This elaborately woven tale tells the story of Nat who was adopted from an orphanage in Madras State in 1947 and Saroj, a young girl of Indian descent living in British Guiana, in 1956. Nat is adopted by an English Doctor, brought up as his son in a small village near Madras. He lives a life of simplicity and humility until he goes away to London in the 60s in pursuit of further education. Saroj is the youngest of three children brought up in a conservative but well-off Hindu home. Saroj is surrounded by love but governed by her father’s strict principles, which she learns to hate from an early age. Not known to neither Nat nor Saroj is the history of their parents, which are intricately entangled long before either of them were born. Against the odds a forbidden love story grew and bore fruit but caused much pain along the way.
“Of Marriageable Age,” is one of those books that despite being long, crams in so much emotion and action that you are left trying to catch your breath. Initially, it is not clear how these characters, who are so well written, are connected but then the threads of the story become clearer and you can see symmetry, trouble and heartache ahead. No part of this book can be described as dull. It is full of intrigue, action and culture, spanning the world. This is a book to get stuck into if you want to be swept off your feet, in a whirlwind of family drama, secrets, romance, sacrifice and hardship.
One of the best books I have read this year, beautifully written and an absorbing read that is difficult to put down.
I went through a phase of reading books set in India and Pakistan a few years ago, and I know I read this one. I seem to remember enjoying it.
I haven’t read any books set in the Indian subcontinent for a while but hope to get to a few more before the end of the year.