The Sandalwood Tree
By Elle Newmark
(Atria/Emily Bestler Books, Paperback, 9781416590606, 368pp.)
Publication Date: March 13, 2012
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Nationally bestselling author Elle Newmark’s rich, sweeping novel brings to life two love stories, ninety years apart, set against the backdrop of war-torn India.
1947. India is rife with violence surrounding Britain’s imminent departure. Yet Evie Mitchell is eager to start a new life there with her husband, Martin, a troubled anthropologist, and their young son. It is in their colonial bungalow, hidden behind a brick wall, that Evie makes a startling discovery. Evie finds a packet of old letters that tell a strange and compelling story of love and war involving two young Englishwomen who lived in the same house in 1857. Consumed by their story, she embarks on a mission to uncover what the letters don’t explain. Along the way, she unearths a dark and disturbing secret. Bursting with lavish detail and vivid imagery of Bombay and beyond, The Sandalwood Tree is a powerful story about betrayal, forgiveness, fate, and love.
Elle Newmark was an award-winning writer whose books were inspired by her travels.
- The Sandalwood Tree begins with a quote from Adela Winfield: "[D]eath steals everything but our stories." Later Evie paraphrases this as "[A]ll we really have are our stories" (p. 330) What do you think of this? Do you agree? Do you think our stories are the only things that last?
"Elle Newark beautifully captures the sights, smells and sounds of India on the cusp of change, all the while spinning a richly layered tale." --Cathy Buchanan, New York Times bestselling author of The Day the Falls Stood Still
“Newmark’s The Sandalwood Tree is a finely nuanced tale of the enchantment of India for three women—a century apart—caught in the midst of two struggles for independence from the British Raj. The research is meticulous, the details exquisite, the story one of love, betrayal…and love again. The Sandalwood Tree is a heart-warming, enlightening, and mesmerizing read.”
--Indu Sundaresan, author of The Twentieth Wife and Shadow Princess
“If you are looking to be swept away and engulfed in a beautifully layered story that will hold your attention so intensely that you won’t want to put it down, then you should read The Sandalwood Tree!” – Planet Books Blog
“Newmark escalates tension subtly, weaving two intricate stories together and building a narrative that I could not put down. The characters linger long after the final page.” --Brunonia Barry, New York Times bestseeling author of The Lace Reader