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Most Helpful Favorable Review
8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.
What a story Rosie Thomas was written, she had me walking with t
The story begins with the death of her father, Mair finds a ...
The story begins with the death of her father, Mair finds a beautiful Kashmir Shawl among the belongings. She also finds an old envelope with some hair stored in it. Thus begins her quest for answers, and her trip to India.
There are actually two stories told here, some of it we know but Mair never has all the answers. Mair's Grandmother Nerys and Grandfather Evan are missionaries to India, with WWII going on in 1941, we are about to experience life there. Nerys spends time with Myrtle, and Carolyn, you will enjoy the fun times they make out adversity.
I really recommend this as a Historical read, so very interesting. Even when Mair goes there, there is fighting between the Hindu's and the Muslims. So very sad.
Putting this combined story together is a real page turner, and even though the book is a bit long, it was a quick read.
I received this book through The Bookreporter giveaway, and was not required to give a positive review.
posted by MaureenST on January 20, 2013Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Most Helpful Critical Review
3 out of 35 people found this review helpful.
The publication date is 1/10/2013 but there is a four-star ratin
posted by ChattyK on January 10, 2013Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 9, 2014
Reviewed by Maria Book provided by NetGalley for review Review o
Reviewed by MariaWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Book provided by NetGalley for review
Review originally posted at Romancing the Book
I read my first Rosie Thomas novel THE WHITE DOVE more than two decades ago. I found it to be a memorable read, an historical novel set in the early years of the 20th century. Twenty five years later, it’s delightful to see Ms. Thomas is still penning historical works of the same, noteworthy quality. She still has that quality of producing spellbinding dialogue and even more memorable characters not to mention compulsive story lines which literally drag you in.
THE KASHMIR SHAWL is both historical and contemporary. It’s the story of Mair (pron. Mayar, Welsh for Mary) Ellis, a young woman who comes to India to discover something of the unknown history of her grandmother, Nerys Watkins, the wife of a nonconformist missionary pastor. At the same time, it’s Nerys’ story too. Nerys, the eager young pastor’s wife, who took up life in the mission field some seventy years previously. Side by side, Mair and Nerys’ stories unfold. Nerys had married straight out of teacher training college. At a somewhat more mature age, Mair still hasn’t settled down although we see her sharing drinks, a long chat and an obvious attraction with Bruno, the father of a young family, the Beckers, which she meets on her travels. We sense her dismay at the growing attraction and her eagerness to put a lid on it. Mair isn’t the sort of girl who would just go after another woman’s man.
The story of Nerys is visible to the reader, but not to Mair. She has to be content with some cryptic clues her grandmother has bequeathed from the past. A beautiful Kashmir shawl in a now obsolete style of work known as ‘kani’ and a lock of hair.
As readers we see Nerys in the Srinagar club with her friends, fellow British Raj wives Myrtle McMinn and Caroline Bowen. Caroline’s marriage to a rough army officer is a most disappointing union, leading the vulnerable young woman to seek the love that eludes her in an affair with a young Indian man from a princely family, who is most certainly using her. It’s actually use verging on abuse, albeit of a mental kind. British but Indian born Myrtle, with her incessant cigarette smoking, her dry sense of humour and non-judgmental stance in matters of the heart, is one of the more memorable characters in the story. And dear, lovely Nerys, the ever practical pastor’s wife. Her idealistic and shy husband prays for more converts to his church while Nerys feels, without saying it out, that India has more than enough religions to keep it going and that it would be rather more practical to offer it’s teeming masses some practical way to exit from the hopeless cycle of poverty. Yet Nerys’s devotion to duty Is severely tested when she indulges in a short, discreet affair in her husband’s absence, with a Swiss mountaineer, Rainer Stamm. With Rainer, she touches the heights of passion such as she’s never experienced with her shy pastor husband, which has never amounted to more than a frantic fumble and a shy goodnight. Yet unlike her immature friend Caroline, who dreams that her Indian lover will try to claim her for his own, Nerys is adamant that she will never leave her husband. She is careful enough to employ contraception and lets her lover know that this can never be more than temporary. She, like the British of her time, knows her duty. As Myrtle puts it quite succinctly, ‘we’re wives of the Raj’, which to put it another way, means, ‘we know our role.’
Mair’s association with the Becker family ends tragically early in the narrative, after a fatal incident in Leh, in northern India. She meets Bruno Becker again towards the end of the story, and by then a lot of the pieces of the puzzle have fallen into place. She’s acquired the acquaintance of the nonagenarian Caroline Bowen along with some letters and a powerful photograph. She’s guessing about Nerys’s attraction to Rainer Stamm in the way one feels something inwardly. Returning to India with Becker about a year after leaving, there is a sense of completion and that sense that a new chapter is about to start.
As I live in the Gangetic Plain of north India and have visited Srinagar in the Jammu and Kashmir State, I can vouch for the authenticity of the narrative. Thomas’s descriptive prose brings north India alive. She mentions the warm ‘pheron’ coats of Kashmir. These coats are often acquired by foreigners and while most of them are made from traditional woolen cloth, I noticed that pherons are also available in a British looking tweed fabric and wondered how that could be. But now, from reading this story, I realize that the tweed pheron came into use during the British rule in India. The British had a tendency to Anglicize a lot of things and the pheron is one of them.
As an historical novel, it’s painstakingly well researched. As a contemporary novel it also comes up to the mark, although I would have liked to know more about Mair as a person in her own right and not just as someone investigating her grandmother. Yes, Mair’s interesting life is also recorded, but where she goes from here intrigues me a lot. I guess I’m just hungry for more of her story. Humorous and sometimes tragic but never ever dull, this story from the times the British ruled in India held my attention until the very end.
Favorite Quote: From Tibet there were trays of silver, coral and turquoise jewellery, from China painted Thermos flasks and furry nylon blankets in electric hues.
Posted August 30, 2013
Posted June 29, 2013
Posted May 15, 2013
The Kashmir Shawl: A Novel, by Rosie Thomas, follows a young gi
The Kashmir Shawl: A Novel, by Rosie Thomas, follows a young girl by the name of Mair. While Mair is cleaning out her parents house after their deaths, she finds a beautiful Kashmir Shawl, a picture, and a lock of hair that sparks her interest. She decides that she will travel to India to find out who the lock of hair belonged to, who is the picture she found, and what the shawls story was! It turns out that the shawl was Mair's grandmother's, Nerys. The story then goes back and forth between Mair in present day and Nerys back in the 1940's.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
The author did an amazing job at taking two separate stories and weaving them together into one story with out any confusion. I'm glad that I decided to take a chance on this amazing book. It was a page turner from the get go. I was so entrances with both Mair and Nerys' stories. I found myself feeling as Mair did, just wanting to know more and understand where the shawl came from. I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a great read. Good job to the author, I am looking forward to reading more from Rosie Thomas!
Posted April 29, 2013
¿The Kashmir Shawl¿ is an epic that spans countries and generati
“The Kashmir Shawl” is an epic that spans countries and generations, following one woman’s search to uncover the story of her grandmother.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Mair and siblings are sorting through their dead father’s belongings when Mair finds a beautiful shawl, and within the shawl a lock of hair. The exquisite craftsmanship of the shawl captures Mair’s imagination, and she recalls that her grandmother, Nerys, the owner of the shawl, once lived in India with her missionary husband.
Mair decides to journey to India to uncover her grandmother’s history, and her story alternates with that of Nerys as a young, newly married woman.
This is an engrossing, interesting novel, and while I enjoyed both perspectives, Nerys’ was my favorite—her devotion to the two friends she makes in India, and her love and sexual awakening with Rainer, made for compelling, emotional reading. While Mair is also a good character, and I enjoyed her journeys through India, it was Nerys who really captured my attention. The author made both an exotic country and a particular era in time come alive for me.
I would recommend this novel to readers who enjoy historic fiction, fiction about strong bonds between women, and romantic fiction.
Posted April 24, 2013
Mair finds a Kashmir shawl among the possessions of her recently
Mair finds a Kashmir shawl among the possessions of her recently deceased parents. A lock of hair tucked in the shawl leads the siblings to speculate as to whom the shawl belonged to. Mair, due to her lack of attachments and commitments compared to her two siblings, decides to find out more about the origins of the shawl and sets out to track down the maker and place of origin. A weird reason for an odyssey across the country, perhaps, but it's the one we are given. What follows is Mair's growth and discovery as she meets dozens of new faces, searching for the illusive origins of the shawl. The shawl itself is an absolute mystery, as no one can seem to place how it was even made.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
The characters are varied; native villagers, missionaries from the West, etc. There's a lot of interweaving plotlines and overarching stories, to add to the drama and sense of adventure displayed in the novel.
This book is kind of a slow burn. Although the introduction captured my attention by having the characters sort through their deceased parent's possessions, it then goes on to spend a good deal of time setting up the characters and their circumstances. The lengthy book and the care the author has taken in crafting the characters will be a boon to some. I was of mixed minds; some subplots I found to be more interesting that others.
I did enjoy the meticulously crafted setting of Colonial India in the 1940s. I even learned a bit about the process of crafting kashmir shawls. So I give the books credit for transporting me to a far-away place and teaching me new things, which is one reason I love to read.
Posted April 23, 2013
This is a story of a grandmother and a granddaughter who travel
This is a story of a grandmother and a granddaughter who travel the same roads, but in different time period. Mair finds a shawl made of kashmir, and a lock of hair, in her fathers belongings after he passes away. Curiosity grabs a hold of Mair causing her search back to where it came from. She knows that her grandparents were Welsh missionaries in India before and during World War II, so she packs up and sets out for India.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
The beginning of this book is a bit misguided. I am not sure what the author wants me to think, since there was an abundance of descriptive words. Eventually the author changed the writing style and I found it flowed much easier.
The book begins to move back and forth between Mair and her grandmother, Nerys. Nerys experiencing and living the life as a privileged wife in the British Raj. Once the author starts writing about India, you are taken on a ride that will overwhelm all five senses. Each descriptive word helps you to understand how everything must have smelled, tasted, sounded, and felt like.
It wasn't until the author made the connection between grandmother and granddaughter, that I found myself completely interested in the book. Up until this point, I didn't dislike or like the book, I was basically neutral about it.
I loved how the author was able to interweave the stories to all come together almost as one. There was a great sense of adventure and romance in both lives of Nerys and Mair. Overall I would give this book a 4/5. I neglected one point for the confusion and jumble in the beginning of the book that originally made it hard to get into the book.
Posted April 19, 2013
The Kashmir Shawl, written by Rosie Thomas, is a poignant no
The Kashmir Shawl, written by Rosie Thomas, is a poignant novel centered around a young woman’s discovery of a beautiful shawl and lock of hair that she finds while cleaning out her deceased parents’ house in Wales. Mair seems to be a bit at loose ends in her life so decides to head to India to discover the story behind the shawl and who the lock of hair belongs to. There are really two stories in this book and the author weaves them together beautifully. One story is Mair’s and her adventures in India while searching for the shawl’s story as well as for who the people are in a picture she finds. The descriptive details of India both present day and in the 1940s are wonderful. They really help the reader to smell, see and hear the country. I found these details drew me in almost as much as the story itself did. The second story is that of Mair’s grandmother, Nerys, as she deals with moving from Wales to India with an emotionally distant husband and the resulting friendships. Also in the book is the story of how Kashmir shawls are made and, if you want to think deeply, this process becomes symbolic of both Mair’s and Nerys’ lives. This is the type of book you pack to take to the beach for a long afternoon of reading. The writing is beautiful and flows over the pages so effortlessly that is transports the reader back in time to Nerys’ life. Rarely does a book do a rich culture like India’s justice but The Kasmir Shawl handles it brilliantly. A must read for summer!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 18, 2013
Rating 4.5 out of 5 The Kashmir Shawl is a beautifully written b
Rating 4.5 out of 5Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
The Kashmir Shawl is a beautifully written book with a rather interesting plot. The book starts out with Mair and her brother and sister settling their father's estate after his death. While going through the things, Mair comes across an old, gorgeous, Kashmir shawl. It had belonged to their grandmother, Nerys Watkins. Along with the shawl is a clipping of hair and Mair is suddenly gripped with a desire to learn about the history of the shawl along with her grandmother.
The quest takes Mair all the way to India where she travels the route of the making of the shawl as well as trying to find out where her grandmother would have been and how she possibly could have come by such an exquisite piece of workmanship.
The book switches back and forth between Mair in the present to Nerys in the past, so you actually get to know all of the story and all of the circumstances that surround the shawl. Nerys was a missionary's wife and was sort of finding it hard to accept her husband's calling. After making some new friends, she goes to stay with them for a time, her husband thinking it would be best for her health. There she finds a whole new world opened to her and the events all start falling into place that will lead to her getting the shawl into her possession.
I did enjoy reading the book, it was definitely interesting and was very well written. There were a few times that it would shift between the past and present and it'd take me a moment to realize that had occurred so it was a bit confusing if you don't realize the change has happened. The characters were nicely developed and the history was really well laid out so that it all felt real and you could visualize the places, time periods, etc. very well.
If you enjoy historical romance, mystery, and just an entertaining story, I think you'd enjoy the book.
Posted April 17, 2013
Lets all start our own clans!!!!!
My name is Starfire , i am the daughter of Blackshadowand Stargaze .I am 3 moons old and i am a orange tabby with a dimond with a star on my tail i have harsh blue crystal eyes and I am super fast (I can out run the speed pf light) and can jump to amazing heights . I have been sent by my father to find soliders to help us defeat an unknown enemy from the east. If any clan can get this message ......please send help for without help my clan will no longer exist.
0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 8, 2013
Posted February 24, 2013
Posted February 8, 2013
I absolutely loved this book. I didn't know what to expect when I ordered it. I was so pleased with the characters and the time period. I looked forward to my "reading time" every day so I could return to The Kashmir Shawl, and now I really miss it since I have finished it. If you enjoy fiction that takes place in foreign places and is based on actual historical facts, this book is for you. I will explore this author again.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 8, 2013
Posted February 8, 2013
Posted February 8, 2013
A Page Turner
I really liked this book. It kept me reading to uncover the secrets of the story line. There was a love story interwoven but not the main thrust of the plot. It was present and past stories together and sometimes they got a little muddled but not so much that I couldn't follow it. I think that could have been solved in the editing by providing a chapter change.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 8, 2013
Very good read. Highly recommended.
Very enjoyable read. Only disappointment is that I purchased this as an e-book. I can't convince Mohter (89/years) to make the swtich from paper to 'other', so now I can't share this one with her.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 8, 2013
A wonderful story of a young woman seeking to find the story of her family and a beautiful shawl that she found among her mother's belongings. Her search takes her to India where her grandparents served as missionaries for many years. The story switches back and forth between today and the time of her grandparent's wedding through WW II. Most of the story setting is the beautiful mountainous northern area of Kashmir, India and takes you into the homes and clubs of the British rulers and the much poorer shacks and businesses of the Indian residents. I absolutely loved this book and was sad when it ended.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 8, 2013
This seemed to have mixed reviews so I wasn't sure what to expect. Since it involved two distinct periods of time, it did require keeping the characters straight while bouncing between the two stories. I found this book very interesting, well written and well worth reading. Don't be put off by those who found the character's desire to find the shawl's background too ridiculous. I'm sure there are those who have followed a quest with as little or less information.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 8, 2013