Title: Blood Moon Over Bengal
Author: Morag McKendrick Pippin
Published in by Dorchester Publishing
Elizabeth Mainwarring was not sure of her reception, but she is certain of one thing, no decree will keep her there if she is not welcome. She is returning to India, and her father, to see if there is a chance to repair the rift caused by his implacable authoritarianism. The attitude, although fine for discipline in Her Majestyís Service, did not set well with a lady and a daughter who cared not a whit for the coldness of structured military bearing, but desired only a husbandís and a fatherís love. As she matured, Elizabeth understood more of the reasons that drove her mother to removing her from her fatherís influence, and returning to a frugal life back home in England. The ancient ruins, temples, exotic sights and smells have dimmed with the years, but the heartbreak of her fatherís coldness and her motherís hurt left her wary. She is cautious, expecting nothing, and determined not to suffer the fate of her mother. Elizabeth is also trying to be open-minded enough to give her father a chance at establishing a relationship with her now that she is an adult, and an independent woman in her own right.
The years that intervened saw to it she grew in wisdom, strength, grace, and spirit, and not even the illness and death of her mother could break her. She was recently left a rather lucrative property in New Zealand, an oil rich sheep station, by a distant relative, and was determined to stop in India on the way to her newly acquired fortune. She needed to see for her own piece of mind, to visit the man whom she reluctantly called Ďfatherí to ascertain if the rift between them could be healed. Elizabeth is also wise enough to know reconciliation, after all the years apart would not be easy, but still she had dreams. She is willing to give him a chance. Although her expectations can never meet her fondest wishes, she is a practical girl, and yet she is not prepared for what she finds when she reaches her destination. Almost falling out of the sky, and into the arms of the most handsome man she has ever laid eyes on is the last thing Elizabeth expected. Now she wonders what destiny truly has in store for her, and hopes it will include the exotic and extremely mysterious Nigel Covington-SinghÖ
Tall, regal, and darkly handsome, the blue-eyed major is the secret heartís desire of many an officerís wife, but because of his mixed heritage, he is subtly shunned, and invited in polite society for one reason, and one reason only. Major Nigel Covington-Singhís blood is bluer than that of most of the British Nobility, and definitely more noble and gentlemanly than the officers under whom he serves. Born the third son of the Raj of Kashmir and his British born Countess, Nigel had decided to thwart his fatherís influence, and his motherís as well, and fend for himself. Asking for no special favours, and getting none, he has worked his way up through the ranks of the military with honours. He has also kept his dignity and his pride in tact as well, and has done his best to use what influence his rank holds to benefit those of his countrymen who serve under the British rule. For the most part, Nigel has attained a degree of success, and that has brought him to butting heads with his commanding officer, Colonel Mainwarring, many times.
Oh a hot and sweltering day, Nigel and Colonel Mainwaring have gone head to head over training practices. Once again men have died in the heat during the marches and parading they are forced to do, and once again Nigel has bearded the lion in his den, and been turned away. He is quite aware of the attitude of the Colonel toward him, and although the prejudice is rampant, he knows that the reign of the British is waning, and their influence will be greatly reduced. That doesnít solve the current problems, and the recent rash of murders of Indian women has also been dumped in his lap. Now to make matters worse, he finds himself attracted to the Colonelís daughter, Elizabeth, but from all appearances, this puts her in grave danger, because now the murderer has his sights set on some of the English women, and many of those have friends or lovers among the natives. The shocking attack and murder of a young girl who wanted to meet her lover brings things to a head, and Nigel is loathe to let Elizabeth out of his sight. Is his protection all that she needs, or does she have designs on his heart as well?
Blood Moon Over Bengal is an unforgettable book based in the waning years of the British Colonial Rule in India. Rich in the sights and sounds of the 1930ís India, Morag McKendrick Pippin has constructed a wonderful historical romance of nearly epic proportions. From the staid, rigid, and blatantly segregated British Colonial Government, and the Military elite, the prejudice is plain, and the racially biased, and often cruelly treated populace is marginally dismissed. In this tapestry of mixed emotion, cruel prejudice, and flaming hatred, Nigel and Elizabeth are caught in a vortex of the racial hatred, and her fatherís irrational and uncertain temper. As the mystery deepens, Elizabeth is forced to take a different look at her feelings and her relationship with Nigel. She needs to focus on what is truly most important to her happiness, then weigh that with the price she may have to pay, her life. For Nigel, the matter is a very simple one, keep Elizabeth safe at all costs, and in the process, he hopes she will agree to become his wife. Together they have to face the threat of murder, the wrath of her father, and find acceptance in each other to overcome the obstacles set in their way.
The book, Blood Moon Over Bengal is a first for Ms. Pippin, and it is well written and researched, bringing the wealth and the snobbery of British Colonial Rule into sharp focus. It also brings to light the friendships shared by those not so engrossed in playing the petty superiority cards, and those who truly held respect for the experience and knowledge of the native populace. Here in Blood Moon Over Bengal, we find the story of love, friendship, and the ability of some to look beyond the colour of the skin, and see the person beneath. From the depths of Elizabeth and Fionaís friendship, to the love shared between Elizabeth and Nigel, Fiona and Harry, we are taken on a marvelous journey of discovery. Along the way, we are treated to the beauty of India, from the Tiger hunt thrown for the Rani, Nigelís mother, to the capture of the murderer. Blood Moon Over Bengal provides a fascinating blend of culture, mystery and suspense that will keep you turning the pages. Available in October of 2004 from Dorchesterís Leisure Books, this is one book you are not going to want to miss!
Yours in good reading,