Inspired by India


India is one of the oldest civilisations in the world and has a patchwork of diverse regions with their own customs and eco-systems from the tropical heat of the south to the colder north.

The country consisted of various kingdoms, often weakened by frequents conflict, which made them vulnerable to European influence and conquest. The East India Company gained a foothold in 1600 and eventually took control of a number or provinces.

After the Indian Rebellion of 1857, the East India Company was transferred to the Crown and Queen Victoria was proclaimed Empress of India in 1876. India remained under British rule until it gained independence in 1947 but not before millions of lives were lost in the disastrous Partition which led to the creation of Pakistan.

The british Raj



Selected as one of the greatest works in English literature, A Passage to India was published in 1924 and is set during the time of the British Raj and the Indian independence movement.

The story centres around an alleged assault by a young Indian Muslim physician, Dr. Aziz, against Adela, a young British schoolmistress. The subsequent trial increases racial tensions, however Cyril Fielding, the headmaster of an Indian college, believes Aziz is innocent.

When the case is dismissed, Fielding angers Aziz when he provides Adela with a place to stay while she arranges her return to England. Aziz sees this as a betrayal and vows never to trust a white man again.



Published in 1978, The Far Pavilions tells the story of Ashton Pelham-Martyn, an English officer during the British Raj, and his love for Anjuli, an Indian princess.

When Ash is orphaned at a young age, he is adopted by Sita, his Indian ayah, who raises him as her own son. Ash gets a job as a servant for Lalji, the young crown prince of Gulkote, and befriend his lonely sister, Anjuli. While there Ash uncovers a plot to murder Lalji and has to flee the palace for his own safety.

When a dying Sita reveals Ash’s true parentage, he is sent to England to be educated and returns to India as an officer. When Ash is given the job of escorting a royal wedding party, he discovers Anjuli is one of the brides but complications ensue when the pair fall in love.



Kim was first serialised in magazines before being published as a book in 1901. The story is set in the 19th century and focuses on Kimball O’Hara, a young orphan who lives as a beggar on the streets of Lahore.

When Kim accompanies a Tibetan lama on a quest to find the mythical River of the Arrow, he encounters his father’s old regiment and sneaks into camp. When he is captured, a chaplain recognises the necklace Kim is wearing and he is sent to school in Lucknow. Due to his ability to blend into Indian society, Kim is also trained as a spy and eventually joins the Secret Service. Kim is reunited with his lama and after a series of adventures, they resume their search for the River of the Arrow.



The Jewel in the Crown was published in 1968 and is the first in a series of four books known as The Raj Quartet.

Daphne Manners, a young Englishwoman, arrives in India to live with her aunt and falls in love with an Indian man who raised and educated in England. When Daphne and Hari are spotted making love in the Bibighar Gardens by a group of rioters, Hari is beaten and Daphne gang-raped. Knowing Hari will be blamed, Daphne makes him promise to tell no one he was there.

The tragic consequences are loosely continued in The Day of the Scorpion, The Towers of Silence and A Division of the Spoils.



Zemindar was published in 1981 and is set in nineteenth century India before and during the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857.

Laura Hewitt, a young Englishwoman, reluctantly travels to India with her newly married cousin, Emily, as her female companion. However, things are complicated as Laura fell in love with Emily’s husband Charles Flood before he turned his attentions to Emily.

Laura and the Floods travel to Lucknow where Charles’ older half-brother, Oliver Erskine, has an estate. Laura finds Oliver aloof and arrogant but when a mutiny breaks out amongst the sepoys he takes charge as they flee for their lives.


Abir Mukherjee

The Sam Wyndham series is a five-part historical crime series set in Calcutta in the 1920s. Captain Sam Wyndham, a former Scotland Yard detective and veteran of the Great War, arrives in India looking for a new start.

The series follows Wyndham as he navigates the dark side of Calcutta during a time when the British hold on India is starting to wane and the independent movement is growing.

As well as solving crimes, Wyndham finds himself caught up in the political turmoil. The book is related from Wyndham’s point of view but his sidekick Sergeant Banerjee has more of a voice as the series continues which gives a dual perspective of the events.


Sujata Massey

The series is set in Bombay during the 1920s and focuses on Perveen Mistry, who has just joined her father’s law firm and become of the first female lawyers in India, Perveen is particularly interested in championing women’s right.

In the first book in the series, The Widows of Malabar Hill, Perveen gets involved with the will of a wealthy Muslim mill owner whose three widows have signed away their inheritances to a charity. Perveen is deeply suspicious as this will leave the widows nothing to live on.

There are currently four books in the series: The Widows of Malabar Hill, The Satapur Moonstone, The Bombay Prince and The Mistress of Bhatia House.



Teatime for the Firefly is set in the 1940 just before India gains independence from the British.

Layla Roy falls in love with Manik Deb, a recent Oxford graduate, but he is engaged to be married to the daughter of a wealthy socialite. However, that engagement comes to an end when Manik takes a managerial position on a remote tea plantation which forbids him from marrying for three years.

After those three years are over, Layla and Manik marry and they settle on the plantation where the politics of the region soon overwhelm them.



Khushwant Singh

Published in 1956, Train to Pakistan recounts the story of the 1947 Partition through the eyes of the villagers of a fictional border town called Mano Majra.

Mano Majra is a village consisting mainly of Muslims and Sikhs co-existing peacefully but that changes when India gains independence from the British. As part of the dissolution of the British Raj, the country of Pakistan was created for Muslims.

Since Mano Majra falls on the Indian side of the border, the Muslims are required to move across to Pakistan even though they have lived all their lives in the village.

When a group of agitators arrive in the village, they incite hatred amongst Sikhs against the Muslims and plan to attack the train that is taking them to Pakistan.


Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Independence is about three sisters who live in a rural village of Bengal where their father is the local doctor.

The story begins about two years before the end of British rule, when the sisters are each pursing their dreams. Priya wants to be a doctor like her father but female doctors are still frowned upon, while her sister, Deepa, has fallen in love with a Muslim man. The same man her sister, Jamini, a talented quilt maker, has set her sights on.

When their father is killed in riot, the sisters are soon caught up in the turmoil besetting the whole country as once peaceful villages are ripped asunder by religious divisions. The sisters are also driven apart as their lives take them down separate paths and fear their family will not survive.


Amit Majmudar

First published In 2011, Partitions was Majmudar’s debut novel and it tells the story of how four people are affected by the Partition in 1947.

Shankar and Keshav, twin Hindu boys, lose their mother at the train station and wander through the city searching for her. A young Sikh girl, Simran, is the only member of her family to survive when a Muslim mob attacks her home. Ibrahim, an elderly Muslim doctor, loses his clinic when a Hindu mob burns it down and walks to Pakistan where he cares for the sick and wounded in the camps.

The four of them eventually find each other and Ibrahim takes care of the twins and Simran.


Veera Hiranandani

The Night Diary is a children’s novel about a young girl, Nisha, who is half-Hindu and half-Muslim.

After the Partition divides part of her country, twelve year old Nisha is unsure where she belongs as India is for the Hindus and Pakistan for the Muslims. However, Nisha’s father decides living in Pakistan is too dangerous and it is time for his family to live somewhere else.

Nisha’s family embark on a dangerous journey to find a new home and she narrates their story through the format of letters to the mother who died when she was a baby.

Historical Romance



Viva Hollowat is hired two chaperone three young people to India for a wedding but she has an agenda of her own as India is to be a fresh start for her and an escape from her dark past.

Rose, the young bride, is heading to India to marry a man she barely knows and is nervous she has made a terrible mistake, Victoria, her bridesmaid, is determined to land a husband for herself as her martial prospects have been non-existent in England. The third is Guy Glover, a disturbed young man who casts a long and malevolent shadow over them all.

Viva’s life continues to entwine with her young charges as they all try to find their true place in the stifling Indian heat.



Eliza Fraser, a young photojournalist, is sent to the princely state of Rajputana by the British Government to photograph the royal family over the course of a year.

Eliza finds it hard being back in India for the first time in eighteen years after the death of her father but she is soon caught up in the intrigue at the palace. It quickly becomes apparent that not everyone is happy with her presence but Eliza determined to stick it out.

Things change when Eliza meets Prince Jayant Singh who takes her to see the poverty-stricken villages. The longer Eliza spends with Jay, the more she realises she is falling in love.



Isobel and Violet receive a unexpected inheritance which sends them on an unforgettable voyage of discovery to the jungles of India. With only their widowed Aunt Bea to guide them, the sisters struggle through sickness in this strange new world.

Violet is determined to marry well so she can return to England but Isobel falls under the spell of beautiful land and its people. As their past life fades to a distant memory, Isobel sets out on a path few English ladies have ever gone – one of independence and freedom.



When American historian, Martin Mitchell, wins a Fulbright Fellowship to document the end of British rule in India, his wife, Evie, convinces him to take her along in a bid to save their strained marriage.

Martin and Evie are stranded in a colonial bungalow in the Himalayas when violence between Hindus and Muslims breaks out during partition. In that house, Evie discovers a packet of old letters, which tell a compelling story of love and war involving two young Englishwomen who lived in the same house in 1857.

Evie embarks on a mission to piece together her Victorian mystery and her search leads her through the bazaars and temples of India, and the dying days of the British Raj. Along the way, Martin’s dark secret is exposed, unleashing a new wedge between Evie and him.



Newlywed Nerys Watkins leaves rural Wales for the first time in her life, to accompany her husband on a missionary posting to India. In the heart of Kashmir, the British live on carved wooden houseboats and dance, flirt and gossip as if there is no war. But the battles draw ever closer, and life in Srinagar becomes less frivolous when the men are sent away to fight.

Nerys is caught up in a dangerous friendship, and by the time she is reunited with her husband, the innocent Welsh bride has become a different woman. Years later, when Mair Ellis clears out her father’s house, she finds an exquisite antique shawl, woven from the finest yarns and embroidered in the shades of lake water and mountain skies. Wrapped within its folds is a lock of child’s hair. Tracing her grandparents’ roots back to Kashmir, Mair embarks on a quest that will change her life forever.