8.8.13

THE SANDALWOOD TREE, by Elle Newmark

British-controlled India 1947: Americans Martin Mitchell, his wife Evie and their five year old son, Billy, go to a tiny town near Simla, a summer “hill station” for the ruling British. Viceroy Lord Mountbatten has advanced the partition of India (creating Muslim Pakistan). Martin, on a scholarship, will report on the Partition, the passions, the displaced, the danger. Meanwhile, Evie finds letters behind a brick in the kitchen wall, and begins an odyssey to discover the fate of two Englishwomen of the 1860’s during a bloody rebellion. Among these threads is also the deterioration of their marriage, and Martin's war memories. The author has painstakingly created a believable Indian world, the color and scents, the poverty and spirituality, the history of a land that was old when America was still unknown, and even Brtiain was unknown. The story unfolds easily and despite a few slow moments you’ll find this a very enjoyable summer read. I‘ll give this a 3+.