Stella Carrington, young and beautiful, feels that life is passing her by in the repressed Victorian household of her grandmother and spinster aunts. A casual flirtation shocks and horrifies the elderly ladies, and they summon Robert Crayfield, her godfather, who is an officer in the Indian Civil Service, to make suitable arrangements for her to be a missionary or governess. But, tantalized by her beauty and disregarding the difference in their ages, he offers to marry her instead, scandalizing the village.
Stella, indifferent to romance, is most excited by the prospect of going to India that her marriage offers. Once there, she is enthralled at the beauty and mystery of the subcontinent, but increasingly disenchanted by her husband, who is only interested in her as a whet to his sensual appetites. When the young, handsome Philip Flint is posted as a junior officer in the same town, for the first time, she is forced to consider her own desires and duties.
Alice Perrin writes of Anglo-Indian life during the Raj era with great detail and sympathy, drawing compelling characters who love and despair, feel jealousy and doubt. Once a popular writer with many bestsellers to her credit, she is now being rediscovered for her memorable romances and ghost stories set in India at the turn of the twentieth century.
‘He was living once more in those far-away days that had begun with such happiness, only to end in such failure and pain […] and now a result had arisen, alive and awful and tragic—the woman in the bazaar!’
On leave in England from his regimental duties in British India, Captain George Coventry falls in love with the vicar’s daughter, Rafella Forte. After a brief courtship they marry and move to India. Rafella is a devoted wife and George is glad to have her for a partner, but when she strikes up a friendship with Mr Kennard, a handsome barrister, George assumes the worst. In a fit of jealous rage, he terrorizes his young wife and she escapes into the night, never to be seen again.
Years later, when he is given another chance at love with the young, outgoing beauty Trixie Munro, George must face down his dark past. He must also contend with the ‘woman in the bazaar’—an increasingly persistent and bloodcurdling rumour of an Englishwoman sold into slavery—a horror he fears he might have wrought on his first wife.
A compelling portrait of marriage and jealousy written in fluid prose, The Woman in the Bazaar is compulsively readable and one of the finest novels of the Raj era. Once a popular writer with many bestsellers to her credit, Alice Perrin is now being rediscovered for her memorable yarns of British life in India.
A woman’s ghost comes calling for her devoted husband; an amulet hastily given to a British officer saves him from a man-eating tiger; a happily married young woman finds herself reminiscing about someone lost for ever; an ayah sings lullabies to her imaginary charge; and an obnoxious self-made man loses his family in a flash.
Written and set in late-nineteenth-century India, the stories in East of Suez—domestic dramas, shikar stories, hauntings and grand love affairs—chronicle the lives and after-lives of the sahibs and memsahibs of the Raj. Sharply observed and timeless in its evocation of an age long past, East of Suez is a memorable and gripping read.