution was poor In a novel structured in this way it’s important in my opinion that the reader ‘discovers’ the history of the house’s former inhabitants at the same pace as the protagonist Unfortunately as a reader I got to know about Felicity Adela than she did and therefore kept forgetting what Evie knew I wish the author had stuck to the idea of telling the 1858 story though diaries photos Empire records and letters rather than throwing in a few ‘real life’ chapters from that time I also got very frustrated because my advance knowledge helped me ‘get’ the connections before Evie did so although the author perhaps felt she was building up tension all I felt was an intense frustration The history the author gives is fantastic and the sense of time and place feels authentic I wish the author could have balanced the story with some native characters that had a real voice and also given Mr Singh of a prominent role by the time he entered the story in any real way you were speeding through to a very neat and contrived conclusion Another frustration was in the diaries of Adela which didn’t have a convincing ‘voice’ and were written in much the same way as the main story with a descriptive storytelling narrative rather than an inner monologue As a light read it serves its purpose but it could have been a real triumph and I would have liked to read the novel it could very easily have been I had high hopes for The Sandalwood Tree as I love historical fiction set in India and I'm pleased to say that it didn't disappoint me at allThis novel consists of two storylines both of which take place during an important period of India's history In 1947 we meet an American woman Evie Mitchell who has moved to India with her husband Martin and five year old son Billy Martin a historian is planning to study the end of British rule and the process of Partition the separation of Hindus and Muslims which led to the creation of Pakistan As the Mitchells try to settle into their new life it becomes obvious that there are big problems in their marriage Martin who served in the US army during World War II is still haunted by some of the things he experienced in Germany and is suffering from what we might now call post traumatic stress disorderSoon after moving into their new house in the village of Masoorla Evie discovers some old letters hidden behind a loose brick in the wall The letters were written by two British women Felicity Chadwick and Adela Winfield who lived in the same house during the 1850s a time of rising tension between the British and Indian people leading to the Sepoy Rebellion of 1857 Evie is intrigued and begins to search for information about the two Victorian women As she slowly uncovers Felicity and Adela's story through a series of letters diaries and historical documents she starts to see some similarities between her own life and theirsElle Newmark's descriptions of India are filled with colour and detail Whether she's writing about the food prepared by Habib the Mitchells' cook a monkey swinging from the branches of a tree or a perfume stall at the bazaar her images really help to bring the book's setting to life Because most of the story is told from Evie's perspective and she is new to India seeing everything for the first time we can experience all the sights sounds and smells along with her We also share Evie's fascination with Adela and Felicity and we feel her frustration every time she attempts to address the problems with her marriageReading The Sandalwood Tree is an excellent way to learn about India's history and culture and Elle Newmark makes everything easy to understand But it's also a great story with a beautiful setting fascinating plot and complex characters who grow and change over the course of the novel The transitions between the two periods are handled perfectly moving smoothly from Evie's story to Felicity and Adela's and it was interesting to see the parallels and connections between them I found I enjoyed both storylines eually each one would have been strong enough to form a complete novel on its own but it's the way the two are interwoven that makes this book special Historical fiction is my favorite genre; that being said this was a good story It is 1947 and Evie and Martin Mitchell have just arrived in the Indian village of Masoorla with their five year old son But cracks soon appear in their marriage as Evie struggles to adapt to her new life and Martin fails to bury unbearable wartime memoriesWhen Evie finds a collection of letters concealed deep in the brickwork of their rented bungalow so begins an investigation that consumes her allowing her to escape to another world a hundred years earlier and to the extraordinary friendship of two very different young womenAnd as Evie's fascination with her Victorian discoveries deepens she unearths powerful secrets But at what cost to her present already fragile existence A Slumpbreaker Particularly enjoyed the ending THE SANDALWOOD TREE is the second and final novel by late author Elle Newmark who passed away the very year that this book was published Given this sad coincidence reading the book was all the poignant as it's imbued with the author's obvious love for travel and for IndiaSet in a dual timeline this is the entwined story of three women whose arrival in India during the upheaval and eventual downfall of the Raj changes their lives In 1947 Evie comes to India with her young son and her husband who's suffering PTSD after his service in WWII Their marriage is falling apart as a result but in the colonial bungalow where they reside Evie happens upon a hidden packet of letters belonging to the bungalow's prior occupants Felicity and Adela two Victorian era women whose intimate friendship is described in alternating chapters Newmark elouently describes the majesty of India sweeping us into this complex nation as it expunges centuries of British rule Evie's struggles to salvage her marriage find respite in her discovery of Felicity and Adela's refusal to conform to their own era's rigid standards even as violence in India increases and the deadline for Partition looms While the denouement feels too coincidental the characters are vividly portrayed and unexpected especially Adela as is their conjoined plight Above all else the depiction of India itself with its whirlwind of colors and scents its desperate poverty and sage humility display Newmark's meticulous on site research and passion for her subject matter She was a gifted writer who left us a wonderful novel This was an annoying book Right from page 2 when Evie Mitchell refers to Gandhi as a skinny little man in a loincloth I wondered how Indian readers would regard this One narrative is set mid 20th C with Evie and her husband and son travelling to India on a Fulbright Scholarship She appreciates the purpose behind the scholarship to foster a global community little in the rest of the book indicates she the scholarship is doing that for her And little time is devoted to her husband Martin to indicate he is experiencing this eitherAnd then there is the other narrative of two women in the mid 19th C much of their story is told through letters and a diary All of this appears in the edition I read in italics Italics is very annoying font to read And either the author or the publisher should give the reader a little credit We learn very uickly that Evie is in the 20 century and Adela and Felicity are in the 19th We do not need italics to help us make that discrimination I kept putting off reading this book A very bad sign Then I just picked it up and flipped through to the end And what a tidy ending it was 35 The strength of this novel is the descriptions of the sights and sounds and smells of India Absolutely atmospheric made me want to be there Also liked the history of Gandhi Partition and the political maneuverings between Great Britain and India there was much I didn't know Two alternate stories one from the 1940's and one following the lives of two women a decade earlier Great easy to follow writing and the story lines were interesting All in all a very good read When I went to look up further info on this author I found she had passed away last year from a long illness She did have a few earlier books that I will go back and read Rich in details and history The Sandalwood Tree will keep the reader turning pages A book that teaches while telling a great story is worth reading and this book meets that criteria Martin Evie and Billy leave Chicago to live in India while Martin a historian documents the end of the British Raj As they settle into a small town amid brilliant color strange customs and agonizing poverty the tapestry of the story begins Against the wallpaper of a solid but troubled marriage and religious and political turmoil Evie discovers a few letters secreted away in their rented bungalow She seeks information about the people in the letters from a local church One scrap of information leads to another along with some accidental fortuitous finds and the story of Adele and Felicity emerge The year is 1947; the letters were written 90 years ago in the Victorian era The dual stories of Evie's family in an increasingly war ravaged unstable land and young Adele and Felicity's growing up across continents alternate in the book The characters are finely crafted by the author The book engages the senses and emotions leaving the reader with drifts of the story long after it is read I loved the book It would make a good movie if it's possible to fit so much into a movie The Sandalwood Tree

About the Author: Elle Newmark

Elle Newmark is an award winning writer whose books are inspired by her travels She and her husband a retired physician have two grown children and five grandchildren They live in the hills north of San Diego

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