A LION IN THE WAY by Elizabeth Cadell


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An unfortunate change-of-pace and place for veteran Cadell, this airless India/ England saga (1913-1929) lacks the cosy, convincing ambiance of her English village tales. Annerley, young, motherless daughter of teacher Edwin Brooke in Calcutta, leads the pleasant uncomplicated life of an ayah-tended English child, though her family--which includes her mother's mother Mrs. Devenish--is not of the highest raj class. Among her friends: English Moira, whose squabbling parents will eventually divorce; Indian Shareen, from a bustling, very wealthy Indian family, whose handsome, England-educated brother Chandra calmly expects to honor his arranged marriage; and a young Englishman who loses his post because of his association with a Eurasian girl. Then, however, Annerley is sent to England to be educated; and (thanks to Edwin) Moira, hardly a good student, is admitted to the same school. So, during the war years, while Edwin is interned in Greece, Annerley lives in a tiny English cottage with Grandmother Devenish; meets her other grandmother (a cold, rich dish of tea); helps out the war effort; and attracts young men--from recuperating soldiers to Moira's brother Mark and even Chandra. And Finally there'll be happy endings for Moira, Annerley, Mark, and Edwin (Grandmother Devenish dies in England)--but tragedy in India: Shareen's people become leaders in support of Gandhi, renouncing Western ways; Shareen will die in a street demonstration; and Chandra, now alone--his wife and mother taken from him, his sister dead, his father ""continuing the struggle in the north""--sees off the English friends to England for the last time. With bland characters, slack plotting, and juiceless backgrounds: drab stuff--and mild as a mouse.

Pub Date: April 13th, 1982
Publisher: Morrow