Read before the rains by Dinah Jefferies Online


A romantic, heart-wrenching tale of love against the odds from the Number One Sunday Times bestselling author 1930, Rajputana, India. Since her husband's death, 28-year-old photojournalist Eliza's only companion has been her camera. When the British Government send her to an Indian princely state to photograph the royal family, she's determined to make a name for herself.A romantic, heart-wrenching tale of love against the odds from the Number One Sunday Times bestselling author1930, Rajputana, India. Since her husband's death, 28-year-old photojournalist Eliza's only companion has been her camera. When the British Government send her to an Indian princely state to photograph the royal family, she's determined to make a name for herself.But when Eliza arrives at the palace she meets Jay, the Prince's handsome, brooding brother. While Eliza awakens Jay to the poverty of his people, he awakens her to the injustices of British rule. Soon Jay and Eliza find they have more in common than they think. But their families - and society - think otherwise. Eventually they will have to make a choice between doing what's expected, or following their hearts. . ....

Title : before the rains
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 30900820
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 400 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

before the rains Reviews

  • Brenda
    2018-10-09 01:30

    When Eliza Fraser was only eleven years old she witnessed her father’s death in Delhi – eighteen years later she was back in India for the first time since fleeing the country back to England with her mother. Eliza was a photojournalist and she was determined to make a name for herself. When old family friend and member of the British Government, Clifford Salter organised for Eliza to travel to Rajputana in India to spend a year at the castle to photograph the royal family, she was nervous but excited.The castle which was to be her home for the following twelve months was filled with people – concubines, eunuchs, royals; Prince Anish and his wife were quite obviously not happy Eliza was there, as were others. But when Eliza met Prince Jayant Singh, Anish’s brother, she found a different man entirely. As Jay accompanied Eliza in many of her photographic ventures across the countryside, she was shocked and horrified at the abject poverty of the little villages. Gradually, Eliza could see there were problems in the country from the British; but common to it all was the poverty. Her photography showed it in stark detail. Would it be possible to do anything to help the country’s people? Or would she be looked upon as an interfering white Englishwoman who most certainly didn’t belong? And what about the feelings which were building between Jay and Eliza? She knew nothing could come of it – she a white commoner; he an Indian prince…Before the Rains was another excellent historical fiction novel by Dinah Jefferies. Set in 1930 and filled with emotion – love, happiness, grief, heartache and hope – the stark descriptions of the countryside and its people was vivid. I thoroughly enjoy this author’s work and once again, she didn’t disappoint. Highly recommended.With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my copy to read and review.

  • Levi
    2018-09-23 03:02

    I am so happy this book was finally here ! I have waited forever ! The book was beautiful and typical of Dinah Jeffries style of writing , so pretty and I felt as though I was there with the characters. I've never read any fiction novel by any author that manages to create a world where you can smell the flowers she describes and see the vivid colours of the clothing etc - it's just amazing I love this author ! Please please write another !

  • Yukino
    2018-10-17 23:08

    L'ho trovato in biblioteca nelle novità..e non ho resistito. Nonostante ho altri milioni di libri da leggere (tanto per cambiare XD) l'ho preso, anche perché era da questa estate che volevo leggerlo. Praticamente era sotto ogni ombrellone.Adesso ce l'ho fatta. L'ho letto anche io.Libro molto bello per descrizioni vivissime e trama intrigante. Curato e ben fatto. Si entra proprio nella vera India, con i suoi colori, profumi e soprattutto con le sue tradizioni. Bello davvero. Brava anche lei a introdurci in questo momento storico in cui aleggiano cambiamenti. Dove Principi e popolazione sono stanchi dell'oppressione dell'Inghilterra. Di questo relegarli ai margini della società nonostante siano loro l'India. Il disprezzo reciproco è lampante e gli intrighi e giochetti per il potere osno all'ordine del giorno. Si accenna anche a Gandhi, e al suo movimento. Insomma un libro che ritrae perfettamente uno spaccato storico interessante. Tanto che pur non attraendomi molto come mondo, l'autrice è riuscita a catturare la mia attenzione e farmi innamorare di questi paesaggi spettacolari. A cercare anche di scoprire e di capire di più questo continente con alle spalle una storia ricca di tradizone. Ho adorato Jay dalla prima all'ultima riga. Mentre la protagonista Eliza non l'ho retta. Troppo ingenua. Mi ha davvero irritato in alcuni momenti. L'avrei voluta prendere a schiaffi. Solo dopo la seconda metà del libro, ho iniziato a provare simpatia per lei. Ma proprio poca cosa. Non mi è andata proprio giù. E mi ha rovinato un pò il libro.La Jefferies mi è piaciuta perchè mentre le sue immagini sono forti e vivide, è molto delicata con le emozioni, e con la storia. Personalmente preferisco essere devastata dalle emozioni, e coinvolta dalla storia. Invece scorre tutto con semplicità. Molto pevedibile. Anche se alla fine mi ha preso così tanto da divorare le ultime 150 pagine in una sera. Questo libro mi è piaciuto nonostante abbia alti e bassi, e nononstante Eliza. E' stato una boccata di aria fresca, che mi ha fatti anche riflettere e intravedere un paese di cui non conoscevo quasi nulla. Metto tre stelle, non perchè non mi sia piaciuto, ma perchè avrei voluto maggior coinvogimento emotivo. In questo momento ho bisogno di emozioni che mi sconvolgono l'anima. Questo libro più che sconvolgere, tocca delicatamente il cuore, avvolgendolo con il suo amore. In ogni caso ne consiglio la lettura. Probabilmente a voi piacerà di più ^^

  • Laura
    2018-09-22 05:30

    This was a wonderfully told story for which the author has come to be known for - ravishing love stories set against a backdrop of yesteryear India. Although this novel is more politically based than her previous books, I still enjoyed it and thought the character of Eliza was inspired.The descriptions of India are what the author is really very talented at. The country really comes alive through her writing and makes the reader feel immersed in the culture. By contrast, the book is set both in the confines of the palace walls and features life on the bustling streets. I can only await the authors fifth book with baited breath!

  • Thebooktrail
    2018-09-28 03:24

    Stunning!Visit the locations in the novel here - Before The RainsAs well as a story which weaves its way in and out of every page, the colour of India and the customs there, the traditions, belief system set at the time of the British rule and the building of the administration in Delhi is quite something. The background to British rule is carefully evoked to showcase the country at that time, the effect on its people and the consequences which followed. Oh but it's the wonderful colour of the book in its entirety which shines and shimmers with spice - festivals are celebrated, the meaning of tradition explained and the beauty of India shines through. I was entranced and I feel totally transported by the words and the intrigue of the story. WOW.Full review to follow but put this book at the top of your 2017 TBR pile. It deserves a special place indeed.

  • Renita D'Silva
    2018-10-08 05:21

    Beautiful, poignant, evocative. Loved it.

  • Emma
    2018-09-29 03:18

    I have been a fan of Dinah Jefferies ever since I read 'The Separation' a couple of years ago, she has become an author I can rely on to completely transport me to another country, another time period and immerse me in a great story. 'Before the Rains' is no exception and my adventure this time took place in a sultry, colourful India of 1930.The story follows Eliza Fraser, young widow and budding photographer. This is a lady way ahead of her time, she's head strong, career driven and not afraid to stand up for herself amongst the Indian royalty she is sent to capture with her camera. I have to admire Eliza, she is totally out of her comfort zone in the royal palace and in India but she doesn't let that stop her photographing what she wants and going to the places she wants. And of course there is the dashing Prince Jay and forbidden love soon rears its head. There are two things I love about Dinah Jefferies' books. The first is that I always learn something, her books always feature a fascinating event in history. For me in 'Before the Rains' this was the Indian culture of widow-burning or sati as it is known. This horrific, barbaric and frankly blood chilling tradition sees widows throwing themselves onto funeral pyres or in some cases being forced into the fires because it's believed that widows are bad luck and they are a failure as a wife if their husband dies first. Cue some frantic Googling on my part! This is also very significant to Eliza's story because she of course is a widow. The second thing I love is the wonderfully descriptive writing. I was walking round the palace and feeling the searing heat of the Indian sun on my skin, whilst listening to the rain outside my living room. The sounds, scents and sights of India come alive in 'Before The Rains' whether it be the scent of jasmine in the air or the colourful powder throwing Holi celebrations, you experience it all. I thoroughly enjoyed 'Before The Rains' as I knew I would and I recommend Dinah Jefferies to anyone who wants great story telling and an escape from the trudge of daily life.

  • Alba
    2018-09-26 22:07

    Originally posted on: Dinah Jefferies is one of my favourite historical fiction authors. Her stories are always so rich in detail and so interesting and thanks to her I always discover so much. With Before the Rains she takes us to India in the twenties. With her generous and mesmerising descriptions, it's easy to picture that era, with its rich royal families contrasting with the extreme poverty of its people. The story focuses on Eliza, a British photographer who is assigned by the British government to spend a year photographing one of the royal families for their archives. Eliza though is not new to India, she spent her childhood there until her father's death. So as soon as she arrives there, she instantly feels a connection to that land and tries to understand the people and its customs and traditions. Some of them are completely shocking and impossible to understand but it's difficult for her (and for us) not to fall in love with this place. The love story between Eliza and Jay, the younger brother of the Indian prince, plays a big role in the book. It's obvious from the beginning that there's something special between them but their fate is already decided by their different backgrounds and cultures. Nevertheless, you can't help but root for them. They both, as the other characters in the story, are complex and layered characters that I enjoyed getting to know immensely. Theirs is definitely a story I won't forget in a long time.Before the Rains is not only a story about love though. There are many emotions key to the story and secrets and betrayals have a very important role in the story. The author certainly keeps some surprises in the store for us. As usual, I can only praise Dinah Jefferies' writing. The story unwraps at the right pace, giving us enough time to take all the little details in and keeps us wondering what is going to happen next. All in all, a very complete and mesmerising read.

  • Serena (Cioccolato e Libri)
    2018-09-29 22:04

    Lo stile di Dinah Jefferies non cambia e non delude mai. In ogni romanzo trasporta il lettore in posti sempre più belli, cercando di far conoscere culture sempre un po' sconosciute. Non possiamo capire profondamente l'India, per esempio, se non l'abbiamo mai visitata. Viverci, poi, sarebbe perfetto per capire nel profondo tutte le usanze. Con "Il silenzio della pioggia d'estate" ci sembra quasi di vivere in India, di visitare tutti i posti visitati dalla protagonista Eliza e di avere davanti agli occhi le sue fotografie.Oltre ai bellissimi paesaggi, l'autrice ci insegna anche le tradizioni indiane e quanto esse siano radicate. Tra le tante: una vedova può essere bruciata viva come una strega del passato e un sovrano indiano non potrà mai sposare una donna inglese.La cosa che mi colpisce sempre tanto dei libri di Dinah Jefferies è lo studio che si nasconde dietro le pagine. Ogni volta nelle note dell'autrice troviamo una lista di libri che le sono serviti per documentarsi e non possiamo fare a meno di apprezzare tutto il suo impegno, accorgendoci anche che forse è proprio quest'ultimo a rendere i suoi romanzi dei piccoli capolavori.Lo stile di scrittura dell'autrice, inoltre, non è mai frivolo. Stiamo parlando di un romance, perciò non è facile nasconderci all'interno dei messaggi importanti. Eppure l'autrice ci riesce. Il personaggio di Eliza mi è sicuramente piaciuto tantissimo, ma per tutto il romanzo la persona che apprezziamo di più è sicuramente Jay. Quando lasci tutto per amore puoi solo essere amato.

  • Susan Angela Wallace
    2018-09-29 02:27

    Before the rains by dinah Jefferies is a women's fiction and general fiction (adult) read. 1930, Rajputana, India. Since her husband's death, 28-year-old photojournalist Eliza's only companion has been her camera. When the British Government send her to an Indian princely state to photograph the royal family, she's determined to make a name for herself. But when Eliza arrives at the palace she meets Jay, the Prince's handsome, brooding younger brother. Brought together by their desire to improve conditions for local people, Jay and Eliza find they have more in common than they think. But their families - and society - think otherwise. Eventually they will have to make a choice between doing what's expected, and following their heart. . .This was a lovely read. With brilliant characters. I loved Eliza. I Would highly recommend this book. 5*. I voluntarily reviewed an advanced copy of this book from netgalley.

  • Miss Rail
    2018-10-08 22:24

    "...she took photographs of it all: the poor, the lost and the seemingly forgotten. And it entered her head that by recording the plight of the poor she might be able to find a way to give voice to the voiceless."Up to the first 40% of the story I had a really good feeling about this book but...I completely lost interest when Eliza and Jay get "sticky with sweat" (yeah...That's an actual quote used multiple times @[email protected]) and ridiculous, unbelievable drama unfolds.Unfortunately both plot and characters end up being predictable and utterly ridiculous.The romance is very slow burning and the wait doesn't "pay off" when they get officially together.Of course it's a very personal opinion... we all have a different taste and tolerance for drama, mine is fairly low.I have to say the author is able to depict India's vibrancy and contrasts in 1930 superbly and that's one of the reason it saddens me to give such a low rating.I tried to pick the book up again two times but I'm not enjoying the MCs and the plot anymore...DNF at ~70% hence ⭐ 1 Star ⭐Triggers: Violence. Remenber It is set in 1930 India...Recommended to: Wouldn't recommend it but it might interest people fascinated with stories set in India.Are you looking for a specific mix of ingredients for your next read?

  • Alex (PaperbackPiano)
    2018-10-02 01:15

    This is the second book by this author that I have read, and she is swiftly becoming a new favourite. Just like The Tea Planter's Wife, this was an extremely readable and captivating book; I find Jefferies' writing so natural and easy to get through (though it is by no means dull or over-simplified). Before the Rains has a great opening hook and a deliciously satisfying plot that becomes increasingly intriguing as the novel progresses. Jefferies manages to successfully capture the exotic nature of the countries she writes about, creating lush and evocative imagery that really adds to the reading experience. And if you like the whole blossoming romance/forbidden love thing, then this is one for you! The whole romantic plot was very nicely executed. This novel is quite dark in places, exploring themes such as feminism and infanticide. It can make for uncomfortable reading but I believe it adds a necessary depth to the book. Jefferies is respectful in her coverage of such issues and appears to have researched the culture and history of India very well. My only issues are that some of the twists were a bit predictable and also, there were a few clumsy-feeling sentences; other than that, I loved it and will definitely continue to read this author's work!

  • Pamela Scott
    2018-09-27 04:04

    (copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley and voluntarily reviewed)I’m a fan of this author so was looking forward to getting lost in Before The Rains and wasn’t disappointed.I found this book engrossing. One of the strengths of this book and others I’ve read by the author are the ability to completely pull you into a different era, until it becomes so real you lose sense of the real world outside the book. The word-building in this book was fantastic.The characters are so well-written and fascinating they became like real people. For a while I was really in India, listening to the sounds, staring gob-smacked at the sights as the smells of the world wafted around me.There is a romantic element running through the book as with other works by the author but this wasn’t solely the focus of the book. Before The Rains is hugely enjoyable, vivid and rich in detail.

  • Rae
    2018-09-22 04:02

    Often it is said that a great novel transports the reader to another world, and this is so true of Dinah Jeffries historical romance, Before The Rains. Through the eyes of Eliza Fraser, a young English widow, who travels to India to complete a photography project, we enjoy the colour and scents and vibrancy of 1930s India. From the suffocating stuffiness of the British ruling class, to the exotic opulence of the royal palaces, to wild picnics in the desert, to the heart-wrenching poverty of the harsh lives endured by the most deprived - Jeffries wonderful descriptions draw the reader further and further into Eliza's adventure. Early on in the novel, Eliza witnesses an act that rocks her to her very core, but also helps cements her friendship with handsome Indian Prince Jay - and so begins their sensual, sweeping romance. But duty and conventions of the period are against the couple's union, ensuring plenty of twists and turns along the way. Lovers of Jeffries best selling historical fiction novels are in for yet another vivid treat.

  • Katherine Sunderland
    2018-09-21 01:03

    As soon as I saw that Dinah Jefferies had a new book out, I wasted no time tracking it down on NetGalley and have been looking forward to reading it ever since it landed on my TBR pile. Why? Because Jefferies always writes a great story. She always evokes the historical era and the exotic location of her novels effectively; the smells, colours and sounds come alive and transport you to another place, another time and another person's life. As well as great description there is always an absorbing story to follow full of gentle drama, romance and a personal quest of some sort. "Before the Rains" continues to deliver all we have come to love about Jefferies' books."Before the Rains" is set in 1930s India. Our main protagonist is Eliza; a 28 year old widow who is trying to build her career as a photojournalist. The British Government have sent her to spend a year photographing the royal family in Rajputana and she is determined to make a name for herself through this assignment. Eliza cannot help but become affected by the contrast of the wealth she is surrounded by in the castle and the poverty that exists outside."...she took photographs of it all: the poor, the lost and the seemingly forgotten. And it entered her head that by recording the plight of the poor she might be able to find a way to give voice to the voiceless." She is a sensitive, thoughtful and bright woman who although there to further her career, is also moved by the living conditions she witnesses. Eliza realises that in order to change things, or support those who want to change things, could involved some huge personal compromises. It also transpires that perhaps the British Government have ulterior motives for placing her within the royal family and Eliza is caught between her loyalties to old family friends and the new family she has been living amongst.Eliza is a great protagonist. She has been to India before as a child. The story opens with a tragic account of her watching the death of her father and I was immediately lost in Jefferies' writing as she conjured up a scene bursting with life and emotion. I was immediately drawn to Eliza's character as we quickly feel empathy towards this young woman who has witnessed the death of her father and then tragically widowed so early in her married life. Eliza is a sensitive character and this prepares us for the journey she is going to go on both physically and emotionally in this story.Jefferies then introduces us to the royal family and establishes their values and beliefs which roots us in the social and historical setting as well as establishing the family dynamics, including lots of implied tension- the perfect foundation for a good story.Eliza is introduced to Jayant Singh Rathore - Jay - Laxmi's "second and most wayward son." His mother describes him as "thirty years old, addicted to danger and prefers the wild to us civilised folk. Hardly any wonder he's not married yet" and he is a character that immediately interests us. He begins to spend more time with Eliza, particularly by accompanying her on her excursions, and the couple begin to educate each other about the injustices that they see from their different positions in society. A bond develops between them but this is not a relationship that is going to be easily accepted by their families and their communities. Once again, Eliza is faced with dilemmas and that age old problem around which so many great books revolve - to follow your head or your heart?But this is not just a love story or a novel about the awakening of Eliza after the heartbreak she has already suffered. This is a novel about women and about history, about culture and traditions. There are some brutal scenes where Eliza witnesses the mistreatment of widows - deemed unlucky as "outliving your husband means you did not look after him properly and that's generally your own bad karma at fault." The moment when Eliza witnesses the barbaric burning of a widow is violently chilling and Jefferies handles these scenes cleverly; neither sensational nor gratuitous but shocking and haunting. Of course these scenes also heighten the tension as Eliza is a widow and this has to be hidden from anyone who doesn't need to know in order to protect her and the family she is residing with. Again, as with all of Jefferies' novels, I find myself learning more about a period in history I know little about.There is a lot about the plight of the women in this country at this time. Jefferies' thorough research and obvious interest in this subject is reflected through her characterisation of Eliza and what happens to her throughout the course of the novel. There are some disturbing passages about infanticide and sad revelations about the wives who are so badly treated by their in laws as they struggle for authority and power in their marriages and families. This emotive and controversial theme gives the novel depth and adds a layer of complexity to the relationship between Jay and Eliza as they begin to recognise their feelings for each other.I don't want to write a long review - not because I can't, but because this book is simply a good story with enough layers, themes and engaging characters to carry you away on an historical journey. I read it because on a dark, grey, wet February week this was a great tonic. Therefore I just want to recommend this novel to you as a book to treat yourself to over a long weekend, a holiday or as a sheer bit of escapism. It is a relaxing, engaging, easy read and I enjoyed it as much as Jefferies previous novels.The book is organised into four parts and I really enjoyed the quotes that introduced each section. I'll leave you with this one which comes at the start of Part 2 but is full of wisdom."If you cry because the sun has gone out of your life, your tears will prevent you from seeing the stars."

  • Kirstie
    2018-10-11 00:07

    More 3.5. I love Jefferies writing. She makes you feel like you are in India with her beautiful writing. I didn't like Eliza - I thought she was spoilt and bratty and I longed for her to end up alone! It felt like the ending was a bit unreal for1930S India. Aside from that I liked learning about the traditions of India and the festivals

  • Dana Al-Basha دانة الباشا
    2018-10-05 03:12

  • Il confine dei libri
    2018-10-09 00:11

    Salve Confine,le vacanze estive sono ormai agli sgoccioli, ma poiché sono restia ad abbandonare questa bolla di perfetto relax in cui ho militato nelle ultime settimane, ho scelto di dedicarmi ad una lettura ambientata nell’affascinante e mistica India, tra i suoi colori sgargianti e le forti tradizioni. Parlo di “Il silenzio della pioggia d’estate” di Dinah Jefferies, edito Newton Compton Editori.1930. Eliza, giovane fotografa inglese, viene chiamata a svolgere un importante incarico: scattare delle foto alla famiglia reale di un importante stato indiano in modo da svilupparne l’archivio e darne una nuova immagine. Ma quello di Eliza sarà un ritorno al passato. Sono infatti trascorsi dodici anni da quando, ancora bambina, assiste durante una parata a Delhi all’uccisione di suo padre, il suo idolo ed eroe. Una perdita che Eliza non ha mai superato fino in fondo e che la costrinse a trasferirsi in Inghilterra, terra che non riuscirà a sentire mai sua. Con una madre entrata nell’infimo tunnel dell’alcolismo e il tentativo di trovare rifugio in un matrimonio con un uomo che non la comprendeva e che ha perduto prematuramente, ad Eliza non rimane altro che accettare quest’ultima opportunità.“«E lei cosa sta cercando?»«Ah. Ci vorrebbe una vita intera per capirlo. E un’altra vita per riuscire a spiegarlo.»”Inizia così il suo viaggio in India verso il Principato di Juraipore, Rajputana, un’occasione più unica che rara per Eliza di cercare il proprio posto nel mondo, fuggire dai problemi e sensi di colpa che la inseguono dimostrando altresì il suo valore come fotografa. Giunta alla reggia farà la conoscenza del fratello del maharaja, Jay, uomo affascinate e carismatico, ma soprattutto amante dell’avventura. Sarà proprio attraverso gli occhi di Jay che Eliza inizierà a conoscere e comprendere il vero volto dell’India, e non quello gretto e del tutto errato descritto dai suoi dominatori inglesi. Un’India fatta di colori, profumi e misteri, così magica e attraente, ma con una rigida società legata strettamente alle sue tradizioni e riti, a volte davvero terribili e disumani. È proprio a causa di ciò che Eliza deve nascondere il suo status di vedova, condizione che in India è considerata portatrice di sfortuna e di conseguenza condannata con il suicidio volontario o meno della donna.Ma nonostante ciò, quello di Eliza sarà un ritorno a casa. Quel rifugio che ha cercato per tutta la vita senza mai trovarlo. L'India scorre nelle sue vene, è parte di essa, e grazie a Jay riuscirà a comprenderla fino in fondo.Jay. Quel giovane uomo affascinante che conquisterà Eliza poco a poco, così simili nella loro diversità. Conoscitore delle tradizioni locali e dei cambiamenti e sottomissioni a cui sono costretti gli indiani dai conquistatori inglesi, sarà guida e maestro di Eliza, e non solo. Lotteranno insieme per portare migliorie alle popolazioni del regno. Ma quando le leggi e l'etichetta reale si metteranno in mezzo, qui avrà inizio la lotta più importante della loro vita: seguire le regole o il proprio cuore.“Per la prima volta in vita sua era convinta dell’esistenza di una connessione tra le anime, che fosse possibile incontrare un’altra persona a livello spirituale. Lo spazio tra loro esisteva, ma si dissolveva facilmente; era come vivere senza pareti, o confini, non sapeva dire dove finisse lui e iniziasse lei. Quanto più la loro intimità diventava profonda, tanto più in Eliza si faceva strada la consapevolezza che senza quegli occhi splendenti a guardarla, durante l’amore, la sua vita si sarebbe spezzata, come costretta a separarsi da una parte di sé.”Questa storia non fa parte delle mie solite letture, ma vi posso assicurare che solo dopo qualche pagina mi ha assolutamente conquistata. Non è stato solo merito della scrittura, ma piuttosto della miriade di sensazioni ed emozioni che attraversano le pagine, diventando tue. Ed è proprio questa la forza di questo romanzo, la capacità di farti innamorare non solo della storia, dei personaggi e di quella magica e suggestiva terra che è l'India, ma della vita e dell'amore in ogni sua declinazione e sfumatura. Leggetelo ed emozionatevi anche voi.

  • Shaz Goodwin
    2018-10-12 01:09 prologue in Delhi (1912) of the procession for the Viceroy Lord Hardinge’s entry into the old walled city hooked me in straight away … all my senses awake and my emotions heightened from the trauma I was ready to experience India and find out where Eliza’s future lay.Now 28 and not feeling like she’s ever belonged anywhere, it’s no different when she enters the castle for her year commission to photograph the Royals and life in Juraipore. Having been told by the British they had to give Eliza access to the castle and an escort to other locations, she’s not exactly welcomed! Conflict and intrigue arise often adding suspense to this historical love story. Dealing with laws, politics, religious beliefs, rituals and customs that are alien to the British, there is so much Eliza must overcome to get her happy ever after.To my mind it wasn’t just Chatur who was the enemy, there’s another character who is manipulative and very much ‘self.’ I really didn’t like him and felt despair at one point. He doesn’t have any redeeming characteristics (although you might think differently!). There are others in the castle who want Eliza out of the way so you never quite know who is doing what.The settings are just magical, not only the exuberance of the festivals but also the mud huts in the villages and Eliza’s time back in Gloucester. Dinah Jefferies is so skillful in bringing everything to life, I was transported to another time to another culture. In fact there is one horrendous scene that she doesn’t hold back from and I could feel the trauma Eliza did. Maybe not so magical but you need to be exposed to a culture with it’s shadow side too don’t you!The romance is soul to soul. Beautiful, poignant and takes your breath away. And despite being in the 1930’s, is a trend that is very current today.The ending is perfect. Just perfect.Dinah Jefferies has penned another story that I will be thinking of for a long time to come.

  • Viola80
    2018-09-27 03:05

    Diciamo che è un libro 'a metà', nel senso che è difficile dargli un 'voto'. Da un lato, e solo per questo le quattro stelline, le descrizioni dell'India, dei palazzi, dei mercati e di usi e costumi del Rajasthan sono davvero ben scritti, dall'altro però la storia in sé è secondo me un po' debolina, niente di speciale né come intreccio (si capisce subito dove va a parare tutta la storia), né come personaggi, anche se la fotografa femminista ed emancipata e il principe indiano simpaticone e anticonformista non sono proprio malaccio. Il pregio e limite al contempo è che si legge più come una guida turistica Lonley Planet che non come un romanzo, come se l'autrice, che comunque apprezzo, avesse fatto un viaggio in quei luoghi e cercato di descriverli appiccicandoci sopra una storia senza troppo mordente. Credo che in effetti sia andata così! Comunque un lavoro apprezzabile, anche se non il migliore della Jefferies.

  • Toglietemi tutto, ma non i miei libri
    2018-10-15 00:15

    Sono invece rimasta affascinata dall'ambientazione, da come l'autrice riusciva a farmi immergere in quell'India esotica, calda, insidiosa.Le tradizioni indiane trovano largo spazio tra queste pagine, piene di parole in lingua originale.La storia viene narrata con una delicatezza simile al tocco di una goccia di pioggia sul viso.Momento non particolarmente dinamici si alternano ad altri colmi di suspense.Amore, intrighi, gelosie trovano il loro posto nella trama.

  • Reagan
    2018-10-07 22:28

    Honestly I've not read a more cliche book in my life. You know exactly what's going to happen from beginning to end and frankly, Eliza is super annoying.

  • Emma Crowley
    2018-10-06 02:17

    Since Dinah Jefferies popped onto my reading radar just a few short years ago with her début The Separation I have been a huge fan of everything she has written. She is one of those authors whose books I will buy and read no questions asked as she has such a unique writing ability that takes you far and away to another time and place. At any given opportunity I always take the chance to champion her books as I believe she is an author not only fans of historical fiction will adore but readers in general will love her masterful stories. She is such a talented author writing absorbing stories which take hold of you within the first chapter and don't relinquish their grip until you read the last word having been on a thoroughly exhilarating journey with the characters.I was thrilled when her book The Tea Planter's Wife was selected as one of the reads in the Richard and Judy Autumn 2015 book club. The selection was richly deserved and brought her phenomenal story telling ability to a much wider audience and therefore even more people can enjoy her books just as much as I do. Now Dinah has returned with another brilliant story thankfully without keeping her loyal readers waiting impatiently for too long with Before the Rains. This new story is set in India and again has the most beautiful cover, deeply evocative of the time and place. Soon within the first few chapters another spell-bounding, rewarding story unfolds and for me wrestles with The Separation as one of my favourite books from this author.The story opens with a brief introduction, we are in Delhi in India in 1912 as a young girl watches a procession from the balcony of her home alongside her mother. Immediately a real sense of time and place comes across through the vivid imagery. I could easily picture the procession led by the elephants and the excitement as the crowd watches on, interspersed with the sounds and smells typical of an Indian city. But all does not go to plan, a bomb is thrown and the little girl finds herself fatherless. Reaching for her father in his dying moments will be an image that haunts this girl for a long time to come and she wonders will she ever be able to come to terms with it?Eighteen years later Eliza is now returning to India after living in England for many years. She has been employed by Clifford Salter, a representative of the crown in India, to spend a year in an Indian fortress photographing the inner workings on a day to day basis of Indian royalty. This is a unique opportunity but memories will stir for Eliza and she questions whether she has made the right decision to return to a place which had such an impact on the shaping of her life? Eliza had always felt like she didn't belong in England and this feeling transferred to her marriage. But now she is a widow and free, yet in many ways she is still having to mould herself to the constraints of society, and being a widow in India is not easy. You would be frowned upon and treated as an outsider and some of the descriptions of what happened to Indian women left widows were horrific and unimaginable. But that is what happened at the time and if you are going to write a book set in another country and have undertaken immense research you can not shy away from the truth and in doing so the story is made more realistic and authentic and it helped to create a fascinating picture of everything Eliza experiences.Through living at the fortress Eliza tentatively at first is witness to what goes on behind closed doors and she must be admired for her bravery as stiff opposition and many obstacles were placed in her path. Through such wonderful writing Dinah Jefferies paints a picture of such beauty tinged with the many rules and regulations for the people that live there especially the women. The descriptions of the castle seem otherworldly and made me realise what changes have occurred in the world in such a relatively short space of time. Gone are the glory days of the British empire in India yet the author brought them alive to perfection within the pages of this book.Eliza came back to India for many reasons but the reader could see aside from the job she was employed to do her main priority was of rediscovering the part of her that she had lost/deeply buried the day she departed for England. She had had such a connection to India that she knew if she could immerse herself once again the person she longed to be may one day make a reappearance and she could come to some sort of happiness. Eliza views herself as different and that she should be able to roam free throughout the fortress to take as many photos as possible to gain a deeper insight into the mysterious lives of these people. The harem within the fortress seemed exotic and full of mystery, debauchery and many many secrets. But it is the matriarch of the family Laxmi who perhaps becomes a close ally to Eliza when one would think in fact the opposite would occur. I deeply felt Eliza's struggle to adjust to her new living situation and how she battled with wanting to experience everything in as free a way as possible but yet she was confined and stilted. Not even being allowed to roam free outside the castle walls without supervision must have felt so constricting. So when she encounters Jay, the son of Laxmi, a turning point happens. A spark is ignited which in society terms must never establish itself into a proper flame for that is not the done thing.Jay exposes Eliza to a side of India she has never experienced before and it pained me that these experiences outside the castle walls that they shared together had to be kept secret for fear of bringing shame and disrepute on the family. It made me realise that affection that could with time develop into a deep love is never easy to achieve or let happen but if it is worth fighting for then one must do so. I loved the glorious descriptions of the adventures Jay took Eliza on. They brought to light the other side of India exposing old, banned rituals which have gone underground. It offered an insight into a part of India's history that I had never heard about but it was written in such a way as not to be overpowering yet the message the author was attempting to convey was clear for all to see and comprehend. Eliza understands she can't help the way women are treated but in some small way she can aim to expose the inequalities and try to put them right. Jay was totally as one with Eliza regarding this and I enjoyed how they both battled with what they could clearly see was wrong but bigger powers, history and tradition were at work and how can one go against something so deeply ingrained in the Indian culture?Before the Rains had so many strands to the story that wove seamlessly together yet at other times they were separate entities but it all worked. I wondered why the author had chosen the specific title but the more I read it became clearer and I felt it was so beautiful yet added that sense of urgency to the situation Eliza found herself in. This book is not all a love story, it blends together history, romance and an element of mystery. The mystery aspect became stronger in the later half of the book as people who at first may have seemed nice and helpful truly began to play their cards. I never knew exactly what was going on and that is the way a book should be. The element of surprise and reveal should be kept secret for as long as possible. The reader should have many ideas in their head as to the final outcome for all elements of the story and that is what happened with me. I was surprised yet delighted with some of the final revelations and I was absorbed in this fantastic story until the very last chapter and was sad to leave such a strong courageous character as that of Eliza behind.Dinah Jefferies has captured the spirit and sense of India to perfection in Before the Rains. Again it is another utter triumph from her and my only regret is that it couldn't have been longer for I knew once I finished I would have another wait for her next book which I hope she is hard at work on. If you haven't read anything by this author make sure you remedy this as soon as possible. In my opinion she is up there with Lucinda Riley as one of the greatest storytellers in recent years.

  • Penny
    2018-09-28 02:30

    This is a fun story set in India in the 1930's. Ghandi is leading civil disobedience and India is becoming more unstable as its people clamour for independence. However, the British that live there seem certain that their rule and their way of life will continue unchanged. In this atmosphere we meet Eliza Fraser and Prince Jayant - she was living in India as a child and has now returned to take photographs for an exhibition on local Indian life. She is hosted by the local royal family of Rajputana (mostly modern-day Rajasthan.) Eliza is thrown into the intrigues of a royal court, the political turmoil of the times, the unwelcome attention of a British governor, a mysterious girl who has unknown origins and a growing attraction to the Prince. Also slowly revealed is the story of Anna - Eliza's mother - and her sadness after the terror attack that killed her husband, which Eliza witnesses as a child.Dinah Jefferies has written several books based in Asia. The major strengths in all her books are the depiction of setting and culture. In 'Before the Rains', Rajputana is as much a character as Eliza and you get such detailed descriptions and presentation of the place, that it is very easy to imagine and feel yourself there. The restrictions of the culture and the historical timing on Eliza and Jay's behaviour are also very well done and to the fore of the story. Many of their difficulties would not be such an issue today and yet mixed race relationships are still problematic for some communities and often it is the woman who is under scrutiny for 'proper' conduct. There are many layers to this book and I often felt as I was reading it that the characterisation was so good that I wanted to know more - for instance half the book again could have been filled with Anna's story. Eliza's brief marriage is skipped over and yet clearly has a bearing on who Eliza is now. Indi is unexpected and enigmatic but we are never really told how she became so. So many good characters perhaps the author could take one of them further.For me the book is a good read which has many strong points and if you like this type of book then I would encourage you to read it. I personally would have preferred more political intrigue and the back story of Indi to have been open to the reader. I am not fond of a great deal of romance but don't mind it as part of the story. In this book the romance is at the forefront of the story - hence for me, 3 stars. (although there are parts that are worthy of 5 stars and I am quite a stern marker!.)this was sent to me as a giveaway and I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to read this ( this is my third Dinah Jefferies book and I will read more of this author.)

  • Tripfiction
    2018-10-17 06:06

    This review first appeared on our blog where we also chat to Dinah about her research of locale: have always enjoyed this author’s books and this is no exception. I felt transported back to Rajasthan of the 1930s (Rajputana as it then was) when the British were still very much in charge of the country, but rumblings of revolt and dissent were brewing. It is evocative, colourful with wonderful period detail.Eliza spent her childhood in India until her father was murdered, whereupon she and her mother returned to England. But once grown up – following a rocky marriage, which ended with her husband’s untimely death – she is drawn back to the country of her early years. She is absolutely determined to become a photographer and indeed finds herself a job recording daily life in and around fictional Juraipur, both at court and charting the brutally poor lives of those outside the palace walls.Anish is the Maharaja, governing with the support of those around him who have their own agendas. His younger brother Jayant Singh Rathore, with his kind, amber eyes, is the handsome member of the family, a man with a more moral eye than others. He sees the utter poverty beyond his palace and knows that he has to do something to alleviate the situation.Eliza and he soon find themselves spending quite some time together and discover a growing attraction to each other. She however is not deemed a suitable partner for him because she is divorced. A divorced woman is a shameful thing, bringing ill-luck to those around (and indeed the practice of Suttee, whereby a widow is expected to throw herself on the funeral pyre alongside her dead husband was still being practised; it was technically outlawed by British rule). Of course Eliza is also white, traditionally the ruling princes would find suitable matches amongst their own.Intrigue at court, tradition and Eliza’s ailing, alcoholic mother back home in England soon put paid to this burgeoning romance. Neither Eliza nor Jay, however, can quite let go. As the heat ramps up, the cooling effect of the monsoon rains are keenly awaited… will their ardour cool? To find out how this romance ends, you will need to buy the book.This is a touching love story, set against a beautifully rendered backdrop. If you have visited Rajasthan, you will gain from this book a little more understanding about the period and about how the country has become what it is today. Highly recommended.

  • Helen
    2018-09-30 06:26

    http://greatreadsandtealeaves.blogspo...‘She had come to India uncertain about herself and nervous of her abilities as a photographer. She had come not really knowing who she was.’Having seen the inviting covers of Dinah Jeffries books, I was excited to finally delve into one. I was not disappointed. This is historical fiction at its best - rich in detail and oh so interesting, I learnt so much, this book literally being brushed with Indian spices, both real and figurative, as we journey along with Eliza. Tradition is the foundation of this society and Jeffries presents it in a most intriguing and captivating way. Her writing is so very descriptive, as you find yourself walking through the palace, feeling the searing heat, smelling the scents of India.‘Hidden beneath the rituals and customs of his life lay something important, something that glued it all together.’Before the Rains is set in India during the 1920s, and thanks to Jeffries skill as a writer, one can easily either marvel at the decadent royal families and British high society, so much in contrast with the abject poverty of so many of the people. This is a tale about Eliza, a photographer commissioned to spend a year photographing the royal family for British archives, reportedly, although spying might also play a part. Eliza is familiar with India, having spent her childhood there until her father's horrific death, so she feels a strong connection, going to great lengths to understand and showcase this through her photography - the real face of the people, their customs and traditions. Add to this a forbidden love story between Eliza and Jay, a younger brother of the Indian prince, and you have a recipe for a winning tale. ‘More and more she’d become aware that the British should get out of India. Her only hope was that the Nationalist movement would gain control without too much bloodshed.’Aside from a captivating story, Jeffries brings forth so much of the colours of India - customs, traditions, beliefs at the time of British rule - it is as if you were there. With a declining British rule, you are witness to the effect on the people and the consequences that fall out from that. Everything from euphoric ‘Holi’ celebrations to the horrific ‘sati’ (widow burning). Then there are the settings ranging from palatial royal homes to mud huts in remote villages. You will be transported to another place and time and feel for Eliza and all she endeavours to become in recreating herself. ‘Eliza hardly dared admit that she had come to rediscover something within herself.’Before the Rains is historical fiction at it’s best overflowing with culture, forbidden love, longed for happiness, heartbreaking grief and finally hope – I thoroughly enjoyed this tale and highly recommend it to lovers of historical fiction. ‘She really wanted to capture something of the rains themselves. Everyone spoke of them in such reverent tones that she wanted to see for herself.’

  • J.B (Debbie)
    2018-10-16 06:27

    When the publisher sent me a copy of this book to review I was immediately drawn to the absolutely beautiful front cover. It immediately gives the reader a bit of a clue as to how wonderfully full of life and colour the actual story is going to be. The book opens with a young Eliza watching the Viceroy's procession take place in Delhi. Her father who is accompanying the Viceroy in the procession has promised Eliza that he will stop his elephant and wave at her. However, Eliza's world is turned upside down by a terrorist attack.Fast forward 18 years later and Eliza is back in India, this time as a young widowed photojournalist who has been assigned, by the British government to record what life is like in India. She's to spend a year at a palace photographing every day life both inside and outside the palace at Rajputana. There she meets the royalty who reside there and becomes firm friends with Prince Jayant who is so different to his brother Anish. Jay, like Eliza is horrified by the terrible poverty of some of India's people contrasted with the lifestyles of the very rich. He is forward thinking and wants some of the old traditions stopped. Traditions such as widow burning. He also wants to help his people out of poverty but feels helpless to do so. The friendship between Eliza and Jay gradually grows but given their very different backgrounds, can it ever come to anything? Meanwhile, while living among its people, Eliza soon realises that the India she thought she knew and loved is being stripped apart bit by bit by British rule and the terrible treatment and suffering of the Indian people by the British government shocks her. She feels a desperate need to do something and she and Jay are united in their desire to help make the lives of the poor so much better.This book simply took my breath away with its beautiful writing. The descriptions of India simply swept me into a world of strange sights, smells and traditions of a people who are fiercely proud and passionate. I love that despite the era, Eliza is a woman who refuses to be confined by what is expected of her simply because she is a woman. Two cultures, each with its own traditions and rules clash but are more alike that anyone even realises. One's place in society dictating life choices and behaviour. Duty is everything and love, passion and ambition must always take a back seat. And, like every good book it has a wide range of characters for the reader to both love and hate and remind our central characters of what is expected of them. There is always someone lurking in the shadowy hallways and passages of the castle.Dinah Jefferies has written a wonderful historical novel and she has quite clearly done her homework around this period of British rule in India. Like Eliza, I felt myself get lost in the culture and the beauty of India and equally become horrified by the poverty and superstition that accompanied some of the old traditions. Before The Rains is an breath-taking novel that I would highly recommend. A fantastic story line that had me hooked. Historical fiction is a genre that I am still getting to grips with and I am so glad that I was given the opportunity to read this book as it has simply made me want to read more of this genre.

  • Carole
    2018-09-30 02:18

    The lush, vibrant colours of India are vividly brought to life in this tale of romance, lies and deception amid the opulent castle of the Maharajah of Rajputana.Eliza loves to takes pictures .... 'she loved the way a photo could tell an entire story and preserve it in a single moment' ..... and she is both pleased and surprised at being asked to take pictures and have the run of the castle ..... but not everyone is happy to have a British lady around, for there are a number of people who hated the British and Eliza needed to be careful she didn't make too many enemies.British educated Prince Jayant had a sort of wildness about him, and Eliza thinks he's arrogant and spoilt and he's intrigued by her. He loved showing her round the castle and around the beautiful Indian country.Author Dinah Jefferies paints a wonderful picture of Indian life, of the camel sales, puppeteers, markets, and the many unusual wild birds and animals. I could smell the aromatic herbs, jasmine, honeysuckle and roses growing all around. And of course of the people who Eliza loved to photograph were described in intimate detail.A very enjoyable story, beautifully told, and so very atmospheric.

  • Julie
    2018-10-03 01:04

    Dinah Jefferies has truly mastered the skill of transporting the reader, both in time and place, in this case to Rajputana in India in the years before India gained her independence from Britain. In a few paragraphs the reader experiences the cultural differences between the two societies through the burgeoning relationship of Eliza, a photographer, and Jay, a member of the Indian Royal family.I enjoyed watching the relationship develop and wondering if they would be able to overcome the barriers. Jay's brother provided an added threat and I found his mother intriguing. The book deals with some controversial topics such as the position of women, the custom of burning a husband's widow (as a punishment for 'allowing' him to die) as well as the political situation of the time. I found Eliza to be a strong and courageous woman in what was essentially a man's world - both the society she escaped from and the one she escaped to. All in all an engaging read that offers pure escapism.

  • Toast
    2018-10-19 01:22

    Yet another DJ book I fell in love with. DJ writes with such emotional intensity and lush creative atomsphere I am really there - in that sea green silk dress, sitting on that double swing hanging from the peepal tree in the crumbling Palace gardens of Rajputana waiting for the monsoon rains to fall. Her books are more than just focused on a woman's story but also on the wider implications - the fall of Royal India, the clash of British and Indian cultures and politics, poverty both English and Indian, religion, the English abroad and at home, Indian tradition, the generation 'game'. It is a tremendous piece of writing dripping in visual pleasure, intrique and principles.An in awe Toast PS Love the covers to DJ's books too - so evocative.