The Secret Children Paperback – 16 Aug 2012
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A vivid tale inspired by the author's own family history. (EASY LIVING)
touching novel about the the need to belong and find one's place in the world, and a portrait of a country and a society during a period of upheaval and change. (GOOD BOOK GUIDE)
This is a wonderful novel. A page-turner that is gripping, sensitive and thought-provoking. Highly recommended. (HISTORIAL NOVELS SOCIETY) -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.
In 1920s India, where do two little girls belong? Born of two cultures, belonging to neither...See all Product description
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I felt sympathy, happiness, anger and frustration at various points through the book. There's an overwhelming sense of sadness that social convention should have such stark and often unforgiving consequences. There's a real sense of place and time; India in the lead up to partition is captured well. The undercurrents of a country moving towards independence are a convincing backdrop to the main story. I enjoyed it and it left me wanting to know more and with food for thought.
Particularly, it is the tale of the two girls who were born to an Indian mother and English father in the 1920's. It tells of the problems and the apparent impossibility of them and their parents becoming a family. I would like to think that things are very much different now, although in this case the differences in background and life experience between the man and woman were so vast that they would have no meeting ground except the obvious. The man behaved in a very unfair and unthinking way. When the children were born, he realised his folly, but of course, it was too late. He regretted it for the rest of his life.
The story begins with the daughter of one of the girls at her mother's funeral in England, with her aunt, who is the sister of the deceased. The aunt tells the story for the first time, having promised her sister she never would tell anyone, as long as they both should live.
I cannot really say much more without giving away too much of the content. I think this is really a worthwhile and absorbing book, and appears to reveal a deep understanding of how things were and are. I have never been to India so it is hard for me to know how true it all is, but I feel that it is so, as I have heard tales of India from people who have lived there in the past.
Alison McQueen is an author who clearly loves India and its people and this was clear to the reader through her story telling. She painted a vivid picture using her words and I loved every page which I read. The story she told was a heart wrenching one and she told it sympathetically not only towards the sisters Serafina and Mary but also their mother and the servants that served them daily. I loved the way the author opened up the customs of India and through her words I got a clearer understanding to the ways of the people especially towards their beliefs and fears of the unknown.
With each turn of the page I just wanted happiness for the girls but they spent their lives being controlled by those around them. They accepted each stage of their lives without complaint and did what was asked of them without questioning why they were sent with each new stage of their lives. This was a wonderful book which told a story which was unlike any book I have ever read, the author showed the suffering of the people of India around the time of the Second World War and around Ghandi's time and I am sorry to say I knew nothing of this before I read this book. But she also showed a world which the girls no matter how they tried could not fit into and it was hard to understand why these beautiful girls were judged not only by the colour of their skin but the depths of that darkness. I got so much out of reading this book not only the pleasure of reading a good book but I got an understanding of a country which I always admired but unfortunately I knew nothing about.
The Secret Sisters by Alison McQueen is a book which I highly recommend to all readers not only of fiction but those that want to know more about India as a country.
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