Under the Jeweled Sky

Under the Jeweled Sky[Ebook] ➧ Under the Jeweled Sky By Alison McQueen – Oaklandjobs.co.uk London 1957 In a bid to erase her past and build the family she yearns for Sophie Schofield accepts a wedding proposal from ambitious British diplomat Lucien Grainger When he is posted to New Delhi in London In a bid to erase her past and build the family she yearns for Sophie Schofield accepts a wedding proposal from ambitious British diplomat Lucien Grainger When he is posted to New Delhi into the glittering circle of ex pat high society old wounds Under the MOBI :¼ begin to break open as she is confronted with the memory of her first forbidden love and its devastating conseuences The suffocating conformity of diplomatic life soon closes in on her This is not the India she fell in love with ten years before when her father was a maharaja’s physician the India of tigers and scorpions and palaces afloat on shimmering lakes; the India that ripped out her heart as Partition tore the country in two separating her from her one true love The past haunts her still the guilt of her actions the destruction it wreaked upon her fragile parents and the boy with the tourmaline eyes Sophie had never meant to come back yet the moment she stepped onto India’s burning soil as a newlywed wife she realised her return was inevitable And so begins the unravelling of an ill fated marriage setting in motion a devastating chain of events that will bring her face to face with a past she tried so desperately to forget and a future she must fight for A story of love loss of innocence and the aftermath of a terrible decision no one knew how to avoid. After reading Under the Jewelled Sky by Alison Mcueen I can't stop myself from uoting Rumi the Persian poet's remarkable words “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right doing there is a field I'll meet you there When the soul lies down in that grass the world is too full to talk about” If I've to express the book Under the Jewelled Sky in few short words then I would say Painful raw and deeply movingAll thanks to the author Alison Mcueen for sending me over the copy of her book in return for an honest review Let's move back to the time when India has got the power to overthrow the highly acclaimed British Empire from their land the year is 1947 A sweet innocent and pure love story blossoms between an English girl and an Indian servant boy inside a hugely lavish palace in Jaipur on the very day on India's independenceFast forward to 10years later when we see that English girl Sophie getting married to a diplomat and settling back in New Delhi the country which makes her heart skip a beat to a country where she hid all her sweet memories in her closet of past dreams and hopes Sophie's doctor father lives in Ooty and knows all about her fragile heart but will she be able to keep her heart in place to make it work with her new husband? Has Sophie's heart stopped aching from the previous pain? Will the past haunt her upon her arrival to the country which made her feel the passion of a first love? Can you feel the pain? Amidst of India's independence and peak of a new horizon a love story blossoms which will only make your heart flutter with joy And the innocence of it might touch your heart and is bound to make you remember all the flames of your first love What a bliss Let's talk about the setting India my country But if I now start judging the book from an Indian POV I would rate the book uite critically since the author who is too a British women might have commented on certain stuffs about our country that erupted a fire inside me But to be honest whatever she commented about India was true She has the brilliance in her words to capture such a colorful and culturally vast country From her descriptions about The First Maharani's boasting to her demeanor to the clashes between Hindu and Muslims during the partition to the newly formed Government under Pt Jawaharlal Nehru to the dusty roads that lead to the villages everything the author has made it alive with her words Her characters are coming from different cultures some Catholic Hindu Christian Muslim am I leaving out anything else? It's uite rare that you come across such characters in your everyday novels that come from different backgrounds and strike you as the most relatable ones Jag the Indian boy represents his country India Sophie and Lucien represent England Likewise via this book you get to travel into so many unknown lands get to know about so many forgotten stories Indeed Alison Mcueen is a brilliant author since she has made her plot into a compelling tale with a medium fast pace and a smooth flow of narration And in the end I swear that the book left me in tears The story touched my heart so deeply that it might take uite a while for me to get out of the aura of this book But still somewhere the book failed to irk the interest in me In some places the book became pretty boringDo read this book to relive those moments when a country gained its first freedom and when a girl and boy falls in love for the first time in their life and starts to explore the depths of their passion under a brightly lit sky What could be better than an historical fiction novel set in India during a time when the country was fighting for its independence? I had high hopes for Under the Jeweled Sky I thought it was the perfect way to learn about the culture and history of India while reading an enchanting love story that features star crossed lovers Doesn't that seem like the ideal combination?Sophie Schofield returns to England to visit her mother It's obvious from the moment Victoria opens the door that there is something from Sophie's past that has caused a rift that can't be repaired It doesn't take long for readers to see that 10 years could never be enough time away from Victoria Under the Jeweled Sky shifts focus between the present and the past when Sophie as a teenager lived in India Her father was employed as a doctor for the maharaj It is during these reflections that we learn a little about India and the culture This is also where the romance is brought to the surface Sophie falls in love for the first time with an Indian boy Jag Because of his station in life and very strong prejudices she is told to stay awayThe novel seems to come full circle when Sophie and her present day husband move back to Delhi What better way to end a story than where it begins? Actually it may not be better at all What I enjoyed most about this novel was Sophie It wasn't that she was a well developed character so much as when someone is in love it's natural to want things to go well for them She faces many obstacles but she never caved Even when her less than ideal situations would have caused a weaker person to break down She never played the victim nor did she give up hopeWhat was most challenging about this novel is that the story doesn't unfold It's never a moment I felt immersed into the world Alison Mcueen created It was almost like we were being told a story instead of living in the story with the charactersMy other gripe with this novel is that it's historical fiction yet I never got the facts or information usually coupled with period fiction Yes there are social inferences that can be learned from this text but the single most important fact was left out The novel takes place in war torn India yet much of the war was off screen There were no characters presented who had a stake in India's future besides only in passing Overall Under the Jeweled Sky could have been so much than it was Although it wasn't a hit with me I do recommend this novel to lovers of historical fiction women's literature There is a little bit of romance and a little history but mainly a story that suggests to never give up hope Copy provided by Sourcebooks via Netgalley Under the Jewelled Sky by Alison Mcueen Read October 2013From page one you are drawn into the story with its rhetorical uestions standing unanswered Daughter comes home after many years? There are so many uestions This is the story of Sophie Schofield who goes to India with her parents; her father a doctor works for a maharajah There she finds herself in love with tragic conseuences Ten years later she returns to India as the wife of a Diplomat The India she lives in is very different from the one she left This is a story of family secrets moving from past to the present The characters are well portrayed and the supporting characters brought to life on the page The setting of this novel is the backdrop of India with four different aspects of the country the maharaja’s palace the horror of the refugee camps during partition the life within the diplomatic enclave in Delhi and lastly the calm and beautiful PilgrimsI really loved this book Be warned you will not be able to put it down once you start reading I will be looking out for this author again and would definitely recommend this book as a title for Book Club discussion This book gets 45 stars Full review available on MINA'S BOOKSHELF If you have a soft spot for narratives that draw you in exotic locales moral codes and social settings of a distant time then Under The Jeweled Sky by Alison Mcueen will enchant you A star crossed love story set against the backdrop of the British expat circles during the mid century political upheaval that tore India Mcueen's novel truly is an epic tale of love and loss beautifully choreographed and flourishing with a wealth of sumptuous imagery and elegant prose Under The Jeweled Sky unfolds with filmic perfection and a cinematic uality that is too startling to go unnoticedThe author adds depth to the historical dimension of her work without weighing down its delicate thematic structure avoiding that excess of anti climactic details and social commentary that so often plague historical fiction Mcueen captures in her stirring narrative the essence the dramatic scale and the devastating conseuences of the political turmoil that brought a mid century India to its knees with the unrelenting sense of drama and the timing of a 'shakespearean tragedy'If there is a trope that can be so aptly and so powerfully woven into the narrative fabric and wide scope of historical fiction that is the 'star crossed lovers' the 'thwarted love' story in the capable hands of Alison Mcueen that sense of human tragedy that invested the Indian nation in the grip of a civil war trickles down and affects every cell of society tearing up territories communities and families along invisible lines drawn by power struggles between religious groups There is nothing like an unconventional love affair between two young innocent lovers belonging to the opposite ends of the social spectrum to render the magnitude of social and political conflicts typical of every era of transformationA heart shattering and unforgettable read Review copy graciously offered by the publisher via NetGalley in return for an unbiased and honest opinionRead my interview with the author Under the Jewelled Sky is the story of Sophie an English diplomat's wife who returns to India a place that holds a special place in her heart She has so many memories of India both good and bad and she is not sure whether she ever wanted to come back to India in the first place This story has star crossed lovers and a fantastic setting to boot set against a fascinating historical backgroundI really enjoyed this story It started out a little bit slowly for me but ended up being really good I loved the story and loved how it unfolded Because the book takes place in different times the transitions did get a little confusing for me and I had to keep going back to figure out what happened when Definitely stick with it though and you get a really lovely story The love story was one of the very best parts of this book Sophie is a headstrong English girl who falls hard for Jag an Indian boy Their worlds are too different and they know that their families would not accept their love Their love ends up ending but there is a piece that will go on and will prevent closure The setting of this book was awesome I love reading about India It seems like such an amazing place This book takes place during a very changing time in India I loved all of the history that was tied into this book We get to see India's independence and the split between India and Pakistan It definitely whetted my appetite to read about India's historyOverall this is a great story that will be a treat for historical fiction fans that want a little romance with their reading A pair of star crossed lovers torn apart by their parents and a society who refuse to acknowledge their undying love for one another As their lives move on separately but always seemingly guiding each other back to one another they witness tragedies in the extreme beauty in the simplest of things and hope in the lowliest of times They live for the idea that they once again might be together in the India they love and as a family they were always meant to beThis book has so much going for it including a sweeping and truly epic love story an ending that will stay with you for days characters you fall in love with and who make you cry as their lives tumble about and they continue to carry on because they must a time period that is both new to “historical fiction” and intriguing and poetic and lush imagery throughout It truly was one of the best books we have read in a long while and definitely something you should add to your must read list right away In fact this book was FANTASTIC you should go read it now Alison Mcueen manages to provide a little romance and a little history without going too far in either direction and perhaps that's what makes this book a middle of the road read The story line maintained And that is enough for some readers But the history of India is rich with strife and the love affair of forbidden races could really have taken this to something beyond general maintenance Mcueen clearly knows her subject matter and her characters and this solid historical romance will be satisfying for some readers For me the promise of really good things to come throughout the book never delivered Provided by publisher Originally reviewed at Regular readers of the blog might know that it's uite rare when I read and review historical fiction or books with a similar subject matter I've never really been interested in this genre and on the rare occasion when I did pick up a historical novel I never seemed to enjoy it as much as I should have However there was something about Under the Jewelled Sky possibly the idea of love and loss and a past better forgotten which really piued my curiosity and I decided to read it Never in a million years did I imagine falling in love with Mcueen's story as much and as uickly as I didStarting her story with a hint of a family drama and a dark past the author introduces us to Sophie a British girl who spent part of her childhood in India and her mother who is visibly not too keen on seeing her daughter after so many years We learn that it's been uite a long time since the two of them saw each other and they clearly haven't been in touch ever since It takes a great deal of courage on Sophie's part to make this visit yet her mother couldn't behave in a rude and nasty way When Sophie announces that she only came to tell her something she refuses to listen And Sophie leaves Needless to say it was only the first chapter but I was hooked already What might have happened to cause such tension between the two women? What was Sophie about to say to her mother? I knew it would be related to some buried family secrets but the complexity of Sophie's past and what they've all been through back in India not only took me completely by surprise but made me read the last 200 pages in literally one sittingAnd the things I enjoyed the most about this book? Firstly and most importantly the beautiful and flawless writing I've never been in India or anywhere near it but Mcueen's descriptions are so detailed so vivid that I felt as if I was there with Sophie in the Maharaja's palace I could literally see the surroundings the lotus pool and various gardens the beauty of the palace itself down to the tiniest details If that wasn't enough to convince me the way the author handles characters and makes sure that not only are they realistic and in most cases likeable too but are very detailed and properly introduced as well is just fantastic She doesn't go into lengthy tales about her characters' traits or their past unless it's necessary for the story yet I felt like I've known them all my life And I don't just mean the main characters Everyone I absolutely loved Sophie's father and the way he was always there when she needed him and Sophie and Jag's bittersweet relationship made me reach for the tissues many times throughout the story and it's definitely something I'm not likely to forget anytime soonThis book has taught me to dare to read outside the box and try new genres and I must say an enormous thank you to Sophie at Orion without whom I wouldn't have stumbled upon this gem Under the Jewelled Sky is simply magical and it's safe to say that I enjoyed every minute of it The story Mcueen's characterisation and Sophie's intricate past and the way she finds closure is breathtakingly beautiful I can't recommend this highly enough Under the Jewelled Sky by Alison Mcueen is a well written and sumptuously evocative novel about India where the country is one of the integral characters Set at the time of Partition and a decade or so later the writing style is so atmospheric that it draws the reader back to the mid 1900s when there was huge political upheaval and huge change as the British began to take their leave On occasion the writing mirrors the language of the era the period of the formal slightly stilted ‘ueen’s English’ of the BBC which enhances the sense of time It is the India not only of Maharajas' Palaces it is also the India of poverty clay chillims Sadhus hooded cobras and ‘the colourful business of daily life’ It is pithy a country full of paradoxes This is also the India where the British were at home – the author takes the reader for example to Ooty Ootacamund The ueen of hill stations a piece of Victorian England that had ‘been scooped up and rearranged in filmic perfection with frivolous gardens and gothic archways and a tranuil boating lake for lazy days and fishing’ You can uite imagine it through Alison Mcueen’s writingIt describes in wonderful detail the way the palaces might have functioned and the role of the Maharanis the wives and the place the British might have held Visiting a Maharaja’s Palace today – like the palaces in Jaipur floating on a shimmering lake – one could well imagine the cloistered movements the opulence and the number of staff all uietly going about their businessAt the heart of the story is the friendship between Sophie a British girl whose Father is employed as a physician at the palace and Jag who is the son of a servant In that era such a friendship was severely frowned upon Move on ten years and Sophie finds herself reluctantly in Delhi married to Lucien in an India that feels very different to the one she knew and revelled in when she was younger Life has moved on in many ways – both in the country and for Sophie emotionally and personally and essentially this is the story of how she tries to find some closure on things that have happened in her pastThe book however tends to fall down a little both at the beginning and the end The relationship between Sophie and Jag as we witness it developing early in the storyline seems like that of two very young people who feel perhaps like very young teenagers There are kisses but they feel uite chaste The passion doesn’t penetrate the writing – yet it is the passion of their early friendship and that is essentially what it feels like a friendship rather than a relationship that underpins the whole story going forward and as things progress it is an unwelcome surprise to the reader to witness how things develop Towards the end Jag makes his arduous trip to find relatives in Amritsar after Partition; the storyline meanders around the streets of relatives and finally struggles to make a really meaningful conclusion to the story A final postscript from Sophie in 1970s in California winds up the story and seems a bit random However despite these reservations it made for a good read about India of that era and we are looking forward to reading The Secret Children by the same author I will preface my review by stating that historical romance is not my preferred genre When I reuested this title I found it classified under literary fictionSophie Grainger arrives in India in 1957 with her diplomat husband This is not her first time in the subcontinent since she lived there ten years earlier when her father was a maharaja’s physician During her first stay in India she had an unconventional relationship with Jag the son of an Indian servant and the repercussions of that relationship follow her during her second sojourn “memories have a habit of storing themselves up like shoving things into the back of a closet They’ll live there for so long as you care to leave them and then many years from now you might find yourself cleaning out that closet one day and out they will tumble all your memories of yesteryear”Characters are problematic in this novel Many tend to be either too good or too evil to be believable Veronica Schofield Sophie’s mother is part of the latter group She is shallow hypocritical and abusive; one is hard pressed to find a positive uality Jag on the other hand is just the opposite He may be the romantic hero but surely there must be something this man cannot do? How many times does he cross a large swath of India? Even minor characters are unbelievable Jag’s aunt for instance is just so loving and accepting of everyone These characters are just not realistic The number of coincidences is also an issue In a country with “four hundred million people” Jag’s uncle locates Joy? In the midst of the Partition which saw the displacement of millions Jag is chosen to work in the same clinic as Dr Schofield? The author tends to emphasize the star crossed lovers element a bit too much Sophie is the one to initiate a kiss and then she and Jag totally discard all the values of their upbringing? Jag’s behaviour while a guard at the residential enclave does not ring true Why doesn’t he identify himself sooner when he surmises the state of Sophie and Lucien’s marriage?The historical element on the other hand is not emphasized sufficiently The upheaval of the Partition is not conveyed very strongly There is an attempt to show some of this during Jag’s stay at the refugee camp but general descriptions such as “this unimaginable scene of human tragedy” do little to give a real understanding of the suffering of the displaced This novel would probably appeal to those readers who enjoy historical romances It has the exotic location and the everlasting love that knows no bounds of time and spacePlease check out my reader's blog and follow me on Twitter DCYakabuski

Under the Jeweled Sky PDF ñ Under the  MOBI :¼
  • Paperback
  • 408 pages
  • Under the Jeweled Sky
  • Alison McQueen
  • English
  • 28 October 2016
  • 9781402288760