The British aristocracy is an inflexible judge. And for Amala, a lovely young Indian woman, that judgment is most keenly felt. Raised from a child by the wealthy Hepworth family following the murder of her parents, Amala grew up alongside the Hepworth's own daughter, Katarina, and was loved as both sister and daughter. The family is part of the charmed circle of the upper class, but Amala's place in society is tenuous. As an Indian woman, her life is marked by a sense of otherness and voices of prejudice. So when she embarks upon a sweet acquaintance with Henry Breckenridge, a white Englishman, Amala is both elated and terrified. She knows first-hand the opposition that an interracial couple would face, and courtship with Henry could destroy his standing in society.
Determined to spare the reputations of both Henry and her sister Katarina, Amala flees England with the hope that an extended trip will allow her time to heal her broken heart. But she never imagined the repercussions of that decision, and the heartbreak awaiting her. For when she returns to England, she finds those she holds dear facing unparalleled devastation. And now it is her love that holds the key to healing a broken family ...
I've read a lot of Regency & Victorian era romances, but somehow Anita Stansfield has found an aspect of the time and place that I haven't read about before. As with all her other works, Stansfield presents the reader with lovable characters facing really difficult situations with grace and heart.
Amala has spent much of her life in England with her adoptive family, but English society never lets her forget that she doesn't really belong. Amala is a native Indian (India) and as such is seen as inferior by almost everyone around her, except her family. So she is shocked when she meets Henry Beckenridge, an Englishman, who promptly falls in love with her. Having accustomed herself to the idea of never marrying, Amala can't quite accept her good fortune, and when her fears get the better of her she rejects Henry and leaves England all together. But family difficulties bring her home again where she discovers that one can't really run from life's challenges.
I found myself immediately captivated by Henry and Amala, as well as Amala's adopted family. As with many of the books that Stansfield has written, I was unable to predict the way the story worked out, but found myself empathizing with the characters, even when I didn't like the choices they made. This is not only a charming romance, but also a hard look at the repercussions of interracial romance and the challenges it brings, especially at this time and place.
This features Amala, an Indian girl who has been raised by English parents in Regency time period after her parents were killed in India. The family returns to England, where she learns to act English, dress English, and think like an English woman…but Amala will still never be able to fit in because of the dark color of her skin. Most English look down upon her, despite her cultured upbringing, and think she is an abomination. When she meets Henry Breckenridge, they are mutually attracted to each other, but she cannot bear to burden him with all the repercussions that marrying her and bringing half-breed children into the world would bring to him. Running away brings another kind of heart-break to both of them, but they must move on for society will never allow a mixed marriage. This story took place over several heart-breaking years as these forbidden lovers tried to find happiness without each other. There were lots of twists and surprises, and it was a gratifying read. Amala’s family seemed a little too tolerant and casual for that time period and their ranking in English society to be truly believable, but I could overlook that because it’s how I wish more of them would have behaved back then. It was an enjoyable story that showed that although the infatuated, physical love two very different people feel for each other cannot conquer all obstacles…committed, devoted, and charitable love (a deeper form of the same love) can. ***I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my fair and honest review.
I enjoyed reading this novel. I have never really thought about it before, but it makes sense that there would have been prejudice against people that didn't look the same in places other than here in America. And it made tons of sense to me that there was especially against the people of India in England during this time period.
I loved Amala in this one. She's a young Indian woman trying to live in the harsh, judgmental climate of England. She's always been a bit of an outcast (I was shocked by the way she was treated by the preacher of their church) and knows that she will never be able to marry and have the "ideal" British life for her family, especially her children. I liked the way she was practical about things, but at some points she almost seems like a bit of a martyr about it. I did love how unselfish she is, she goes away for awhile so that her sister can meet someone that she will be able to marry.
I really liked her whole family dynamics. Amala lives in England with her "Mother" and "Father", Oliver and Viola and her "sister" Katarina. I loved the way that this family cares for each other and don't really care what others think of their family, even to the point that those who don't approve know that they are not going to be welcome in their home. I loved the way that Amala has a confident in one of the servants, Everett, and the way he cares for her almost like a father as well. There are an awful lot of great characters in this one!
I loved the way that she meets Henry at a ball. It's one of those affairs where Amala knows she's going to be spending almost the whole time sitting on the sidelines watching someone else dance. Henry has just returned from India himself, and he is thrilled to get to talk to her. I loved the way that he dances with her and then follows her around trying to get to know her and talk to her all about what he experienced in India. And then he goes to her home to talk to her whole family about it.
I thought that the characters were really well done and interesting. I really would have liked to have known what Katarina thought both about India and about Amala's eventual romance.
I loved the whole plot and feel of this one. I liked the way that Amala and Henry have this secret romance, but all of her hang ups about marriage and the English way of thinking really doom it from the very start. I thought that the ups and downs to the ending were really well written and interesting. And the ending itself...was a satisfying conclusion to the book.
This is a great book, I enjoyed reading it!