May 17, 2011

About Books Blog 41: The Sandalwood Tree



Author: Elle Newmark
Genre: Historical Fiction

Favorite Line

“If I must choose between joy and caution, I choose joy.”


From incredible storyteller and nationally bestselling author Elle Newmark comes a rich, sweeping novel that brings to life two love stories, ninety years apart, set against the rich backdrop of war-torn India.

In 1947, American historian and veteran of WWII, Martin Mitchell, wins a Fulbright Fellowship to document the end of British rule in India. His wife, Evie, convinces him to take her and their young son along, hoping a shared adventure will mend their marriage, which has been strained by war.

But other places, other wars. Martin and Evie find themselves stranded in a colonial bungalow in the Himalayas due to violence surrounding the partition of India between Hindus and Muslims. In that house, hidden behind a brick wall, Evie discovers a packet of old letters, which tell a strange and compelling story of love and war involving two young Englishwomen who lived in the same house in 1857.

Drawn to their story, Evie embarks on a mission to piece together her Victorian mystery. Her search leads her through the bazaars and temples of India as well as the dying society of the British Raj. Along the way, Martin’s dark secret is exposed, unleashing a new wedge between Evie and him. As India struggles toward Independence, Evie struggles to save her marriage, pursuing her Victorian ghosts for answers.
Bursting with lavish detail and vivid imagery of Calcutta and beyond, The Sandalwood Tree is a powerful story about betrayal, forgiveness, fate, and love.

My Thoughts

The Sandalwood Tree was a simply lovely story. It was the kind of book that put you at ease while at the same time keeping you on your toes about what would happen next. The appeal of this novel for me was that there was always a new discovery waiting just around the bend. I often enjoy historical fiction because you get a taste what was going on in the time period without having to open a boring text book. I have always found India intriguing, so gaining historical incite on the country and its people was great fun. There were many discoveries to be found in the plot as well. The main character, Evie, is piecing together the events in the lives of Victorian women through letters and journals. It was interesting to join in her journey to figure out the puzzle of these peoples' lives. I was always excited when Evie found the next clue to the mystery.

Elle Newmark has a beautiful writing style. The book was well thought out. Every section propelled to the next. She did a wonderful job of creating an emotional tale. It was easy for me to feel connected to the characters.

Overall, it was a fabulous read. There were only a few concepts in it that I didn’t particularly agree with. However, these were minuscule in the large landscape of this book they didn’t keep me from thoroughly enjoying it. I loved how the book centers around the theme that other people’s stories can effect you in great ways.

Facts I Found Interesting

Elle Newmark writes her biography as a recipe for her life on her website. How cute and creative.

The Movie

As with most of my reading choices of late no film as of yet. I do think it would make beautiful, emotional, colorful film though.

Music To Read By

If it was Bhangra or Bollywood music I loved it. I listened to a lot of compilation albums I thought they were all awesome. This is an eccentric little playlist. I mixed Bhangra music, with 40's songs and artist mentioned in the book. I added a couple popular song in the 40's as well. Weird I know, but I like it. I'm short on time today, so I just posted the player below for now. I'll go back later tonight and list the songs. I'm afraid to try to spell the titles to songs in a different language quickly.

The Sandalwood Tree Playlist

That's all folks this one was really fun to write. Hope you had as much fun reading. See you soon. Keep it shiny!

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