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East of the Sun

3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  4,015 ratings  ·  605 reviews
Autumn 1928. The Kaiser-i-Hind is en route to Bombay. In Cabin D38, Viva Hollowat, an inexperienced chaperone, is worried she's made a terrible mistake. Her advert in The Lady has resulted in three unsettling charges to be escorted to India.

Rose, a beautiful, dangerously naive English girl, is about to be married to the cavalry officer she has met only a handful of times.
V
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Paperback, 480 pages
Published June 2008 by Orion Books Limited (first published December 2007)
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Shantaram by Gregory David RobertsLife of Pi by Yann MartelThe God of Small Things by Arundhati RoyKim by Rudyard KiplingA Passage to India by E.M. Forster
Fiction Books Set in India
16th out of 33 books — 46 voters
A Fine Balance by Rohinton MistryThe Namesake by Jhumpa LahiriThe God of Small Things by Arundhati RoyThe White Tiger by Aravind AdigaMidnight's Children by Salman Rushdie
India: Fiction
86th out of 187 books — 190 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Blair
I found this book very hard going, not because it's a difficult or demanding read - far from it - but because most of the story completely failed to engage my interest. I only kept reading in the hope that it would improve - which, thankfully, it did, albeit not until the final quarter. Part of the problem is that the characters aren't particularly likeable - Tor is annoying, Rose insipid, and Guy downright horrible (and then we're expected to care about his potential demise!) There also seems t ...more
Sara
Julia Gregson’s East of the Sun was an emotional read. It invoked boredom, annoyance, and frustration pretty quickly. The story is about three young women embarking to India. Rose is marrying a man she barely knows. Her best friend Tor is accompanying Rose officially as her bridesmaid but chiefly to secure a marriage of her own. And finally their chaperone, Viva, who returns to India to reclaim something of her past.

We get the points of view of all these characters, as well as, Rose’s fiancé, J
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Yas
This book tells the story of three girls, all of whom leave England for various reasons on a journey to India. Rose is leaving to get married, whilst Tor is her bridesmaid and on the hunt for a potential love interest whilst being chaperoned by a "mysterious" Viva who seeks to find out more about her past.

I found the book quite simply fairly dull reading, not demanding in the usual sense of the word, but demanding to me in the aspect it felt like a huge effort to continue reading it. I didnt par
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Gwyneth Stewart
I am a book-aholic. I have so many books in my house that I can't always know where I got them or why or when. But sometimes when I go through the slush pile looking for something to read, I find a real gem. East of the Sun is such a gem. The story is set in the late 1920's, when Britain was still an empire, and women of a certain class were expected to marry well, even though both these norms were just beginning to change. In those days, young ladies who didn't "take" during their London season ...more
Christy
When I started this book I was really excited about it and could hardly put it down. I thought maybe I had found another The Far Pavillions. I did like some of the descriptions about India, the people, the food, the poverty ect. and I was quite interested for about 250 pages but I began feeling like the story began to drag a bit and I was just reading a so so romance novel, but then again, it wasn't a romance. Then because there is a bit of a mystery I hoped that the author would develope that p ...more
Emma
May 07, 2012 Emma added it
I must have liked it because I finished it right? I mean life is too short to waste your time reading a badly written book? Although I have a feeling I didn't really like it.

I couldn't care about any of the characters. I simply did not like them. Any of them. Tor was a bit to pathetic and her ending was simply too neat and tidy. Rose...well actually I think I quite like her a tiny bit. She had back bone and well did what she needed to do to a certain degree. But really none of them appealed to
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Connie
I am a fan of Julia Gregson. Her novels, with their international focus, are truly fascinating to me. I have learned so much; this is a much better way to learn than sitting in all of the boring geography classes that I attended during my 18 years of education.

"East of the Sun" focuses on " The Fishing Fleet", and the English women who sailed from England to India in 1928 in search of husbands. These ships were called TFF due to the fact that they were often packed with English women travelling
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H. V.
A generally well-plotted book about three English women who travel to India shortly before their lot were ousted from the subcontinent: Viva, a woman who spent her early childhood in India and is seeking some sort of closure about her past; Rose, who travels to marry a man with whom she's had 4 conversations; and Tor, Rose's cheif bridesmaid who longs to escape her overbearing mother.

Most of the writing about India that I have read has been by Rushdie, Arundhati Roy, and V. S. Naipul, so perhaps
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Lisa Nelson
Jul 26, 2011 Lisa Nelson rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lisa by: Erin
4.5

For the past ten years or so I've been trading birthday books back and forth with one of my closest friends from High School. It is truly one of the highlight of my birthday to receive a book that I know I'm going to love. The best part for me is that most of the books like this one have beautiful friendship themes. I always envision us as the characters in the book. This time we were two young Brits headed over to India in the late 1920's, with all the vigor and excitement of marriage and ex
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Tema Merback
I love historical fiction, I always feel like I'm getting something for nothing. Not only do I learn about a period of time and a way of life, but I get to read a story about people and the obstacles that life presents for them.

East of the Sun begins in 1928 during the British Raj of India which lasted from 1858-1947. It is the story of three women who are as different from each other as night to day, but are thrown together and travel to India for reasons which I won't reveal (spoiler). It is
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Robyn Hawk

East of the Sun: A Novel

It has been along time since I have been as excited about writing a review as I am for East of the Sun: A Novel by Julia Gregson!! I actually got up this morning grabbed the book, looking for my bookmark to continue, only to realize I had finished it last night!

Yes - this is the story of 3 women and 1 man who for various reasons embark on a life changing trip to India. It is the 1920's and India is experiencing "growing pains" - an independent India is not far off.

BUT - t
...more
DubaiReader
A lovely sense of the times of the Raj in India.

This book starts out with great promise, with the crossing from England to India in the Kaiser-i-Hind. As we sailed, we met the four characters who are central to this story.
Viva needs to return to India to retrieve an old trunk that belonged to her dead parents. Rose is travelling to marry captain Jack Chandler, a man she hardly knows, and her friend and companion, Tor (Victoria) is to be her bridesmaid. Tor is also hopeful of finding herself a hu
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Stacey Peters
While the idea of exotic 20th century India and the extravagances of British high society conjured up exotic spices, elephant rides and afternoon tea, I got lost in the translation I guess, because there were whole paragraphs that seemed misplaced and hard to follow. I didn't understand some of the passages and skipped over them instead. The dialogue was tiresome and very, very repetitive, the characters were flat and uninteresting (except Ce Ce-- she was funny and Guy). But there were so many t ...more
Cheryl
A quiet read for a stay-at-home with a warm blanket and purring cat on my lap day. The storyline was interesting (but felt long).

I took a long time to warm up to most of the characters. I didn't really feel I developed a deeper understanding of India, although I did feel I had a better sense of what it might have been like to be British during that time in that place.

The take-away for me was centered around the orphanage. Good-hearted people trying to help fill a desperate need in constructive
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Darcy
I hesitated when I saw this book at Costco. In-fact, I picked it up once and quickly set it down when I saw that it was the winner of the “Romantic Novel of the Year Award.” I like a good romance, of course, but it’s nice when such guilty pleasures aren’t advertised right on the cover. In the academic world, having the phrase “romance novel” stamped on your book cover is like walking around with a sign on your forehead that says, “I am not a serious reader; I have no taste and mush for brains.” ...more
Julia Mukuddem
for some or other reason, i found this a quite difficult read, but it kept me interested and i enjoyed the story. i enjoy stories set in india and i love history.

i think why i gave it 3 stars instead of 4 is simply personal taste - maybe too much of a love story for me and i don't enjoy love stories with happy endings. :) but all in all a good book, i will recommend it.
Christa
A "Nice" book!

This book was enjoyable but also easily forgetable. A nice book snuggling up in front of the fire replacing rubbish tv on cold winter nights but i wouldnt go as far as saying i learnt anything new.
Cinnamon
This may be the first book of the year to earn the title of Epic Read. To me, an Epic Read is a book where I could easily imagine a full series out of the storylines. That doesn't mean that I think the story would have been better in a multiple book format, it simply means that this book was jam packed with storyline and kept me intrigued for days.

East of the Sun, by Julia Gregson, had a main storyline and multiple branching storylines that really keep the reader involved. This is part of what m
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Robyn Hawk

East of the Sun: A Novel

It has been along time since I have been as excited about writing a review as I am for East of the Sun: A Novel by Julia Gregson!! I actually got up this morning grabbed the book, looking for my bookmark to continue, only to realize I had finished it last night!

Yes - this is the story of 3 women and 1 man who for various reasons embark on a life changing trip to India. It is the 1920's and India is experiencing "growing pains" - an independent India is not far off.

BUT - t
...more
Susan
In her three books to date Julia Gregson has picked a period of history in which cataclysmic changes are taking place that effect the entire world. Into this chaos she tosses young women who are both charmingly innocent and admiringly strong, who find themselves caught up in these social, political, and moral changes.

East of the Sun is set in 1929 in India as the Indian people are making a bid for a new order that will remove them from British Imperialism, upset their Caste system, and challeng
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Suzanne
In 1929, much had changed in the world of the British aristocracy. Old families of wealth, were now not so rich, and their daughters were getting more and more difficult to marry off. If the “season” passed without so much as a proposal of marriage, there was one option left to a single girl: become one of the “fishing fleet”. Thousands of British girls of marrying age, set sail for India in the hopes of catching husbands.

East of the Sun is a fascinating look at that time in the form of a novel
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Ladory
Apr 26, 2012 Ladory rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: women
Recommended to Ladory by: my mother--she gave me her copy
I loved this book. It's not deep. It's an easy read that I went through in a week even though it's quite fat. I generally try to read things that stimulate my mind or teach me about history and this one was in a lighter vein. I've read enough about India now to already be aware of the historical timeframe and political overtones included in this book.

I loved the depth of characterization. The story was mainly about three young women from England who went to India just before the British were kic
...more
Bobbie  Crawford
Aug 18, 2009 Bobbie Crawford rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All historical fiction lovers and anyone with an interest in Bombay India or the “Fishing Fleet”
East of the Sun: A Novel
Written by: Julia Gregson
Published by: Simon & Schuster,
A Touchstone Book
Date: June 2009 – Reprint
(Originally published in 2008)
Pages: 604
Format: Trade Paperback
ISBN: 978-1439101124

East of the Sun begins in London, England in September of 1928. Viva Holloway poses as an experienced chaperone and she takes on three charges for the voyage; two young women, Rose & Victoria, and a rather odd young man named Guy. They all make their way to Bombay, India on the luxuriou
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Judi/Judith Riddle
I was scanning the shelves at my local library and this novel popped out at me, screaming, "Read me". So I picked it up, read the synopsis and took it home. When I opened it up I was so fascinated by the writing style and the story I could hardly lay it down until I finished it. What a nice surprise!

In 1928, Viva, a young British woman, wants to go to India to retrieve her parent's trunk after they died, but does not have the finances for her trip. Because she had spent some time in India and sh
...more
Megan
I have to admit that I wasn't that crazy about this book. I chose it because I'm interested in books set in other cultures and I like being able to "feel" what the characters are feeling, which didn't happen. The premise of the book is about a young woman traveling from London to India to be married to a service man she barely knows and she's accompanied by her best friend and a chaperone, who's rather young herself. And Viva, the chaperone, is also chaperoning a very troubled teenage boy. I wan ...more
Lanae Schaal
In general I am a fan of historical fiction/romance novels. In this book we travel to India in the mid-late 1920's. The story tells the story of three women who transition from adolescence into adulthood. Through the women we see the variety of struggles that most females encounter: betrayal, emergence from a sheltered life, body image, inability to meet societal expectations, grief, and a desire to be self-sufficient. As the author told the story of one of the characters, I found myself relatin ...more
Kelly
What a treat to read this book on the beach! I highly recommend you grab this book, your towel and a comfy beach chair and enjoy! Don't forget your sunscreen, because you will lose all track of time in the sun as you savor this story. It unfolds like the best BBC production. It captured my imagination because of its characters, its location (India) and it's plot. Loved it and highly recommend it!

From Publishers Weekly
British author Gregson bows in America with her fast-paced second novel, an abs
...more
Heather
East of the Sun is a wonderful summer read. The author's lyrical description of time and place transports the reader to India in the 1920s with all the wonder of a far away land and the tension of the times.

The reader travels with three young women from London to India aboard a luxury liner. Each of the girls is very much on her own journey and struggling in her own way to grow-up and find her place in the world. Rose; beautiful, kind and gentle seems to be in control of her life and have every
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Lexie
There's something rather intriguing about a group of women who know they need something, but have trouble realizing what it is. From Rose, who is pretty and sweet and pretty much an empty-headed doll to her best friend for ages Tor, the opposite of Rose in everything from looks to personality, but equally uncertain how to map out her future. Then of course there's Viva, who lies about her age, her experience, her purpose for wanting to go to India. With all the bad karma these three ladies are t ...more
Marjanne
I think I would actually give this 2.5 stars, but I am still kind of deciding how I feel about this novel. First off it's quite long. Make sure you have some time before you dive into this. There are three main characters who narrate their own personal events, some of which include the other main characters, but often it's them by themselves. In a lot of ways this story feels epic. It's huge, there's a lot going on and a lot to keep track of. I enjoyed the taste of India, especially reading abou ...more
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Coffee Talk: East of the Sun by Julia Gregson 31 22 Nov 06, 2012 10:56AM  
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874906
I have always wanted to be a writer, but left school very young (16) after a fairly hit and miss education, longing to travel and have adventures. I worked as a jillaroo in the Australian outback, a girl groom, a shearer’s cook, and later, back in England, as a house model for Hardy Amies in London.

In the seventies, back in Australia again, love of horses led to riding out with Mick Jagger on the
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“She had a strange feeling in the pit of her stomach, like when you're swimming and you want to put your feet down on something solid, but the water's deeper than you think and there's nothing there” 86 likes
“when we look up, it widens our horizons. we see what a little speck we are in the universe, so insignificant, and we all take ourselves so seriously, but in the sky, there are no boundaries. No differences of caste or religion or race.” 22 likes
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