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Under the Jewelled Sky

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  600 ratings  ·  112 reviews
London 1957. In a bid to erase her past and build the family she yearns for, Sophie Schofield accepts a wedding proposal from ambitious British diplomat, Lucien Grainger. When he is posted to New Delhi, into the glittering circle of ex-pat high society, old wounds begin to break open as she is confronted with the memory of her first, forbidden love and its devastating cons ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published April 25th 2013 by Orion
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Average rating 3.93  · 
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After reading Under the Jewelled Sky by Alison McQueen, I can't stop myself from quoting Rumi, the Persian poet's remarkable words,

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and right doing there is a field.
I'll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.”

If I've to express the book, Under the Jewelled Sky in few short words, then I would say:
Painful, raw and deeply moving!

All thanks to the author, Alison McQueen, for sending me over the copy of her book
Patrice Hoffman
What could be better than an historical fiction novel set in India during a time when the country was fighting for its independence? I had high hopes for Under the Jeweled Sky. I thought it was the perfect way to learn about the culture and history of India while reading an enchanting love story that features star-crossed lovers. Doesn't that seem like the ideal combination?

Sophie Schofield returns to England to visit her mother. It's obvious from the moment Victoria opens the door that there is
Felicity Gibson
Feb 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Under the Jewelled Sky by Alison Mcqueen ( Read October 2013)

From page one you are drawn into the story with its rhetorical questions standing unanswered. Daughter comes home after many years? There are so many questions. This is the story of Sophie Schofield who goes to India with her parents; her father, a doctor, works for a maharajah. There she finds herself in love with tragic consequences. Ten years later she returns to India as the wife of a Diplomat. The India she lives in is very differ
Mina De Caro (Mina's Bookshelf)
Full review available on MINA'S BOOKSHELF


If you have a soft spot for narratives that draw you in exotic locales, moral codes and social settings of a distant time, then Under The Jeweled Sky by Alison McQueen will enchant you. A star-crossed love story set against the backdrop of the British expat circles during the mid-century political upheaval that tore India, McQueen's novel truly is an epic tale of love and loss: beautifully choreographed and fl
Meg - A Bookish Affair
"Under the Jewelled Sky" is the story of Sophie, an English diplomat's wife, who returns to India, a place that holds a special place in her heart. She has so many memories of India, both good and bad, and she is not sure whether she ever wanted to come back to India in the first place. This story has star-crossed lovers and a fantastic setting to boot set against a fascinating historical background.

I really enjoyed this story. It started out a little bit slowly for me but ended up being really
Jun 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A pair of star-crossed lovers torn apart by their parents and a society who refuse to acknowledge their undying love for one another. As their lives move on separately but always seemingly guiding each other back to one another, they witness tragedies in the extreme, beauty in the simplest of things, and hope in the lowliest of times. They live for the idea that they once again might be together in the India they love and as a family they were always meant to be.

This book has so much going for i
Heather Fineisen
Nov 13, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: net-galley, india
Alison McQueen manages to provide a little romance and a little history without going too far in either direction, and perhaps that's what makes this book a middle of the road read. The story line maintained. And that is enough for some readers. But the history of India is rich with strife and the love affair of forbidden races could really have taken this to something beyond general maintenance. McQueen clearly knows her subject matter and her characters, and this solid historical romance will ...more
Apr 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Originally reviewed at:

Regular readers of the blog might know that it's quite rare when I read and review historical fiction or books with a similar subject matter. I've never really been interested in this genre and on the rare occasion when I did pick up a historical novel, I never seemed to enjoy it as much as I should have. However, there was something about Under the Jewelled Sky (possibly the idea of love and loss and a past better forgotten) which really piqued my curiosity and I deci
Oct 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Under the Jewelled Sky by Alison McQueen is a well written and sumptuously evocative novel about India, where the country is one of the integral characters. Set at the time of Partition and a decade or so later, the writing style is so atmospheric, that it draws the reader back to the mid 1900s, when there was huge political upheaval and huge change, as the British began to take their leave. On occasion the writing mirrors the language of the era, the period of the formal, slightly stilted ‘Quee ...more
Dec 23, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: netgalley
I will preface my review by stating that historical romance is not my preferred genre. When I requested this title, I found it classified under literary fiction.

Sophie Grainger arrives in India in 1957 with her diplomat husband. This is not her first time in the subcontinent since she lived there ten years earlier when her father was a maharaja’s physician. During her first stay in India, she had an unconventional relationship with Jag, the son of an Indian servant, and the repercussions of that
Feb 17, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2014
Under the Jeweled Sky opens in a terrible time in history for India, just before the Partition. Sophie is a teenager and her father moves her and her mother to India to work as a doctor at a palace. Sophie doesn't have a lot to do there but she enjoys wondering around the palace looking at all it has to offer. She is not really allowed into some of the places she goes and when she meets a teen Indian boy, Jag, he shows her all kinds of secret passages.

Sophie and Jag become fast friends but when
Christina (Confessions of a Book Addict)
18 year old Sophie moves to India in 1947 along with her physician father and her perpetually angry mother, Veronica. Sophie's father has accepted a position as personal doctor to the Maharaja, so Sophie is thrusted into the unknown world of India and the Maharaja’s opulent palace. The problem is there isn't much for her to do there. There are no other girls her age, so she finds herself wandering about the palace. While wandering, she meets Jag, who is her age, and the son of a palace servant. ...more
Dec 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

What would you do for love? To what lengths would you travel?

Sophie Schofield, a young British colonialist living with her parents in India after WWII, learns that true love knows no boundaries, even if it is love for a servant boy within the maharaja's palace, for whom she is forbidden to see.

Author Alison McQueen, in epic form, recreates the life of British colonialism in India with a story that is as vast as the country itself.

I was swept away by the l
Blodeuedd Finland
This book takes place in 1947 and 1957. Sophie first comes with her mother and father to India as her father becomes a doctor for a maharajah. It's a small world, her mother suffocates her and she finds a friend and her life is changed. India becomes a country and fast forward to 1957. This time Sophie comes to India with her new husband, it's a different country from what she remembers. Still again she feels suffocated.

What to say about this book, what will I remember from it. Well, it made me
Jan 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love reading novels set in India, especially when it’s filled with rich imagery and a nod to India’s history and culture. Each time I opened up the pages of the beautifully written novel Under the Jeweled Sky by Alison McQueen, I was transported to India during the turbulent 1940s and 1950s.

Sophie has finally returned to India after her marriage to Lucien, an officer in the British Foreign Office. Ten years ago, she lived in a maharajah’s palace when her father was employed as the palace docto
May 21, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful cover on this book!!! I liked the way the story shifted between the present and the past. The author did a good job of creating characters that you liked and others you loathed. The book begins well. The first chapter is intriguing. You want to read more to find out why the mother is so hateful. Much of the middle of the book is just okay....I kept reading because I just kept thinking the next chapter was going to be more interesting. It isn't until the last 80 pages, or so, the story ...more
Dec 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
One of the best books I've read this year, an extended read for my Goodreads Reading Challenge. A bit of Indian history but so well-written in between a forbidden romance between two teenagers, one a British subject and an Indian guy. ...more
Jul 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Sophie Schofield accepts a wedding proposal from Lucien Grainger, an ambitious British diplomat. It is 1957. When he accepts a posting to New Delhi, into the glittering circle of ex-pat high society, old wounds begin to break open as Sophie is confronted with the memory of her first forbidden love and its devastating consequences.

But this is not the India she fell in love with 10 years before when her father George was a physician to the maharaja. This was the India of tigers and scorpions and p
Laronda Blessing
3.5 stars. I enjoyed this tale of star-crossed lovers set in 1940s and 50s England and India (including the partition era). For me, there were beautiful and absorbing passages alternating with such ambiguous flights of poetic imagery that I had a hard time sticking with it for the first half. The last third got a lot better for me. I feel like I was more engaged and there were actual events happening to actual people. I get that Sophie and Jag are young and in love, but I kept getting frustrated ...more
Sylvia Snowe
Feb 13, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Abandoned after twenty pages. Amateurish writing. The author tells you the story, rather than using dialogue and description of inner and outer perceptions of the main characters. Point of view switches between several different characters, so there is no single focus for narration. The descriptions of the palace and the Indian inhabitants were beautiful, but the actual characters were shallow and uninteresting. The sweet daughter with the cold, distant, emotionally distant mother was hard to be ...more
Erin Poll - Tanis
May 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
This book was beautifully written. It told a good story and held my attention throughout. It took me a long time to get through it, not because I didn’t enjoy it, it is just quite long and I found myself without a lot of reading time recently. I was hoping it would explain more about the conditions in India during partition- it did touch in it a bit, more so at the end- I would have been interested to hear more about it as it was leading up to the decision, etc. Not sure how accurate the novels ...more
Kat Ashworth
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Stunning, captivating and touching. The words come together to create a highly visual journey. Thought provoking insight into a historic time and place. McQueen’s ability to conjure empathy hit its height in the final chapters, tying together a joyful and fulfilling ending to a complex tapestry of truth and fiction.
This was beautifully written and provided a snapshot of history during a tumultuous time. It evoked a variety of emotions in me as I read it; the endurance of love, frustration at the constraints of society, hope for the future, disappointment in parents, and the sadness of loss.
Nov 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars.
Such a beautiful book! And I cried my little eyes out in parts...
Marion Aranjo
Aug 15, 2018 rated it liked it
story ok but unnecessarily wordy
Apr 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful read
Renita D'Silva
Aug 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Anne Zerbst
Good story. But would have been better if it had about 100 pages less. It didn't get really good until there was 50 pages left. ...more
Dec 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Book groups, fans of Paul Scott
Recommended to Susan by: NetGalley
My original review follows below, but I just finished a re-read of this most excellent book for my book group meeting next Monday and had to update my review to tell everyone that it is just as good the second time as it was the first time. Ms. McQueen's characterizations are masterful and I enjoyed spending time with the people in this novel again.

I just finished this wonderful novel set in India during the end of the British Raj and the years of upheaval and violence that followed the partitio
Mar 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this novel - an "easy" read - it seemed to be a little more of a "romance" novel than I would normally like, however, for that reason, I actually LOVED IT!!!!! It inspired me to learn more about India post-Britain. May read her other novel!! ...more
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Born in the sixties to an Indian mother and an English jazz musician father, Alison McQueen grew up in London and worked in advertising for 25 years before retiring to write full time.

Her acclaimed 2012 epic novel, The Secret Children, was inspired by her own family history, and has been translated into several foreign languages. Alison’s latest novel, Under The Jewelled Sky, winner of the presti

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