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Kashmir Shawl by Rosie Thomas
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Kashmir Shawl (original 2011; edition 2012)

by Rosie Thomas

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2312950,068 (3.77)17
Member:alekee
Title:Kashmir Shawl
Authors:Rosie Thomas
Info:Harper (2012), Paperback, 400 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

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The Kashmir Shawl by Rosie Thomas (2011)

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Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
2.5**

When her father dies, Mair discovers an exquisite shawl among her parents’ belongings. Neither Mair nor her siblings have ever seen the shawl and can’t imagine what it means. But they remember that their maternal grandparents had been missionaries in northern India and surmise it was brought back by their grandmother. Even more intriguing they find a lock of a child’s hair wrapped in the shawl. Mair decides to go to Kashmir to try to find the origins of this work and how her grandparents might have come to acquire such a valuable artifact.

Thomas weaves two stories together into a romantic epic: Mair’s search for the origins of the shawl (as well as a search for her own future), and the historical story of her grandparents, particularly her grandmother’s experiences in 1940s Kashmir. I found the historical story much more interesting, if a bit melodramatic.

I have to admit that I was intrigued by the mystery as much as Mair and her siblings were. Having cleaned out my parents’ home and found innumerable things that we have no clue as to their origins, I can easily understand how someone could get wrapped up in trying to find the story behind something so obviously valuable as the shawl Mair finds. But …. I had a hard time reconciling Mair’s just up and taking off to India – for MONTHS – to find the origins of the shawl. And I didn’t really believe the incredible coincidences that Thomas uses to end this story.

Still, I did get caught up in the story of Nerys, Rainer, Myrtle and Caroline (1940s Kashmir). And Thomas did a fine job of setting the scene, bringing to life the adventure and romanticism of the exotic locale and different culture. But I didn’t really enjoy the melodramatic elements and felt that the author was trying too hard. Did Mair have to have a background as a circus performer? Did Rainer have to be a magician? Additionally, I really disliked Caroline; she was weak and naïve, and alternately hysterical and practically catatonic.

So while portions of the historical story captured my attention, on the whole I think this is a below average novel.

( )
  BookConcierge | Jan 13, 2016 |
I remain unconvinced by this. It is one of those twin generational stories, following Nerys' journey to and in Kashmir in the 40s and then that of her grand daughter Mair. When they are clearing their father's house, they uncover an exquisite kashmir shawl and a lock of hair. The shawl belonged to their grandmother, who they barely knew. The shawl sets Mair off an a journey to find its source. And so the parallel narrative begins, but it is clear that the reader knows more than Mair does. I found it difficult to comprehend that you could know so little of your own family, as Mair seems to do. And then hare off half way round the world without asking anyone locally what they might have known about the story. All a bit on the far fetched side. I felt that the way the two narratives were made to mirror each other was rather contrived. OK is the best I can do ( )
  Helenliz | May 24, 2015 |
Nice enough. The plucky heroine faces many tribulations, yet -- spoiler alert! -- finds happiness in the end. That is one very sturdy shawl. ( )
  picardyrose | Feb 15, 2015 |
I just so enjoyed this - what a good read. And excellent for anyone who likes genealogy ( )
  fross | Jan 8, 2015 |
What a lovely book. A story that marries young a women of present day with her Grandmother. Nerys Watkins a missionary wife spends time in India with other English wives during the 2nd World War. Estranged from her husband due to winter weather in the mountains, she enjoys relationships with two women and a Magician/Mountaineer who will become entwined in illusions that would become a secret part of their lives. The Granddaughter, Mair travels to India to find the history behind a mysterious Kashmir shawl and finds that the answers are not easy to unravel.

A good read that I recommend.


( )
  greatbookescapes | Nov 20, 2014 |
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Book description
Spanning decades and moving from the stark beauty of the Welsh landscape to the Himalayas and Kashmir, this is a story of bravery, courage and love. Within one exotic land lie the secrets of a lifetime! Newlywed Nerys Watkins leaves rural Wales for the first time in her life, to accompany her husband on a missionary posting to India. Travelling from lonely Ladakh, high up in the Himalayas, Nerys discovers a new world in the lakeside city of Srinagar. Here, in the exquisite 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.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0007285965, Paperback)

Spanning decades and moving from the stark beauty of the Welsh landscape to the Himalayas and Kashmir, this is a story of bravery, courage and love. Within one exotic land lie the secrets of a lifetime! Newlywed Nerys Watkins leaves rural Wales for the first time in her life, to accompany her husband on a missionary posting to India. Travelling from lonely Ladakh, high up in the Himalayas, Nerys discovers a new world in the lakeside city of Srinagar. Here, in the exquisite 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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:58 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Newlywed Nerys Watkins leaves rural Wales for the first time in her life, to accompany her husband on a missionary posting to India. As war engulfs Europe, the Watkins are in remote Ladahk, high up in the Himalayas. Nerys is lonely, but she makes a glamorous new friend, Myrtle McMinn, who introduces her to the lakeside city of Srinagar.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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