A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar
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A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar

3.25 of 5 stars 3.25  ·  rating details  ·  2,383 ratings  ·  675 reviews
It is 1923. Evangeline (Eva) English and her sister Lizzie are missionaries heading for the ancient Silk Road city of Kashgar. Though Lizzie is on fire with her religious calling, Eva’s motives are not quite as noble, but with her green bicycle and a commission from a publisher to write A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar, she is ready for adventure.

In present day London, a...more
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published June 4th 2012 by Bloomsbury USA (first published January 1st 2012)
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Cora Linn
This was a fantastic and complex read.

The prose is beautifully written and this was a delight to read. The description were sumptuous, beautiful, lavish and luxurious and I found myself instantly transported to Kashgar.

This book switched between two time periods and various characters, but for once I actually enjoyed the changes of perspective. It really really worked and despite it usually being something that puts me off reading a book instead it drew me in further.

The pace is subtle and I did...more
Becca
I received this book as part of a Goodreads giveaway.

This is another in the growing trend of novels that blend a modern and historical storyline. It can be an interesting concept, contrasting and comparing our times and issues with those past. In this case, I spent the whole novel questioning what the link actually was. Having finished it, I don't see how either Frieda's story in modern London or Eva's in 1920s Kashgar actually complemented or added any weight to each other. Yes, they are both...more
Beatnik  Mary
http://www.cozylittlebookjournal.com/...
In response to Goodreads' new user policy, I have decided to no longer post reviews on this site. Instead you can read my review on my blog, Cozy Little Book Journal, or follow the link above.
Maia B.
Well, I tried.

A little more than halfway into this, I realized that I wasn't enjoying it, I didn't care about any of the characters, and I was much better off completely forgetting about this book. So I took the bookmark out and dropped the book off for collection and delivery to the nearest secondhand bookstore and went to read something infinitely more interesting, more well-written, and better.

The book starts out with a gory, disturbing scene of an eleven-year-old girl giving birth. There's a...more
Ricki Jill Treleaven
This week I read A Lady Cyclists's Guide to Kashgar by Suzanne Joinson. This is Joinson's first novel, and I will definitely read more of her books in the future. The book contains two stories that are about 100 years apart. First there is Evangeline, a young lady who accompanies her sister, Elizabeth, on a mission trip to Kashgar in Western China during the 1920s. Kashgar is one of the most remote cities in the world, so I thought the premise of a lady actually selling the idea for a lady cycli...more
Roxanne
I was very impressed with Suzanne Joinson's debut novel. I was drawn to this book because looking at the cover I could not figure out how the lady in the beautiful purple dress was going to ride her bike in what looked like some pretty rugged terrain.

This dual storyline was very well done. My preference would have been for the entire book to be about Eva, but the author did a very good job of keeping present day Frieda in contention with Eva.

I did a comprehensive review of the map at the front o...more
Grace
Author: Suzanne Joinson (pub date June 4) (n)
Title: A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar
Description: Eva and her sister are new missionaries to Kashgar, supervised by the nearly fanatical Millicent. Their very first act gets them put under house arrest and awaiting trial on murder charges. Meanwhile, Millicent’s not-so-subtle methods seem to be stirring up animosity among the natives. Running parallel to this story is the modern-day story of Frieda and her new friend Tayeb, an illegal immigrant. Fr...more
Christine
I quite liked this book but it was not at all what I was expecting from the title and the back cover.

I was expecting something quite light and this got dark pretty quickly both in the historical portion and the modern part of the book. There are so many things that are lightly touched on here, religion, sexuality, colonialism, honour killings, missionaries, etc...

Very little about any cycling, though she did cart the bicycle half way round the world :-)
Kerry Hennigan
“A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar” sounded like just the kind of historical traveller’s tale I love. One of those magical “stranger in a strange land” adventures of an intrepid Edwardian woman venturing where foreigners aren’t welcomed and foreign women are seldom, if ever seen.

However, Suzanne Joinson’s novel turns out to be quite different from these expectations. Most of the historical action takes place while the narrator, her sister and their friend Millicent are under house arrest because...more
Deborah
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of the book through Goodreads First Reads.
I was not required to post a review.

The story-lines move alternately from 1923 with three main female characters who have traveled to the ancient Chinese Silk Road city of Kashgar to serve as missionaries, to modern-day London where we meet a young woman named Frieda who provides the second-story line . The blurb on the back of the advance copy states that A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar "is a major literary...more
Lindsay
I was loving this book and would have given it 4 1/2 stars all the way up until the end. The story followed two women during two different time periods: Evangeline in the 1920's and Freida in present day. There was also a story arc on Tayeb, and that wove in seamlessly with Freida's story. I spent the first 3/4 of the novel trying to figure out how the two main stories would intersect and loved that. The first 3/4 of the novel had great details and imagery. Evangeline is a missionary in the earl...more
Helen Bookwoods
This novel has two timeframes/heroines. Frieda in present day London is a social researcher specialising in Islamic countries but this work leaves her feeling ambivalent. Unexpectedly, she is named as next of kin to an elderly women who has died, a woman she has never heard of. Meanwhile a hundred years or so earlier, Eva and her sister Lizzie embark, along with the domineering missionary, Millicent, on a trip to convert Muslims in Kashgar near Tajikistan (Eva is commissioned to write a book abo...more
Nicola Mansfield
Reason for Reading: First off the title attracted me, then secondly I was both interested in the location and time period as these are favourite topics of mine.

A very intriguing story that kept me hooked from start to finish. Told in two points of view. One the first hand account of the diary of Eva as she travels through 1920s China as a Christian missionary at a time when it is under major Muslim upheaval. Second, the third person narrative of a modern day English woman and Arab immigrant man...more
Candace

Suzanne Joinson’s split narrative novel is the kind of book you will indeed finish even though you will be constantly aware of the pitfalls of this narrative style with every chapter. My, that sounded pretentious, but how hard must it be to keep two narratives going and have them both be equally interesting? How hard can it be to find a modern story to compete with a 1920’s Englishwoman writing a guide for ladies who want to go bicycling for heaven’s sake through a remote Muslim area of western...more
Jeannie Mancini
As an Amazon Vine reviewer I try not to read any other reviews before reading a book, as to not cloud my own reading experience or judgement. But, as I was approaching this novel's three quarter mark I just had to stop and check out the other reviews. I had gotten to the point where I was leaning towards calling it quits and tossing it in the pile to be taken the used bookstore for trade in credit. Although I give the author credit and two stars just for the story concept alone, which is a creat...more
Felice
Another debut novel, another winner. It seems like 2012 has been a good year for first timers. What do you think? The latest in this series of good reads for me is A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar by Suzanne Joinson.


The action in A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar is set in 1923 and involves sisters Eva and Lizzie. They are on their way to do mission work in the Chinese governed, Muslim city of Kashgar. Lizzie despite her frailness is the zealot on this trip although she does have other passion...more
Richard
A wonderful debut novel by a young writing quickly mastering her craft; this book champions her skills and I hope it reaches a large audience.
Through a surprise inheritance two different stories converge together with common themes of religious zeal, motherhood and infidelity.
Often told with wit; aided by a rich texture of research Suzanne Joinson demonstrates the art of story telling without trying to moralise or use too many words.
There is the sense of danger as we travel with Eva and by contr...more
Nancy Oakes
Jun 20, 2013 Nancy Oakes rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: historical fiction readers
The historical fiction part of this novel absolutely makes this book -- an amazing story. There is a longer version here; read on for the shorter version.

A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar follows two very different narratives, and several journeys taken by a number of characters who populate this novel. One storyline is composed of journal entries from 1923 and the other set in modern-day London. The journal entries come from Evangeline English, who along with sister Lizzie and a woman named M...more
Knitme23
Wow. Not sure whether it was the TERRIBLE, ATROCIOUS, WHAT-THE-HELL-WERE-THEY-THINKING reader or the pretty much random plot that got to me worse. . . but listening to this book became an effort of will. I finished it this evening with a sigh of relief, decided to pan it (I had honestly been thinking quite hard about whether it was good and I had just lost patience or was being short-sighted), and then cracked up when reading the review below this one, which clearly agrees with me about the read...more
Lauren Murphy
4.5 stars
A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar is a gem of a read! What a surprisingly absorbing story that lured me in from the very first chapter when an eleven year old girl is giving birth on the side of the road on the route to Kashgar in 1923. Lizzie and Eva are sisters, travelling as missionaries with their leader, Millicent. Eva takes the opportunity to cycle as they travel with the hope of writing a guide to cycling in the Middle East, she loves to cycle.

The story also switches to modern da...more
Kristine Pratt
I am not sure how to classify this book. And while there is rarely any bike ridden in the course of the manuscript, the story does meander along with all the speed and grace of a long bicycle ride, allowing the reader close glimpses into vignettes passed along the way.

This is indeed the beauty of this book.

The two stories, one set in the 1920's in Kashgar and the other in England currently, intertwine in some obvious ways, others not so much. What on the surface are several storylines of a journ...more
J.
I read this for book club. The book structure contains two parallel stories. The first set in 1923 is documented by way of a diary. Eva is a young single woman who follows her sister and another missionary leader to Kashgar in north east China, modern day Turkmenistan. Eva's belief is a pretense in order to escape her boring life back in England and she intends to write a travel book about the region. Her sister is devout but the pair under the guidance of the nefarious hard line Millicent are o...more
Sarah
It is the 1920s and Evangeline English, her sister Lizzie, and their missionary leader, Millicent, have travelled to Turkestan with plans of converting the local Muslim population to Christianity. However, Evangeline has no real interest or intention in establishing a mission or in converting "the heathens". Rather, Evangeline has secret plans to write a travel guide based on what she sees and experiences in Kashgar.

It is also present day London, and Frieda is a modern-world professional stuck...more
Beadyjan
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.

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 witho...more
Andrea
I feel like a need to make a shelf for "historical novels about women travelling" as it is a sort of favorite of mine. This was an intriguing read. The novel has two parallel threads, one set in 1923 in Asia and the other in contemporary London. The first plot is implied by the title. Evangeline English is travelling with her sister Lizzie and another missionary, the domineering Millicent to establish a mission somewhere along the Great Silk Road. Evangeline, ironically (due to her name), is act...more
Vicki
Two fascinating tales are told side by side in this vivid debut novel, A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar. One is an incredible story of sisters, two young Englishwomen who aspire to become missionaries in remote southeastern Turkey in 1923. The alternate chapters tell the story of a young professional woman in present day London. Her parents were "free spirits," who we would have called hippies if they were in the USA, and she rebelled by seeking out traditional schooling and a career in researc...more
Sue
Looking forward to this one. Got it for free from Good Reads provided I write a review. Sounds good to me!

I finally had the time to read this novel. The cover of this edition really was attractive. All that cool blue made me think of the Mediterranean. Perhaps not such a good cover choice as the novel is set in London and Kashgar! But there is mention of a lake at one point.

Overall I found this a disappointing read. It's a split time and place novel, you really have to be a good writer to make t...more
Deena
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Vera Marie
I first became aware of Suzanne Joinson when I read Better Than Fiction , the collection of travel essays edited by Don George for Lonely Planet. I was fascinated by her story of a research trip to the Silk Road area she was going to write about in A Lady Cyclist s Guide to Kashgar. Her personal story was exciting and her writing was fresh and intriguing.

The book does not disappoint. In fact it was even more than I had thought when I read her description in the essay "Chasing Missionaries."

My m...more
Ami Sands
I loved this novel! In fact, it's one of the best books I've read of late. I found the subject-matter so fresh and unique, a story alternating between the 1920s in Kashgar along the silk road, and present day London. Two sisters, one a beauty, a passionate photographer and missionary, and her older sibling, travelling in order to write a first book as 'A Lady Cyclist in Kashgar,' as well as fierce and frightening missionary, detail their extraordinary journey, attended by both insight and traged...more
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From her website:

Suzanne Joinson works in the literature department of the British Council, and regularly travels widely across the Middle East, North Africa, China and Europe. In 2007 she won the New Writing Ventures award for Creative Non-Fiction for ‘Laila Ahmed’. She is studying for a PhD in Creative Writing at Goldsmiths, University of London and lives by the sea on the South Coast of Englan...more
More about Suzanne Joinson...
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“The art of bicycling is a purely mechanical attainment; and though its complications may at first seem hopeless, sufficient practice will result in final mastery.” 6 likes
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