The Sandalwood Tree eBook ¾ The Sandalwood PDF/EPUB

The Sandalwood Tree 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 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 What I liked best about this book was the beautiful descriptive writing Just a few pages in and I was there in India seeing what Evie sees as she first arrives in India flowers trees the market and the people I was glad to be reading it on my kindle so I could easily look up the flowers and trees mentioned as well as some of the Indian words and phrases Many recent books have used the mechanism of alternating stories blending past and present It didn't uite work here for me It seemed too much like I was reading separate stories that just didn't connect for me However I was taken in by both stories and even though they felt separate to me I was interested in what would happen to these charactersI liked the strong willed independent women we meet in Adela and Felicity who were willing to live their lives as they wished in spite of the fact that their relationships were not acceptable in society There's much to think about in this book the political unrest in India in 1857 and in 1947 the cultural differences the caste system and the povertyWhile I loved the writing the ending was a bit predictable and though there were similarities in both of the stories regarding what was happening in India I just didn't feel a connection between Evie and Adela and Felicity35 stars if I could 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 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

  • Paperback
  • 510 pages
  • The Sandalwood Tree
  • Elle Newmark
  • English
  • 09 October 2016
  • 9780552775229

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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