- Book: Meet Me in Bombay
- Location: Mumbai (Bombay)
- Author: Jenny Ashcroft
New Year’s Eve 1913. Luke and Maddy meet for the first time and their hearts beat just a little stronger. He subsequently sends her small notes and a guidebook to the city, so whilst he is on business she can explore the hidden and exciting parts of the bustling metropolis at her leisure – not that easy for a woman at that time.
However, family friend Guy offers to accompany her, showing her the more reputable sights of the city. He has a very caring eye for her and would prefer there to be more between them. His courtship would be supported by her parents, with whom she lives. The latter have their own secrets and the relationship between Maddy and her mother is a little fraught.
Over the coming months of 1914 however, Luke and Maddy build on those first few smitten moments and plan their marriage.
Franz Ferdinand is assassinated and soon Britain has joined the Great War. Luke is summoned to take troops – Indian men who are in no way prepared for the hard slog in the trenches – over to France. Maddy is soon informed that he has died and she needs to mourn his loss and find a way to move on.
A few years later, in a military hospital in Surrey, there is a man who is recuperating from injuries sustained at the Front. He has no memory of his former life, although he is plagued by dreams which are just out of reach of his consciousness. A woman plays centre stage but who is she? Could he be Luke? If it is, could Maddy and Luke find their way back to each other?
The novel wonderfully transports the reader back to Raj era India, the sights, smells and sounds are woven into the narrative. It is hot and sweaty and life is getting harder as the months pass.
It was lovely to be taken out of my current environment (Coronavirus lockdown) and just “be” somewhere else, somewhere so colourful with a nicely planned storyline. Yet it was a time with its own very significant hardships and the story is certainly sad at times.