I loved this novel! Never thought I would read something that would make me wish I could time travel back to Bombay, India in the late 1700’s, early 1800’s, but this book did. “By Eastern Windows” by Gretta Curran Browne follows Lachlan Macquarie through his early years in the British Army as he leaves his home in Scotland to his post in India, where he falls in love, marries and moves up several ranks in his career as a soldier. This is book #2 in my reading challenge, “Around The World In 80 Books,” and I can’t say enough good things about it!
To begin, I could not get over how interesting this book was. Before I started reading, I had no knowledge of India or the East India Company’s role in Asia in that time period. But from the first page of Part 1, I felt like I was there, walking the streets of “British Bombay” with a young soldier falling in love with a beautiful girl from Caribbean. I couldn’t put the book down!
Secondly, I loved how the author mastered the speech patterns of the characters! One moment, Lachlan’s servant George is speaking broken English the exact way you’d hear it from a native born Indian and next, the scene could switch to Lachlan’s mother in Scotland speaking a perfect Scottish brogue. It’s done masterfully for every character you encounter in the story, whether they be Indian, Scottish, English or Chinese, it all “sounded” very authentic!
Lastly, I enjoyed that the novel was based off the real life of Lachlan Macquarie and kept his real name, and that of his family, in the book. So often those things are changed to give the author more creative license, but Browne didn’t go that route. She did an incredible job of making Macquarie’s life readable, interesting and most importantly, true. Quite a feat, but done masterfully!
Conclusion: If you enjoy Historical Fiction, I would recommend this book. It was overall a clean read and kept me engaged throughout the novel. There were a few good old English cuss words every now and then, but no bedroom scenes or excessive use of bad language. For being a true story told in fiction form, it was an easy read that flowed well and, I can’t say it enough, was so interesting! I can’t wait to read the next book in the series!