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Empire/raj based potboiler/sagas

(16 Posts)
PhyllisWig Mon 17-Apr-17 19:54:06

I have just finished a couple of Rosamunde Pilcher books which really hit the spot - light, engrossing story about pretty, rich people. They were long and passably written and easy to relax into and I want something else like that.

I quite fancy something set in the Raj or Happy Valley or something. It can't be something serious - my brain isn't up to Rushdie or The Raj quartet and it has to be facile (am in the middle of a harsh anxiety spiral so need total escapism). Jilly Cooper in bias cut satin on a veranda with a pink gin is where I'm at. Any suggestions?

jcscot Mon 17-Apr-17 22:43:03

Try MM Kaye - The Far Pavilions and Shadow of the Moon.

ChaiTeaTaiChi Tue 18-Apr-17 02:34:11

The Cazalet Chronicles.....set in England but an easy while engrossing big read.

Lovely book by Rosie Thomas called The Kashmir Shawl, goes from modern day Wales to India and Kashmir in the 1930's (I think?), with a mystery and a love story.....

The Sandalwood Tree by Elle Newmark, a sweeping set of two stories set 90 years apart in the 1850's and 1947 at partition.....so good, really evocative.

tormentil Fri 21-Apr-17 12:06:46

Tanamera - Noel Barber
A Many Splendoured Thing - Han Suyin
Ties of Blood - Gillian Slovo

Wormulonian Fri 21-Apr-17 14:20:51

Set in the 1950's - so after the Raj, "A Suitable boy" by Vikram Seth is the mother of potboilers - it's huge and rolls along quite nicely. It starts with an upper middle class teen at her sister's wedding and follows her as her mother searches for a suitable boy for her to marry and brings in the history of partition etc too and the friendships and problems between Hindu and Muslim families. (There are a few very political boring chapters but they can be skipped with no problem in the storyline)

PhyllisWig Fri 21-Apr-17 21:25:34

Thanks for everyone, excellent ideas.

I may well look into a suitable boy - I'd always written it off as too 'hard' and a bit worthy but perhaps I've misjudged - I did that with Middlesex years ago then LOVED that.

FreeButtonBee Fri 21-Apr-17 21:31:19

The far pavilions is great. And written in quite a direct storytelling style rather than aiming to be clever.

ChristianGreysAnatomy Fri 21-Apr-17 21:33:24

Shadow of the Moon - utter pulp but God I love it. Alex Randall, fuck me hard marry me now!

tripfiction Sun 23-Apr-17 19:23:56

One book that I recently really liked is Dinah Jefferies "Before the Rains" www.tripfiction.com/romance-novel-set-in-rajasthan-of-the-1930s/ set Rajasthan of the 1930s

I also very much like Eden Gardens by Louise Brown (one of my top reads for 2016), this time set in Calcutta towards the end of the Raj www.tripfiction.com/novel-set-in-calcutta/

A House called Askival by Merryn Glover certainly transports you to time and place www.tripfiction.com/novel-set-in-mussoorie-india/

And finally Under the Jewelled Sky by Alison McQueen I found extremely readable www.tripfiction.com/novel-set-in-india-mid-20th-century/

KeithLeMonde Mon 24-Apr-17 13:58:42

This one was a good read: www.amazon.co.uk/East-Sun-Julia-Gregson/dp/1409102513?tag=mumsnetforum-21

LocalEditorMerton Mon 01-May-17 18:18:16

Zemindar was one of my favourites as a 'Raj literature' obsessed teenager. A love story set against a background of the unfurling of the Indian Mutiny. Lucky enough to visit Lucknow (the infamous siege features majorly in the novel) years later too.

highlandcoo Mon 01-May-17 23:59:58

Yy to East of the Sun by Julia Gregson as an easy read.

And The Cazalet Chronicles by Elizabeth Jane Howard are a perfect comfort read. Apart from the fifth, written 20 years later, which is disappointing. But the first four are fab.

Chavelita Fri 05-May-17 12:00:46

Oh, MM Kaye's The Far Pavilions is wonderful -- also a short but brilliant 1975 novel (and a rather good film, can't remember if it was Merchant Ivory or not), Ruther Prawer Jabhvala's Heat and Dust. It's split into two narratives - one about a stifled Raj wife in the 1920s who has an affair with the local nawab, the other about her step-granddaughter, who has inherited her letters, and goes to India to find out what happened to her.

29Palms Fri 05-May-17 12:15:21

Not quite what you were asking for, but you might try the short stories of Somerset Maugham, many of which are set in far-flung outposts of the Empire, with tea planters, remittance men and all. Easy reading and often with a twist in the tail. Sometimes it's good to have something you can finish in a short bite.

SplitInfinitive Fri 05-May-17 19:23:11

You might like the novels of Roma Tearne. I've read one of hers - Brixton Beach, which stretches from the beginnings of civil war in Sri Lanka in the 1960s to London 2005. The author is Sri Lankan so writes with knowledge of her own childhood. It is quite a harrowing novel though, be warned.

Or maybe something a bit lighter, such as The Tea Planter's Wife by Dinah Jeffries.

Bishybarnybee Fri 05-May-17 19:29:05

The jewel in the crown quartet is very good. I came across the first book on a campsite in France and read the rest when I got home. It's very poignant for me as someone in my family was Anglo Indian and their family chose to come back to the UK at partition. I then got the DVDs and enjoyed those as well.

www.amazon.co.uk/Jewel-Crown-Raj-Quartet-Book-ebook/dp/B005F3GMAE/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1494008757&sr=1-3&keywords=jewel+in+the+crown+book&tag=mumsnetforum-21

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