Saturday, 4 February 2012

A lady cyclist's guide to Kashgar by Suzanne Joinson

A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar: A NovelA Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar: A Novel by Suzanne Joinson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this book courtesy of the kind folk at Netgalley and found it an enjoyable read.

Its a dual timeline story which is one of my favourite genres and it manages to be a little different to most the story is told from the perspective of two women seemingly unlinked.

In modern day London Frieda a young career woman whose work has taken her abroad to some unusual places struggling to maintain her relationship with her inconsiderate married lover. Her very unconventional upbringing has left her without strong family ties and a Yemeni refugee she discovers sleeping outside her apartment becomes an unlikely friend who helps her when she makes an unexpected inheritance with some unusual heirlooms.

Meanwhile we are transported back to the 1920s where we travel to Kashgar a remote province of China where 3 young women go under the guise of becoming missionaries. However all is not as straightforward as it seems. Eva the eponymous narrator of this part of the story is more interested in escaping her mundane life in England and seeking adventure, travelling and exploring on her beloved bicycle which she takes with her across continents and her journal becomes a book she longs to have published. Her sister Lizzie has been heavily influenced by her missionary friend Millicent who's zeal seems somewhat misplaced and Eva wonders about her possible ulterior motives.

At the beginning of the book we are witness to a dreadful event - the 3 English women come across a native Chinese girl about to give birth and their desire to help just makes matters worse and leaves them in deep trouble, mistrusted by the locals and with a new born child to care for.

There are a lot of seemingly irrelevancies yet most become apparent by the end and the storyline is pretty complex - loads going on and you'll not be bored. Both the contemporary timeline and the historical narratives are richly detailed and quirky.

In some ways it reminded me of
The Sandalwood Tree and if you enjoyed it I think you'll like this one too. An accomplished and fascinating novel for lovers of dual time fiction and historical fiction.

1 comment:

  1. I am meant to be clearing my TBR lists this year and not adding to them, but after reading this lovely review how can I not add this title to the wishlist!


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