Imagine if you will, you are living in England in the 1920’s and you are about to board a ship that will take you to India.
Rose and Victoria (Tori) are about to partake on this long and arduous journey, where they will be on a ship for three weeks. Rose is already betrothed to a Calvary officer and Tori being her bridesmaid (who coincidentally would like to find a husband on the ship) before it docks in Bombay.
These women were known as the “Fishing Fleet”.
Viva, is the young lady that has been hired to essentially “babysit” them both along with a young man by the name of Guy Glover, and by the sounds of it is a tad bit off – Stealing items, acting weird, and Viva is in the middle of all this debauchery trying to figure out what to do.
The reason Viva is doing this is so that she can return to India to reclaim a trunk that her parents had abandoned after their deaths in Northern India. At the time, Viva was 10 yrs old and shipped back to England to be educated. Once she finds the trunk she has found more then that, more then she ever imagined.
Pack your steamer trunk and get ready for a ride of not to be soon forgotten sights, sounds of both England and Bombay.
Julia Gregson pulls out all of the stops that will have you feeling as if you are in the middle of it all – the lavish parties, the dinners on the ship, the music, from the breathtaking landscapes to the homeless children and poor adults, the unpredictability of the situations that the girls and the people that they meet on the ship encounter, the not knowing what they will expect is what makes them the most scared.
It made me think that these women had absolutely no idea as to what to expect, they went from England which was civilized to a country that was taken over by the British as a colony where poverty, crime, corruption ran rampant. But then on the other hand, they had the pride, and the determination to overcome all of the obstacles that plagued them for years – either you got married or you didn’t and lived with your parents and became a spinster. The ones that returned to England that were not married was classed as “Returned Empty”.
I really enjoyed this novel, and I cannot wait until her next work is published. I will be certainly be on the lookout for it.
Thanks to Kathy at Touchstone Books an imprint of Simon and Schuster for allowing me to read and adore this novel. Thanks to Julia as well for graciously answering my questions.