I started this book with high hopes, as I love books set in India. The confusing start should probably have been a warning, but it was a book group read so I persevered.
I find that I agree with one of our members, who suggested that there was too much going on for a single book and that it should have been a set of three books, to allow for more detail about the customs and culture.
There are three separate sections, dealing with the three main characters in Devi's life as she grows and ages through the years. Devanna was her childhood friend, an extremely intelligent boy who trains to become the first home-bred doctor in the state of Coorg. Then there is Machu, a strong, handsome youth to whom she is instantly drawn. Machu is Devanna's cousin. Finally we meet Appu, Machu's son, who looks so much like his father but is very different in character.
Spanning from 1878 to 1936, there are numerous births and deaths within the families, and plenty of action, but I got bored, especially when the book started to concentrate on war half way through.
There is one episode, about 25% through, that is so violent and distateful, that I nearly abandoned the book. I can't say what it is for fear of spoilers, but in years to come, when I think of this book, it will be this horrible scene that sticks in my mind. I don't even think it was an essential part of the narrative. My rating dropped by one whole star for this alone.
Our book group was agreed on 3 1/2 stars, but Amazon will not allow split ratings. I certainly wouldn't rate it a 4, in spite of other reviewers' enthusiasm, so 3 stars from me.