Lead Review

  • Book: The Himalayan Summer
  • Location: Darjeeling, Nepal
  • Author: Louise Brown

Review Author: tripfiction

Location

Content

3.5*

A book set in a strong location is an amazing thing – I’m quite clearly in the wrong place if I don’t think that. But a book set in a location you really want to travel to is extra great. For quite a while now, Nepal has been top of my ‘must travel to’ list. After reading The Himalayan Summer, Nepal is even further up the list – if that’s possible. I want to go to see the coral mountains for myself!

The book starts out in Darjeeling in 1933, and Ellie is married to Francis, a drunk, self-righteous, unlikeable character. A few months later, they and their twins make the long journey to Nepal – avoiding elephants on the track. It’s here that Ellie meets Hugh again, an explorer with a certain charm and excitement, something her cheating husband has never and never will possess. It’s pretty obvious what’s going to happen…

Within a day of their arrival at Kathmandu, for the second time in her life, Ellie finds herself in an earthquake that will quite literally tear through her life. She has to make a decision impossible for any mother, which one of her children will she save?

Not a shocker, mainly because it’s written in the blurb, but she chooses to save her daughter. She then spends the rest of the book trying to locate her son – if indeed he is still alive. It’s well written, something I’d expected after reading Eden Gardens, and it’s incredible on location. Kathmandu (and surrounding areas) are quite clearly well researched and beautifully described, as are the customs and culture.

Ellie as a character is quite difficult to like, I found her a bit annoying to be honest, but that’s not a negative. I think she was supposed to be hard to warm to. It added another level to her character and to the story. Besides, the overly likeable characters of Maya and Hugh made up for her slightly irritating behaviour.

The narrative flows really nicely and develops at a great pace. There are unexpected dark turns as well as coral highlights. A slight negative perhaps is how predictable the ending is, but overall a good book full of the beauty of the Himalayas.

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