Polly has fled her home in Wales. Her husband has gone to jail and her shame has made her unable to face the people of her village. A visit to an old friend in India and then a trip to see the country could help things settle enough for her to return home. With a six month visa, she has plenty of time to decide what she wants to do. Her first day in Kolkata she meets two men who will change her life. First the young British Liam, a missionary who volunteered to come teach the poor children on the streets of Kolkata. He shows her to a decent hotel after gaining her promise of a visit to his small school. Next, the moment she walks into the courtyard of the new hotel, Polly meets the handsome, older Finlay. Her immediate attraction to the Scottish man is only intensified with every moment she spends with him. Finlay has been in India for many years. He has a home where he has taken in orphans off the street. He offers them a home, food and an education.
After one day with each of these men and the children they provide for, Polly decides to stay in Kolkata and teach the young children the best she can. She wants to help them and in a way heal her own heart. Her shame of being married to a pedophile is deep and hard for her to admit. Though as she gets closer to the caring Finlay, she will need to face her past and decide on her future.
This is a well written story. The author did an excellent job of creating the streets of India in its beauty and its filth. Polly is a strong character. She is flawed and has made huge mistakes. Her decisions don’t always make me like her, but in the end her heart is big and I wanted the best for her. Each character has a rich personality. This book brought me to tears at the horrors children of India must live with. The author does not gloss over the despair, but includes the love of family that is so rich in the culture.
I would happily read more by this author. I received an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
4 out of 5 stars.
The boy slurped the milk straight from the jug, emptied it.
‘So what went wrong?’ she asked, nodding towards the table.
‘The owner of the shop died and his brother took over. Says it was his wife who ill-treated the boy.’
The food finished, the child sat there shivering. She could see the tremble in each bony limb and felt her heart would break. He was only a little boy and he’d been beaten and starved. She crept into the room where the boys were asleep to fetch one of the old blankets they used to wrap sick children.
Somebody stirred, sat up in the darkness. ‘Aunty?’
‘Shush. Go back to sleep.’ Pushed him gently back down onto his mat.
‘Can you find an old newspaper, Poll?’ Finlay enveloped the boy in the blanket and picked him up. ‘Come on, old son.’
With the boy on the hall chair and papers spread on the floor beneath him, Finlay manned the scissors. Chunks of matted hair fell to the ground. ‘I’ll cut the worse of the lice out before I get him in the shower. His head can be shaved in the morning.’
While Finlay washed him, Polly gathered up the paper and hair, took them into the yard and struck a match, the sulphur catching in her throat. She listened with a feeling of nausea to the hissing and popping sounds.
About the Author
Dianne Noble will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
I was born into a service family and at the tender age of seven found myself on the Dunera, a troopship, sailing for a three year posting to Singapore. So began a lifetime of wandering – and fifteen different schools. Teen years living in Cyprus, before partition, when the country was swarming with handsome UN soldiers, and then marriage to a Civil Engineer who whisked me away to the Arabian Gulf.
Most of the following years were spent as a single parent with an employment history which ranged from the British Embassy in Bahrain to a goods picker, complete with steel toe-capped boots, in an Argos warehouse. In between I earned my keep as a cashier in Barclays, a radio presenter and a café proprietor on the sea front in Penzance.
My travels have taken me to China, Egypt, Israel, Guatemala, Russia, Morocco, Belize and my favourite place, India. I keep copious notes and constantly dip into them to ensure my writing is atmospheric.
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