twitter Harry Potter House Eds
Search our site
The Stolen Bicycle by Ming-Yi Wu Read the opening extract of the brand new Ming-Yi Wu book before its publication on 26/10/2017

Reader Reviewed
Eden Gardens by Louise Brown
  

Eden Gardens

Historical Fiction   Books of the Year 2016   Family Drama   Literary Fiction   Reading Groups   eBook Favourites   eBook Favourites   

RRP £7.99

Download an extract Discuss on Facebook Discuss this book on our Literary Contemporary Facebook group Share this book

Lovereading view...

One of our Books of the Year 2016.

Longlisted for the HWA Goldsboro Debut Crown Award Longlist 2016.

A vividly striking and entirely captivating debut novel set in Calcutta, covering both the Second World War and Indian Independence during the 1940’s. Beautiful adventurous Maisy and loyal, knowing ayah Pushpa tell their own tales, which are inextricably linked to each other. Maisy’s Mam ‘entertains’ army officers, yet she has big dreams for her daughter, as Maisy becomes a woman, their world starts to crumble. Louise Brown writes with the lightest of touches, yet is able to convey earthy, vibrant tones with an expressive eloquence. There are occasional moments of heart wrenching savagery, described by a character in such an unaffected, matter of fact way, that the thrust travels all the more intensely. My imagination soaked up this moving tale, the emotion it generated constantly surprising as I found myself transported to an exotically precarious world. ~ Liz Robinson

A 'Piece of Passion' from the Publisher...

'I’d challenge almost anyone not to be seduced by Louise Brown’s spellbinding debut novel, EDEN GARDENS. It’s the story of Maisy, who has no chance of growing up a nice British colonial girl. Her mother is a prostitute and alcoholic, and when Maisy is seduced at sixteen by her Indian tutor, her life changes forever, for better and for worse. Set in the closing days of the British Raj period, EDEN GARDENS tells of another side of British India, a world of castes, secrets, politics, ambition, and love of a different kind.

What sets it apart from me is the incredibly vivid sense of location, from the backstreets of the shared housing in Calcutta to the colonial bungalows beautifully wrapped by their flower-filled gardens – both dwellings are places that provide comfort and yet entrapment, too. The author also delves into some very serious issues simmering beneath the love story that arcs over the novel. It portrays an alternative story to the usual stories of dusty haired, bored British Colonial wives. It's colourful, rich in detail, probing in subject matter and beautifully researched. Ultimately, it is a love story, but it’s also a story of survival, told in the most entrancing way.' ~ Imogen Taylor, Publishing Director, Headline

Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.

  • Catherine Bryce - 'A beautiful historical and thrilling novel set in the era of the decline of the Indian Raj.'
  • Angie Rhodes - 'Beautifully written, you can smell the spices, feel the heat, and your heart will break, you will laugh at some of the things Mam says, and cry at others, you will want a sequel.'
  • Alexandra Harper-Williams - 'Enthralling novel set in the colourful landscape of Calcutta in the 1940s told from the perspective of two very different women. Very enjoyable read!'
  • Ann Peet - 'Moving love story set in 1940s India.'
  • Phylippa Smithson - 'This is not a love story, a fictional account of another side to living in India for the Brits in the 1920s-40s nor a family saga.  It is all of the above and I loved it.'
  • Allison Batten - 'A light-hearted read, good to curl up in a chair with!'
  • Evelyn Love-Gajardo - 'This book has it all - exotic location, strong characters, believable plot and a doomed love affair...I found the book to be very well written and it held my attention throughout, so I would recommend it.'
  • Janet Gilliard - 'I really enjoyed this book. I was transported to the heat of India.'
  • Alison Bisping - 'A great book containing scandal and danger in a time where race, class and gender were everything.'
  • Sarah Harper - 'This absorbing book will immerse you in the colour, squalor, caste and strict social order of India and provide a glimpse of another world that will linger on in your memory.'
  • Joy Bosworth - 'This is not the overworked tale of white rulers living it up in India. It is, instead, a gripping story of a shady white woman and her daughter along with their faithful servant.'
  • Lorraine Blencoe - 'It's a compulsive read. It looks at Indian independence through the eyes of three women and their different perspectives on survival. It pulls no punches and examines extremes.'
  • Chloe Hill - 'This book had lovable characters, great imagery and gave me an insight into life on the harsher side of the British Empire.'
  • Zara Kazi - 'A good read...Brown captures the atmosphere in Calcutta in the 1940's by touching upon intricate details that really make you feel as if you, yourself are in India.'
  • Edel Waugh - 'Love, family and friendship is at the centre of this story and you can see how it is that which holds these women up when their life is not going to plan.' 
  • Yvonne Richardson - 'A charming tale of love and loss. Set in a colourful exotic country.'

Win a Set of 10 Bloomsbury Modern Classics!

This month Bloomsbury has launched a series of ten modern classics chosen from highlights of the publisher's last thiry years, each with an eye-catching, iconic illustrated cover - and we have a full set to give away!

The ten titles are Restless by William Boyd, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke, Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels, The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje, The Suspicions of Mr Whicher by Kate Summerscale and The Little Friend by Donna Tartt.

To have a chance of winning this fantastic prize, click the button below. Please note that this draw is open only for UK residents and is free to enter, multiple entries from the same email address will only be counted once.

The draw closes on 6 November 2017. The winners will be notified by 20 November 2017.

Good luck!

Enter prize draw Draw closes: 06/11/2017

Synopsis

Eden Gardens by Louise Brown

Eden Gardens, Calcutta, the 1940s. In a ramshackle house, streets away from the grand colonial mansions of the British, live Maisy, her Mam and their ayah, Pushpa. Whiskey-fuelled and poverty-stricken, Mam entertains officers in the night - a disgrace to British India. All hopes are on beautiful Maisy to restore their good fortune. But Maisy's more at home in the city's forbidden alleyways, eating bazaar food and speaking Bengali with Pushpa, than dancing in glittering ballrooms with potential husbands. Then one day Maisy's tutor falls ill. His son stands in. Poetic, handsome and ambitious for an independent India, Sunil Banerjee promises Maisy the world. So begins a love affair that will cast her future, for better and for worse. Just as the Second World War strikes and the empire begins to crumble...This is the other side of British India. A dizzying, scandalous, dangerous world, where race, class and gender divide and rule.

Reviews

I was transported to the heat of India -- Janet Gilliard * Lovereading * Faithfully researched, colourfully rendered... a vivid and compelling read * Sunday Irish Independent *


About the Author

Louise Brown

Louise Brown has lived in Nepal and travelled extensively in India, sparking her enduring love of South Asia. She was a Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Asian Studies at the University of Birmingham, where she worked for nearly twenty years. In research for her critically acclaimed non-fiction books she's witnessed revolutions and even stayed in a Lahore brothel with a family of traditional courtesans. Eden Gardens is her debut novel. Louise has three grown-up children and lives in Birmingham.

Photo credit: Aimee Spinks

More books by this author
Author 'Like for Like' recommendations

Loading similar books...
Loading other formats...

Book Info

Publication date

21st April 2016

Author

Louise Brown

More books by Louise Brown
Author 'Like for Like'
    recommendations

Publisher

Headline Review an imprint of Headline Publishing Group

Format

Paperback
368 pages

Categories

Historical Fiction
Books of the Year 2016
Family Drama
Literary Fiction
Reading Groups
eBook Favourites
eBook Favourites

Historical fiction

ISBN

9781472226105

I love the 'like for like' author recommendations, it's like an old friend whispering in your ear.

Emma Caddick

Thanks to Lovereading I have discovered new writers and read books I would never had looked twice at - and enjoyed them.

Angela Rhodes

Why I love @lovereadinguk? It's in the name - as dedicated lovers of reading, they are perfect matchmakers for helping me find my next read!

Catherine Jenkins

It's a lively, independent website with reviews, recommendations and more - with a huge range of books available to buy in all formats.

Alison Layland

I recommend Lovereading because you get honest reviews on a whole range of genres-there's something for everyone. It's the only site I need.

Sian Spinney

Lovereading are lovely people who send me lovely books. What's not to love?

Gavin Dimmock

It's the first site that I visit when deciding on the next set of books to buy. A particular treat is being able to download an extract.

Tessa Olson

Love Reading - it not only does what it says on the tin, it does it with Jam on!!

Maz Tucker

Lovereading4kids

Lovereading4schools