A Christmas Garlandby Anne Perry.
This is a novel set in Cawnpore, Northern India, during the nineteenth century.
Descriptive writing, almost haunting, the dry wind, the tamarind trees and seed pods which fall on the ground bring clarity and beauty to the story. The dry earth not long before Christmas with reflections of how different a Christmas in England might be for Lieutenant Narraway.
A medical orderly is believed responsible for a heinous crime of which he is to be tried and most likely to be found guilty. Lieutenant Narraway is young and new to the area. He is given the task of defending John Tallis, the medical orderly. Perhaps he was given this role as he may be able to view the situation with fresh eyes. He is not familiar with the situation at Cawnpore, where soldiers have been affected by shocking events and atrocities which have recently occurred in this area.
The little spark of hope and a belief in Christmas in an otherwise bleak environment brings a special quality to this book. Amongst the soldiers’ dilapidated barracks, the dust and the heat there is an enduring spirit of hope. Lieutenant Narraway assists with Christmas decorations in a family home and is given a blue Christmas garland by a young child bereft of a father. In these special moments there is the belief in Christmas and hope. Lieutenant Narraway questions his own belief and faith. He has to hold on to hope but at the same time he cannot risk giving hope to the medical orderly. Where there seemed to be no hope for the prisoner Lieutenant Narraway had to find a way to defend John Tallis and prove his innocence.
This book is wonderful to read and gives inspiration. Christmas gives hope. It is a wonderful celebration.
A Christmas Garland is well recommended.