Firstly I wish to thank Kim Nash and Bookouture for inviting me on this Blog Tour for The Orphan of India.
A beautiful, unforgettable tale of a young girl torn between two lives…
Monika and Jack Kingsley are desperate for a child of their own. On a trip to India, they fall in love with Jyothi: a small, shy girl, whose family has been ruined by poverty.
Jyothi has been living on the streets of Bombay, seeking comfort in the music she hears around her. When her mother is involved in a tragic accident, Jack and Monika are determined to adopt the orphan child.
Eventually they return to England, but Jyothi finds it difficult to adapt to her new home. She feels more alone than ever and music becomes her solace once more. Even when Jyothi’s extraordinary musical talent transforms into a promising career, she still doesn’t feel like she belongs.
Then a turbulent love affair causes her to question everything. And Jyothi realises that before she can embrace her future, she must confront her past…
The Orphan of India is an utterly evocative and heart-wrenching novel that will stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page. Perfect for fans of Dinah Jefferies, Santa Montefiore and Diane Chamberlain.
HERE ARE MY THOUGHTS AND REVIEW
This is the first Sharon Maas book that I have read but how I have fallen in love with this lady’s beautiful descriptions of far away locations that I have never been to. The thing is yes I could go there now but I wouldn’t see this India. Sharon Maas has captured an era that only existed then as any moment can only ever exist once.
It is 1977 in the village of Maharashtra India where it is almost like time has stood still as Jyothi a tiny slip of a 5 year old girl, is already learning the ways of her mother’s daily work. A bundle of clothing on her head to be returned to the big house where the rich family lives and more dirty washing collected and scrubbed by hand. Today would change everything from the enchanting and enticing music that Jyothi would hear and near forget, to the sign of the times as India began to move into a more modern mixed culture. A simple washing machine that this wealthy family have bought would have a rippling affect on Jyothi’s family and a sudden move to Bombay for work.
Three years later fate is to throw together a British couple, desperate for a child and tragic circumstances that make Jyothi an orphan. Through sheer determination the couple battle to adopt her and bring her back to England to raise her. Academically Jyothi struggles terribly in school but can play music pitch perfect after hearing it only once and soon becomes sort after as a prodigy with the violin. She is even given a new name of Jade for stage performances with only her adoptive parents keeping her birth name alive.
Oh my poor little poppet she is in emotional turmoil. Sharon Maas takes you to a small window in time where it was thought acceptable for childless couples to be able to take babies and children from their culture and pat themselves on the back and turn it round so that they were doing the family or the child a huge favour by taking them and exporting them like a prize piece of pottery. There was no thought given to language differences, culture and diet or in this case being brought into a racial environment that the child would find isolating.
This is Jyothi’s story through childhood and partial adult life. Her lost culture and roots and a past she must face before she can really belong in her own skin. This is a very deep and meaningful story as Sharon Maas writes with her heart on her sleeve with every nerve ending of Jyothi striped back. Loved this book.
HERE IS A LITTLE ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sharon Maas was born in Georgetown, Guyana in 1951, and spent many childhood hours either curled up behind a novel or writing her own adventure stories. Sometimes she had adventures of her own, and found fifteen minutes of Guyanese fame for salvaging an old horse-drawn coach from a funeral parlor, fixing it up, painting it bright blue, and tearing around Georgetown with all her teenage friends. The coach ended up in a ditch, but thankfully neither teens nor horse were injured.
Boarding school in England tamed her somewhat; but after a few years as a reporter with the Guyana Graphic in Georgetown she plunged off to discover South America by the seat of her pants. She ended up in a Colombian jail, and that’s a story for another day…
Sharon has lived in an Ashram in India and as a German Hausfrau–the latter giving her the time and the motivation to finally start writing seriously. Her first novel, Of Marriageable Age, was published by HarperCollins, London, in 1999 and reprinted as a digital edition in 2014. After working as a social worker in a German hospital she finally retired and now has time for her favourite pastimes: reading, writing, and travelling.