Set in 1920s India and modern-day England, The Midnight Rose reads like an epic story of how women lived and loved and how relationships can transcend boundaries and different eras.
As the dawn breaks and the sun begins to rise over Mount Kanchenjunga beyond my window, I lie on my pillows and smile to myself at the utter ridiculousness of the thought.
World War I is approaching when we meet Anahita . She is bright and curious and a companion to a royal princess. She is unlike other indian girls in that she gains access to a world of privilege before being sent to England where she has the chance to become educated.
There she meets young Lord Donald Astbury and they fall in love. However political and social mores at the time means that the two cannot be together and there are forces at work to ensure that they do not. He is forced to marry someone of his own station but is haunted by his true love for the rest of his life.
Anahita is now 100. She is looking back on her life. She is sure her son is still alive….
I look across to the writing bureau which sits in the alcove opposite me and can’t help but think about what is concealed inside its locked drawer. It is a letter, and it runs over three hundred pages. It is written to my beloved son and tells the story of my life from the beginning.
Rebecca looked in wonder as they drove thorough parkland dotted with ancient oak, horse chestnut and beech trees on either side of the road
Rebecca Bradley, an American Actress, is on location in Dartmoor,England at Astbury Hall –which is owned by Lord Anthony Astbury. He is stunned that she looks so much like his grandmother Violet. Whilst filming, Rebecca finds some old papers written by an Indian girl who visited Astbury Hall back in the twenties, and whose story is intrinsically linked to the Astbury family and the house.
The two worlds may collide in ways that no-one could ever have foreseen but the reader is swept up in the elegance and heat of India and the cool breeze and stone walls of Astbury Hall. Traditions, culture and language may be worlds apart but emotions are very much the same and can last a lifetime.
These two women tell their remarkable stories and as they describe or allude to their world around them you are transported there via the pages of The Midnight Rose – the mountains from Anahita’s room or the lush gardens from the window of Astbury Hall – this is a book written for the delight of all the senses.
India – And the Jaipur residents themselves were colourful; the men wore vivid turbans of yellow, magenta and ruby red
Astbury Hall – …a splendid view of the flower gardens and the sweep of green lawn and parkland beyond
The Midnight Rose is a wonderful book where the settings are characters themselves and you will never forget your journey.