Thursday, February 13, 2014

Review & Giveaway: Under the Jeweled Sky by Alison McQueen

Today is my stop for the Under the Jeweled Sky tour.

Book Description:

London 1957. In a bid to erase her past and build the family she yearns for, Sophie Schofield accepts a wedding proposal from ambitious British diplomat, Lucien Grainger. When he is posted to New Delhi, into the glittering circle of ex-pat high society, old wounds begin to break open as she is confronted with the memory of her first, forbidden love and its devastating consequences. 

The suffocating conformity of diplomatic life soon closes in on her. This is not the India she fell in love with ten years before when her father was a maharaja’s physician, the India of tigers and scorpions and palaces afloat on shimmering lakes; the India that ripped out her heart as Partition tore the country in two, separating her from her one true love. The past haunts her still, the guilt of her actions, the destruction it wreaked upon her fragile parents, and the boy with the tourmaline eyes. 

Sophie had never meant to come back, yet the moment she stepped onto India’s burning soil as a newlywed wife, she realised her return was inevitable. And so begins the unravelling of an ill-fated marriage, setting in motion a devastating chain of events that will bring her face to face with a past she tried so desperately to forget, and a future she must fight for. 

A story of love, loss of innocence, and the aftermath of a terrible decision no one knew how to avoid.

My Thoughts:

Under the Jeweled Sky opens in a terrible time in history for India, just before the Partition. Sophie is a teenager and her father moves her and her mother to India to work as a doctor at a palace.  Sophie doesn't have a lot to do there but she enjoys wondering around the palace looking at all it has to offer.  She is not really allowed into some of the places she goes and when she meets a teen Indian boy, Jag, he shows her all kinds of secret passages.

Sophie and Jag become fast friends but when his father and her parents find out about it, they are forbidden to see each other.  Rumours start among the Indian workers about their relationship and Jag's father insist that he and Jag leave, despite how close his father is to retirement and a pension.

They leave, right at the start of the Partition and end up making their way to a refuge camp.  They struggle from day to day, just to get their basic neccesities met and soon Jag's father gets sick.

Fast forward almost ten years later and Sophie has been living back in London, working in the government typing pool.  She meets Lucien and he talks her into marrying him.  They are then posted to New Delhi, India.  They get wrapped up in the ex-pat high society and things start to happen.

I can't tell you more without the risk of spoilers so you will have to read this book yourself.  The first part of the book is my favorite.    I like how the characters of teenage Sophie and Jag develop and interact.  After that the story flashes back and forth from present day to the past.  Perhaps just a little too much for my taste but this is really just a small complaint.  I still highly recommend Under the Jeweled Sky to historical fiction lovers!


I received the ebook version of this book for my honest review.

About Alison McQuuen:

Born to an Indian mother and an English jazz musician father, Alison McQueen grew up in London. After a convent education, Alison worked in advertising for 25 years before retiring to write full time.

In 2006 she was selected from an impressive long list to join The Writer’s Circle, a group of 8 top writers to be groomed by the UK film industry as the new generation of British screenwriters. She has written seven novels, including Under the Jeweled Sky and The Secret Children, which was inspired by her life.  

Thanks to Liz Kelsch of Sourcebooks, I am giving away one print copy of Under the Jeweled Sky.  This giveaway is open to the U.S. only and ends on February 27, 2014.  Please use Rafflecopter to enter.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


This novel is captivating, the story and era. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

I remember going to see the film Gandhi with my mother when it came out many years ago. I also remember (maybe a mini-series?) where the main character was female and part-Indian, part-British and was teased at school for being 'black' that was very well done. The time period and the locale are very interesting to me.

The setting and time period sound interesting

My grandmother lived in India for a while, so I always like to read good, historical fiction books from there.

I love the title. It sounds like an awesome book. I really like that it takes place in both England and India. Thanks for having the giveaway.


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