Jessie’s Will
by Virginia Wells

"I know you meant well to bring us together, but it can’t work. We live in different worlds. I can never hope to make his world mine."

India comes to life in this historical novel about an Anglo-Indian woman whose life is entangled with a British family, laying bare the issues of class, race, and ultimately love. Myra falls hard for Giles Cottrell, the grandson of Jessie, a woman who has taken special care of Myra. When she becomes pregnant by Giles, she leaves without telling him, choosing illegitimacy for her son and loneliness for herself. She refuses to settle for a forced marriage built on obligation rather than love. But when Jessie dies, Myra’s secret is revealed to Giles, and he comes to claim what is his. He offers marriage to Myra and assurance of legitimacy for their son. The ties that bind them may be stronger than they realize as they embark on a new life together and are forced to sort through the past riddled with mistrust, secrets, and shame.

This historical novel explores the class structure of India and evokes the tension existing between Europeans and Indians. Myra endures a difficult childhood as an outsider torn between two cultures and is often misunderstood by those closest to her. Wells captures Maya’s feelings of frustration with each scene that unfolds. As her new life with Giles begins under some duress, her past is revealed through flashback scenes full of cultural details and complex relationships. This romance is rife with conflict and obstacles that will keep the reader guessing about the outcome. The pacing is spot-on as Myra and Giles endure meddling and intrusions into their relationship with varying degrees of effectiveness. This vivid, romantic saga of one woman’s determination to let go of the past and her fears will transport readers to another time and place but with all the familiarity of a classic love story.

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