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The Kashmir Shawl

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  6,818 Ratings  ·  696 Reviews
By the time she is reunited with her husband, she is a very different woman.

Years later, Nerys’s granddaughter Mair Ellis clears out her dead father’s house and finds an exquisite shawl. Wrapped in its folds is a lock of a child’s curly hair. With nothing else to go on, Mair decides to trace her grandparents’ roots back to Kashmir, embarking on a quest thatwill change her
ebook, 480 pages
Published January 10th 2013 by The Overlook Press (first published January 1st 2011)
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Apr 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: vine, ew-am-bk-grp-1, 2012
An historic saga set in Kashmir.

It took me a little while to get into this book at first. Some of the descriptions were a bit dense and the swapping of time scales caused some initial confusion. However, once I had become familiar with the characters they started to feel like friends, particularly those from the 1940's time frame.

The central 'character' is a very valuable, finely woven and intricately embroidered Kashmiri shawl, found by Mair while clearing out her parents' posessions after her
Dec 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I do admire authors who have researched their books well and give a true flavour of places they write about.
This book has two main storylines in it: the modern heroine Mair's adventures in India as she unravels the story of her grandmother, and that of Nerys, the grandmother, a missionary's wife who lived in Kashmir before the war and Independence.
I read the book while on holiday in Sydney visiting our daughter. On the day I finished it, my husband got talking to a lady running a stall in a sh
Kerry Hennigan
Rosie Thomas’ latest novel, The Kashmir Shawl, is a book I wanted and expected to like very much. The story of a woman who explores the unknown history of her late grandmother with the aid of a precious Kashmir shawl promised to be intriguing, with plenty of exotic locations and interesting characters. The locations include Wales, Ladakh and Kashmir, plus a few other places along the way.

We start out following Mair on her journey of discovery, but in fact, the lengthy flashback chapters that co
Sep 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I think it’s only fair to declare myself as a massive fan of everything Rosie Thomas has ever written. And that my favourite stories are always those with a dual time frame. And that I have a bit of a “thing” about India at the moment. But even if none of those qualifications applied, this book was a really wonderful read. Dual time frame at its best – strong modern heroine in Mair, even better historical one in Nerys the newly-wed missionary’s wife and Mair’s grandmother. The premise of the sto
Helen Strobridge
A wonderfully atmospheric book that I just couldn't put down, telling two parallel stories of a group of British women living in Kashmir during WWII, and the modern day re-tracing of their lives by one of their grand-daughters. I am not always a fan of books set in two time periods, but in this case it was done very well, with the bulk of the book set in the 1940s and long sections of the story told before each swap to the other narrative. The stunning descriptions of the landscape and the lifes ...more
Aug 05, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

The first chapter is a struggle and you'll have to turn pages to get past it with a yawn but when you get to 1940s India the novel takes off.

Wonderful descriptions and upper and middle class people we can engage with - if stereotyped - and you really get a feel for life on the lake in that time. Gripping and atmospheric and something to learn.

But then you go back to the present... All we want to do is get back to the past.

You might just skim through this and read about the 1940s...

Book Concierge

When her father dies, Mair discovers an exquisite shawl among her parents’ belongings. Neither Mair nor her siblings have ever seen the shawl and can’t imagine what it means. But they remember that their maternal grandparents had been missionaries in northern India and surmise it was brought back by their grandmother. Even more intriguing they find a lock of a child’s hair wrapped in the shawl. Mair decides to go to Kashmir to try to find the origins of this work and how her grandparents m
Lynda Hunter
I loved this book. I read it as past of a Book Club read and others in my group found it a bit tedious and slow. I didn't find that at all. In fact that was one of the things I really liked about it. I felt I was on a journey to Kashmir myself and enjoyed all the little "asides" which helped me to see it all so clearly in my mind. I have always wanted to go to India and probably now will never get the opportunity so it really had a special pull for me. I also love fiction which actually also tea ...more
Dinah Jefferies
I absolutely loved this book. I read it last year so my memory is a little rusty, but what I remember most is the fact that it was written in two time periods. Both worked well: both were engaging, though I found the earlier period absolutely entrancing. The descriptions were fabulous, and brought the settings vividly to life, and the two stories coincided neatly at the end. An absorbing read.
 Barb Bailey
Jun 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was well written and kept my interest even though it was a long story. The characters were well developed. I like books where I learn something new and I learned a lot about wool , dying and weaving wool and grading wool. I love textiles and did not know anything about Kashmir Shawls , their value or how they were used for dowries. Most of the cities and towns and mountains were well described and sometimes almost made me want to visit India.

Maureen Timerman
Jan 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
What a story Rosie Thomas was written, she had me walking with the Characters through the streets in India. I could almost smell the goats, as was described. We experience the life with the Raj, and the slums.
The story begins with the death of her father, Mair finds a beautiful Kashmir Shawl among the belongings. She also finds an old envelope with some hair stored in it. Thus begins her quest for answers, and her trip to India.
There are actually two stories told here, some of it we know but Ma
Apr 22, 2017 marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
So. Damn. Bored.

Deborah Pawley
Moving, evocative and raw. Rosie Thomas has created a sweeping epic that captures the true beauty of a country that has sadly been ripped apart and disseminated by hatred and division in more recent times. In order to capture the very essence of her novel's geography Thomas actually travelled extensively throughout the area collating her research and truly experiencing the things that create the history of her story - the landscapes, the smells, the rich past and present of the Kashmiri people; ...more
May 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is an unbelievable authenticity about this book as the story and the description of the life in Kashmir in the 1940s unfolds.It might pass off as total imagination to non-Kashmiris and to someone who has not lived in the valley for a good period of time.Totally out of a picture.
The story is brilliant and captures one's curiosity.The sinusoidal pattern of Nerys' story in 1940s and Mair's quest in the present day is beautifully presented.The vivid description of the backdrop and the sounds a
Mar 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved this book. I thought it would simply be an easy read, a bit of historical past-present chick-lit if you will, but it was so much more than that.
Mair's father has recently died, and in clearing out the family home with her brother and sister, she finds a beautiful hand-made Kashmir decorative pashmina shawl that belonged to her maternal grandmother, Nerys, who spent the years around WWII in Kashmir, as a missionary's wife, with the British Raj gradually disintegrating.
Nov 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Brilliant! The Kashmir Shawl tells the story of three British women living in Srinagar, Kashmir during the second world war. The author has researched minutely both the history and the environment, yet unlike some novels, though integral, this never inhibits the characters or overwhelms the story. The characters are fully rounded and believable, the reader is seemingly effortlessly transported to the paradise that was Srinagar. But as well as the story of Nerys, Myrtle,Carline and Nerys' grand-d ...more
May 11, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Finished this book last night. I'd really been looking forward to reading this for my book club's read this month as its been nominated before and I've heard a lot of praise for it, plus it's rating on Goodreads is quite high. Sadly though, I think I might have missed something!

The first couple of chapters were really laborious. I wasn't connecting or engaging with any of the characters. It starts off in Wales, and intertwines with Kashmir. I lived in Wales for a few years and I'm of Kashmiri he
Feb 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Kashmir Shawl
Rosie Thomas

Two women travel the same road but in different time periods in search of their own identity. Mair begins her journey when her father passes away and within his effects she finds a shawl made of Kashmir. The intricate weaving and the story told within the tattered folds of this woven shawl create a tapestry within it that holds a story about the past. As she tries to read his piece and understand each design in the hope of learning more about her grandmother and her
3.5 The author is a great storyteller. Mair Ellis finds a Kashmir shawl and a lock of hair amongst her grandparents' affects. She decides to go to India to follow the trail of these items to see what she can learn about her Grandmother, Nerys Watkins. Nerys had gone with her missionary husband to India just before WWII but no one knew her story. Her story is a fascinating one about love, friendship and magical places.
Jan 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Kashmir Shawl by Rosie Thomas
I loved this book. The writing is gorgeous. I found myself rereading passages to savor the words. That is, until I got caught up in the story! Now I am planning to reread the book so I can appreciate the writing skill that is so evident.
The characters are real. The conversations are real. The situations the characters find themselves in are real. The only flaw (if it is a flaw) is that all of the ends are tied up so neatly – especially Farida and Zahra – that on
Sep 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british-author
I’ve read a few of Rosie Thomas’ books and always enjoyed them. When I heard that her new book had some Welsh involvement I was pretty confidant that I’d enjoy this one too and I was right.

There are two key plot lines within the book, there is the story of Mair who is trying to trace her grandparents’ story and discover where this beautiful shawl came from, and there is the story of her grandparents, Nerys and Evan Watkins, and their time in India as missionaries. The narrative moves back and fo
Jan 06, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Kashmir Shawl is an intricately woven story much like the eponymous garment. The threads of stories set in different times and locations, the texture and craftsmanship of storytelling make for a mesmerising broad canvas story. The highlights of the book include the manner in which the author skilfully skims from modern day Wales and Kashmir to colonial India of 1940s without missing a beat.

After Mair's father dies, she finds a beautiful Kashmiri shawl and a lock of hair tucked away in their
Feb 08, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Two different stories about two women, a grandmother and one of her granddaughters.
The book starts in the present when the granddaughter, after her father's death, finds an exceptionally beautiful scarf, that once belonged to her grandmother. Not knowing the origin of the scarf other than from India, nor recognizing two of the three ladies on her grandmother's photograph plus her questions about the origin of a lock of hair, Mair decides to travel to India to find out about her grandmother's lif
Roxanne Cole
Jan 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is really, really good; one of the best I have read. It is follows the story of a shawl picked up in Kashmir by the wife of a Welsh missionary during the second world war. The second story line is that of her granddaughter who never knew her travelling to Kashmir after the death of her father to find out more and to get away from things because financially she is able to. It is incredibly addictive and the way that the stories are joined together and the connections between the charact ...more
Jun 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Starting with the discovery of a Kashmir shawl in her childhood home in Wales, Mair embarks on a journey to discover the past of her late grandmother, Nerys to learn about hidden family secrets, and solving a puzzle that had become stagnant in time. Spaning decades and international boundries, this tsory flows through the fun filled Raj days in India, the war crisis in 1945 and post war changes in lives of people who were at home away from home, the missionaries and Raj employees in India. This ...more
Aug 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An amazing book, takes a while to get into, with a long complicated plot, and two narrators, Mair Ellis and her grandmother, Nerys Watkins. Mair has been clearing her father's house, following his death and finds a beautiful antique shawl, with a lock of child's hair.

A mystery unfolds, as Mair travels to India, to trace her grandparents' roots. Along the way the story gradually unfolds, this is a very emotional journey, for Mair herself and the story of her grandmother and several of her close
Jul 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great story! The timeline moved between war torn India and present day Wales and India. While clearing out her parents' home after her father's death, Mair (rhymes with fire) Ellis finds a beautiful woven shawl and, wrapped within it, a lock of hair. She knows it came from India from her grandmother whose husband was a missionary there during the war. She decides to travel to India to see if she can find out where the shawl came from and whose lock of hair is with it.

The biggest part of the book
Read for a book club, this was a fine book with a great setting and I liked it, but didn't love it. It took a long time to get going, there was so much foreshadowing that I wasn't much surprised by any of the reveals, and there was a long winding up section at the end. That said, the premise was interesting, where a modern Welsh girl finds a mysterious shawl belonging to her long-deceased grandmother while cleaning out her recently deceased father's home. As she begins to trace the provenance of ...more
Jun 17, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
It was OK. I didn't hate it but it was disappointing. I do enjoy a light romance or mystery every now and again, especially one with an interesting historical setting and I imagine that's what prompted me to pick this book up (it's been in my to-be-read folder for so long I can't remember buying it - maybe a daily deal?). This book fits the category of a romance where the author has done a lot of research about a particular place or historical way of life (Kashmir, shawl-making) to provide the b ...more
Jo Barton
I wanted to really like this one as Rosie Thomas is one of my favourite authors, but I was strangely under whelmed by this story of the quest to find the secret behind the beautiful Kashmir shawl which Mair finds hidden amongst her late grandmother's possessions. The search for the truth behind the shawl takes Mair back in time to the India of the 1940's, where a story of an illicit love affair is centred around the dying embers of the British Raj.

I thought that the historical aspect of the stor
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Reading Buddy Style: January 2015: The Kashmir Shawl 1 4 Dec 14, 2014 08:30PM  
Ignore the book name above please. 2 19 Nov 24, 2014 06:01AM  
Goodreads Librari...: 1 book / 2 translations apart 5 44 Mar 29, 2013 06:17AM  
Ravelry Knitters: July 2012 Group Read - The Kashmir Shawl 24 138 Aug 27, 2012 12:05PM  
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Janey King, née Morris was born on 1947 in Denbigh, Wales, and also grew up in North Wales. She read English at Oxford, and after a spell in journalism and publishing began writing fiction after the birth of her first child. Published since 1982 as Rosie Thomas, she has written fourteen best-selling novels, deal with the common themes of love and loss. She is one of only a few authors to have won ...more
More about Rosie Thomas...
“Mair sat down on the bed. The ancient pink electric blanket was still stretched from corner to corner, and she thought of the weeks of her father’s last illness when she had come home to the valley to nurse him, as best she could, and to keep him company. They had enjoyed long, rambling conversations about the past and the people her father had once known.” 0 likes
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