The Midnight RoseThe Midnight Rose by Lucinda Riley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Historical fiction

It is Anahita’s 100th birthday.  She has decided to pass on a handwritten story of her early life to her great-grandson in hope that he’ll find the answer to a mystery that has haunted her for 70 years. Her daughter thinks she is crazy to think that her son is still alive.  They have his death certificate.  But Anahita is convinced that she would have known if he died.

Anahita was born in India to a high caste but poor family.  Her scholar father encouraged her to learn and explore.  Her mystical mother encouraged her to be attuned to the mysteries around her.  When her father died her mother accepted an offer from her cousin the Mararajah to live in the women’s quarters of her palace.  This constrained life didn’t suit Anahita.  Soon though she was chosen to be a companion to Princess Indira who she met on a trip.  When Indira is sent to boarding school in England Anahita goes along.

Anahita applies herself to school.  Indira does not and their lives start to drift.  When Anahita decides to stay in England and continue her education they part. But Anahita is pulled back into Indira’s orbit whenever there is a crisis in the Princess’ life.

This novel alternates between Anahita’s story and the present day when a movie is being filmed at a run down English country house where Anahita used to live.  This helps contrast the viewpoints of the aristrocratic English family who lived there and Anahita’s versions of events.

I really loved this book and highly recommend it.