Strangers – Rosie Thomas

Strangers Annie and Steve are caught in a bomb blast that destroys the Oxford Street department store where they were both doing their Christmas shopping. Rescued from the rubble where they had talked to keep one another alive, life gets more complicated as they each cope with the intense emotions generated by this shared experience and the fall out for their nearest and dearest.

Whilst the story is timeless the 1986/1987 setting hasn’t aged so well – it’s a world before mobile phones, when wives and mothers managed on their housekeeping – but the novel is all the more interesting for that.

Publisher page: Strangers – Rosie Thomas

The Kashmir Shawl – Rosie Thomas

Twin stories of love in the Himalaya, both rooted in the valleys and sheep farms of North Wales.

Nerys’ story is set in the late 1930s and early 1940s when she follows her Presbyterian minister missionary husband to India. Although destined for remote Ladakh, Nerys finds herself living with the wartime jet set in Srinagar. Modern day Mair follows in her in her grandmother’s footsteps, initially the company of a Swiss American couple and their toddler daughter Lotus. En route there are wonderful descriptions of Ladakhi gompa, Kashmiri mountains and passes – even if, sadly, modern borders and geopolitics mean that the mid 20th century bazaar caravan world of Leh is long gone.

I must confess (no surprise here) that having finished The Kashmir Shawl, my appetite for this part of the world has been well and truly whetted… a trek from Leh to Srinagar is on my To Do list. The Kashmir Shawl – Rosie Thomas