the Lady of the title journeys to the East as a missionary (in early C20th), an accidental one as she is more following her sister than acting through any religious conviction, and her sister is largely enthralled by their leader, Millicent. The trio's adventure quickly moves from fool-hardy to perilous; the locals are a mixture of Chinese and Muslims who are verging on their own conflict with little time for new religions.
Interspersed is the story of Frieda who in today's London finds an illegal immigrant sleeping in the hallway outside her flat. Frieda is an independent, well-educated and well-travelled, but this encounter leaves her puzzled and uncertain.
The link between the stories lies with Frieda's estranged new age mother...
It is the kind of book that you want to keep reading - seemingly normal people caught up in strange circumstances and the moral dilemmas these thrown up. It is always possible to relate to the two central characters despite weirdness which surrounds them.
The stories also contrasts the wealth and arrogance of Britain's imperial past that led people to imagine they were entitled and capable to preach to the world, and today's lack of assurance.
But at the end I felt rather empty and let down - like at the end of a roller-coaster ride! I had the feeling it was all too contrived in the worst creative writing tradition and didn't reveal any great secret of human life - the `take-away' was light.
4 people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?