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Two Under the Indian Sun

4.02  ·  Rating Details ·  274 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
In November 1914 two small sisters, Jon and Rumer Godden, returned to India. They had spent a year in London being "brought up" by austere aunts, but now the zeppelins were expected, and so they were summoned back to their home in East Bengal. Jon was only seven and a half and Rumer six.

"Two Under the Indian Sun", a unique collaboration, is a remembrance of the five years
Published by Alfred Knopf (first published August 1st 1967)
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Community Reviews

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Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
I adore well-written happy childhood narratives. The memories of youth are uncomplicated and touched with wonder and magic. If those happy childhoods were lived in the Bengal, India of 100 years ago, so much the better! This is one of the best memoirs I've read. It's co-written by two sisters whose father worked for a British steamer company in what is now part of Pakistan. Concise, precise, fascinating, funny, sad. I can't wait to forget it so I can savor it all over again.

Another excellent Br
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
Jun 21, 2014 Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all) rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoirs
This collaborative effort between two sisters who were both writers is as slow-moving as the Godden's beloved river, covering a mere five or six years in their lives. However, these were the formative years that shaped their personalities and helped to determine their futures. After a year "at Home" being educated by puritanical maiden aunts, they are shuttled back to India due to the outbreak of WW1--much to their delight.

Published when they were both established authors, the biography describ
Susan Oleksiw
Dec 26, 2012 Susan Oleksiw rated it really liked it
Rumer Godden is one of my favorite writers, so I was delighted to come across her memoir about growing up in India. The book is co-written with her older sister, Jon, and covers the WW1 years when both girls were returned to India after war broke out. They were expected to spend their formative years in England, but war changed that. The contrast between their six months or so in England with maiden aunts and their nearly five years in India with sisters and servants and friends, roaming the cou ...more
Mar 03, 2014 Kara rated it really liked it
I first read Jon and Rumer Godden’s memoir of growing up in India when I was in high school. Two Under the Indian Sun is not the best book you’ll read—it’s a bit slow in the plot department and the gals have a privileged white perspective in British occupied India that can be frustrating—but the Godden sisters have such an incredible love for the country, it’s hard not to be warmed by their depictions. I’m not sure why I wanted to pick up this book again after so many years—perhaps it’s the cold ...more
Jun 10, 2012 Roberta rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, top-12-2012
I'm always wishing for half stars. I liked this very much. It took me back to my childhood when I loved reading Rumer Godden's books. I must have read The Greengage Summer and Kingfishers Catch Fire several times each. They were up there with Ballet Shoes and the rest of Noel Streatfield's stories but even more exotic and grown up. This memoir ends just as they arrive back in england, which sounds depressingly grey after vivid India.
Carolyn Johnson
Jul 15, 2009 Carolyn Johnson rated it it was amazing
A dreamy book about two girls, Jon and Rumer Godden, during WWI in India, and a little hint of their growing up. I loved this book, and am so happy to see I already have many books written by Rumer! I can plunge right into another one, "Breakfast with the Nikolides."

"Two Under The Indian Sun" takes place in my favorite period, WWI during the Raj. So glad I just read "Women of the Raj," which enlarged my knowledge about the lives of the women and children transplanted into India, while their fath
Sep 19, 2015 Rosemary rated it really liked it
This is a delightful memoir by the English sisters Jon and Rumer Godden (those are their pen names) of five childhood years spent in India with their parents, two more sisters, and a contingent of Indian servants while World War I was being fought in Europe. This golden time tied them to India for the rest of their lives even though they did their higher education in England. They returned to India, where they married other ex patriots; Rumer set up a school for dance; and both wrote novels, wit ...more
Feb 25, 2016 Val rated it it was amazing
Jon and Rumer Godden spent the happiest part of their childhood in India and wrote this delightful collaborative memoir about it. I can imagine the two sisters in old age, sitting in an English cottage, asking each other, 'Do you remember?' and then naming a person or an event or a place, then the other sister replying, 'But of course!' and elaborating on the memory.
Sometimes it is possible to distinguish the hand of the author: surely the richness of the descriptions must be Rumer's, the incisi
Mar 04, 2016 Katrina rated it really liked it
This book is an interesting read and a look back to a time just after India's independence, when people of many different religions managed to live together, and people who would have been travelling third class on trains in England could afford several servants while they lived in India. It's no wonder Jon and Rumer missed India so much when they had to go back to Blighty.
May 27, 2016 Michele rated it really liked it
This is a true story of two young sisters living in British India with their parents. It gives a wonderful description of daily life in the years around the first world war, seen through children's eyes. It is a wandering though memory by the authors. Charming read.
I'm re-reading this interesting book about two young girls who lived parts of their childhood in India. I can really identify with them as I lived parts of my childhood in Okinawa and Japan.
Catherine Sjostedt
Re-read this recently, an interesting glimpse into an Indian sojourn of two little English girls. Read Rumer Godden's books when I was young.
Nov 10, 2014 Allison rated it really liked it
I love Rumer and Jon Godden. Not sure how much appeal this little book would have to a reader unfamiliar with the Godden's life & work.
Jul 08, 2014 Emily rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult
Famous children's author Godden and her sister, Jon reminisce about their India Colony upbringing. A fascinating read about early 20th century India.
Nov 01, 2015 Mia rated it it was amazing
I have stumbled into the Godden universe and am bewitched.
Lori Murray
Jun 29, 2013 Lori Murray rated it it was amazing
I just finished this book. It is a well-written memoir by two sisters, Jon and Rumer Godden. The voice changes back and forth, and once you get accustomed to that, it makes for a unique style which is quite charming. I learned much about India as it was during the early 20th century, particularly from a young English girl's perspective. I hated it to end and immediately ordered another memoir by Rumer Godden. I highly recommend this book if you like coming of age memoirs, travel, and history.
May 21, 2014 Terry rated it it was amazing
Must read for a new generation.
May 14, 2008 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
Rumer Godden, along with her sister Jon, write a memoir of this life as young children in India. I loved Rumer Godden's children's books when I was little. Very girly. I love her style of writing. I always imagined her like one of the fragile grandmothers from her stories. Here she is, as a young wild child in colonial India, with three sisters and the wide world before them. My only complaint with this book is that I wished it would never end.
Dean Snow
Jun 17, 2014 Dean Snow rated it it was amazing
A really sweet, sensitive memoir of growing up in India in the early 20th century. Only autobiography I've read written by two people, but it works really well. They described life on the river beautifully and tell fascinating stories of their own lives and those of their neighbours. But under it all is the undercurrent of growing up, of moving from childhood to adolescence.
Apr 11, 2008 CLM rated it really liked it
"In November 1914 two small sisters, Jon and Rumer Godden, returned to India. They had spent a year in London being 'brought up' by austere aunts, but now the zeppelins were expected, and so they were summoned back to their home in East Bengal. Jon was only seven and a half and Rumer was six."
Sep 28, 2012 Judy rated it really liked it
Charming memoir of two English girls growing up in India during WWI. Definitely days of privilege but an appealing and intimate few of family life with four girls, from the point of view of the two eldest who grow to be professional authors.
Kathryn French
Jul 25, 2014 Kathryn French rated it really liked it
needs 4 1/2 stars. Irritating rating system anyway
Jul 28, 2008 Nancy rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
This wasn't my favorite of Rumer Godden's books, but I pretty much loved all that I read. I grew up with this one and can remember my mom reading it aloud to us in the evenings.
Sep 03, 2007 Dottie rated it really liked it
The Godden sisters telling of their childhood in India from which they both wrote stories. Rumer Godden is one of my all-time favorites.
Avis Black
Mar 12, 2008 Avis Black rated it really liked it
A powerful aesthetic experience. Highly recommended.
Sep 01, 2008 Melliott rated it liked it
Fascinating back story of the Godden sisters.
Mar 30, 2008 Yvonne rated it liked it
A glimpse into a lost world
Apr 14, 2015 Ahana rated it it was amazing
A lovely book...
Linda Chrisman
Aug 29, 2013 Linda Chrisman rated it really liked it
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Winsome Ruth Key Godden was an English novelist who wrote under the name Jon Godden. She is the lesser known sister of author Rumer Godden. Although her work was praised by critics she was not interested in the commercial side of writing as she had a financially stable marriage. She spent most of her life in India; however when her marriage came to an end in 1957, she was forced to move back to fa ...more
More about Jon Godden...

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