As a recent graduate of English Literature reading is my number one passion, whether it’s a lengthy novel or a short poem – you name it I’ve read it. When I was doing research into my final year dissertation I came upon the genre of ‘historical romances’. My definition of a historical romance is a tale of love set in the past and M.M Kaye’s The Far Pavilions definitely fits into this category.
The author takes her readers through time and space back to India in the late 1850’s and then the bildungsroman follows the protagonist Ash as he battles many trials and tribulations in his colourful and exciting life. Ash’s life is never full of dull moments, from chases through India to a rather interesting life in Victorian England Kaye has produced a book for many generations to cherish and enjoy. Perhaps the most enthralling part of the novel is not the love story between Ash and Juli nor the war between India and the British Raj but the lengths Ash goes too to survive in a country where he knows he is not welcome. Although he is able to disguise himself as an Indian and even learn to speak many of India’s dialects he will always be an outsider and perhaps this is what makes Ash’s story stay with you many months after reading it. Kaye’s ability to make you laugh, cry and fall in love with these fictional characters is what makes the 900-odd page novel one which has and will stand the test of time.