What I was really after as I searched my shelves was M M Kaye’s Indian novels. I came to them late, having ‘grown up’ on her modern romantic thrillers. But then in the early 1980s we had The Far Pavilions and The Jewel in the Crown (neither of which I watched, as we didn’t own a television…) and I somehow got swept up in this new love for old love in India in the past. And I may have been television-less, but books are easy to buy.
Finding that I had several new-to-me, absolutely gloriously romantic and exciting and very long novels by my old favourite, was a real bonus, and I enjoyed every single one.
I must own up to not having hastily re-read Shadow of the Moon, but I had a quick look through and am as charmed now as I was then, and very tempted to have another go at reading it. I used to be of the opinion that earlier works tend to be better than novels written by authors well past retirement age (sorry!) so I picked Shadow of the Moon because it was written in the 1950s, well before M M Kaye’s television success.
Set in the time leading up to the Indian mutiny in the middle of the 19th century, I somehow thought it might not be very interesting. How wrong I was! A good romance and a good adventure is always great, whenever it is set. And the love story between Winter and Alex is one of the memorable ones.
True, this kind of book is mainly set among the ‘British’ and is not ‘real’ Indian, but the British were there, so it features something that did exist, whether you think it is right or wrong. M M Kaye was born there, and lived in India for many years. She spoke Hindi. She did what is natural; wrote about what she knew.
That’s why it’s so very good.
(The cover image above is the one I have. It’s not my favourite, and here you can see why.)