Before The Rains follows Eliza as she moves to India to begin her first assignment as a photographer in 1930. She is stationed at the castle to document a year from the perspective of the Prince and his family. India is also where her father died when she was a child, so the assignment brings back memories and feelings that she hopes to confront.
Eliza is a very strong and determined woman, as we have come to expect from Dinah Jefferies’ books. She looks to start a career in a foreign country at a time when women were encouraged to marry and have children as soon as they could. Although India was home to her briefly as a child, the traditions, beliefs and rituals are a whole new experience for her.
There are a few characters I loved to hate in this book, and others I felt I couldn’t trust. From the scheming court official Chatur, to the controlling Clifford, and the beautiful Indira, it is difficult to know who is friend and who is foe.
The historical backdrop felt so natural to the story that it allowed a greater focus on the characters themselves. Love, grief, betrayal and regret are central themes, with beautiful cities, colourful celebrations and controversial beliefs immersing the reader in Indian culture.
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