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East of the Sun

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  7,359 ratings  ·  839 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.

Paperback, 458 pages
Published June 2008 by Orion (first published December 2007)
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Average rating 3.69  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,359 ratings  ·  839 reviews

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Aug 25, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
May 27, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-reads
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
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
Gwyneth Stewart
Jun 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
May 07, 2012 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
May 11, 2010 rated it it was ok
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
Stacey Peters
Apr 23, 2010 rated it liked it
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
Christine PNW
May 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Much more successful than my last book! I enjoyed this historical fiction tale set during the British Raj - books set in this time period are a guilty pleasure of mine. It doesn't match the awesomeness of M.M. Kaye, one of my favorite authors, but this book is in the same general area as Shadow of the Moon, which is one of my favorite books of all time. If you're into sweeping epics set during tumultuous periods about likeable characters, give it a go. ...more
Jul 09, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lisa by: Erin

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
H. V.
May 12, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Robyn Hawk
Jul 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviews

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
Tema Merback
Apr 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
3.5 stars (rounding down)

This is the story of 3 British young ladies in the late 1920's as they travel and live in India. Rose is going to marry a british soldier in the Indian cavalry. Tor is her best friend and bridesmad, who is also hoping to find a husband to escape her mother and Viva, slightly order, who has been hired as their chaperone. Viva was born in India but when family tragedy struck she was sent back to England for boarding school. She has fond memories of her early life in India
Jane Withers
Nov 28, 2019 rated it it was ok
2.5 ... sweet . Like a chick-lit set in 1928, not my usual cup of tea but I did enjoy it and it was an easy read . I did like the descriptions of India . If you like a predictable end then this is for you . As an aside it actually goes nowhere and not fast as it’s quite a chunky book .
Feb 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Robyn Hawk
Jul 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviews

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
Mar 11, 2015 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: historical fiction fans
A solid 3.5 for me. I actually have this in ebook & paperback form, apparently I was so drawn to the story I had to buy it twice. I'm on a bit of a British Colonialism in India jag at the moment (after finally getting to watch The Jewel in The Crown this summer & now highly anticipating Indian Summers soon to air on Masterpiece)so I dove right into this. I was satisfied enough with the story of Viva, the chaperone of Rose, Tor and the odd end of the story Guy (so odd an end, that he's not even m ...more
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
May 02, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: review-gr
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 constructiv
Nov 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: richard-and-judy
It has been a long time since I enjoyed such an intriguing story that includes women ... and only women! Their journey in India, and the way of of them venture into the unknown, the unexpected, and the suspense behind each of their story ... added such an amazing flavor to this book.

I wouldn't say that it had a waw factor to it, but I would recommend this book for inspiration, for courage, and for the insightful meaning that it brings out.
Jul 10, 2013 rated it liked it
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 Eker
Jan 23, 2009 rated it liked it
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.
Dinah Jefferies
Great book. Fabulous author. An inspiration to me, and partly because of this book, I began writing myself. Read it six years ago, so can't go in to detail here. If you haven't read it, you're in for a treat. ...more
Rating Clarification: 2.5 Stars

Somewhat sophmoric and vulgar in places, but it was smooth reading and had some interesting lines.

Gregson is NO M.M. Kaye, though :D
Mar 14, 2018 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommendation on IG by @territalksbooks - 3/14/2018
Jun 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is a 456 page gem.

A lot of the reviews for this story are not good and I was worried about reading it, but that being said - I enjoyed it! It reminded me a lot of Penny Vincenzi's way of writing character driven stories. Many of the characters had me intrigued from the first fifty pages. I was pretty much like: does Rose end up marrying Jack? does Tor finally get "seized"? does creepy Guy kill himself...or someone else? does Viva write about it all? And that's before I got excited abo
May 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
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
Abigail Hanna
Jun 02, 2020 rated it it was ok
Gonna be honest, I didn't finish this. I got to 100 pages and still didn't really care about the plot or the characters so I'm giving up as I have other things I'd prefer to read. It's not badly written just not my cup of tea personally, I mainly picked it up because it had a pretty cover. ...more
May 01, 2020 rated it did not like it
Biggest plot line just fizzled out and disappeared. Fortunately the girls all found men to save them.
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Play Book Tag: East of the Sun/Julia Gregsom - 3.5 stars 3 14 Feb 09, 2018 04:08PM  

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My father was in the Air Force, so after thirteen schools I left early longing to travel and have adventures. I worked as a jillaroo in the Australian outback, a girl groom, a shearer’s cook, a secretary, a hospital cleaner, and later, back in England, as a house model for Hardy Amies in London.

In the seventies, and back in Australia again, love of horses led to riding out with Mick Jagger on the

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