Veiled at Midnight, by Christine Lindsay (WhiteFire Publishing, 2014)
Veiled at Midnight is a strong conclusion to Christine Lindsay’s Twilight of the British Raj series. If you haven’t read the previous two books, you can jump in here and understand everything, but Cam’s and Miriam’s back-stories do contain spoilers for the other books. And it’s a series well worth reading in its entirety.
Cam was a young child in book 1, Shadowed in Silk, and Miriam is his younger sister. Now adults, he’s in the army and she’s a teacher. The year is 1946; the place, India. These are the final days of British rule, but instead of happiness over the coming independence, the country is fracturing from within.
Because Cam and Miriam grew up in India, very involved in the work of a local mission for orphans, they feel more Indian than British. The idea of repatriating to England unsettles them. Cam’s war experiences add to his struggle, which he tries to drown in alcohol.
In a time of strict views on social status, dare Cam marry his childhood sweetheart, Dassah – an Indian? Can he live without her? And will Miriam be able to choose between a dashing British soldier and her career? Or can she hold onto both?
The siblings’ personal lives play out against the exotic background of India, during an increasingly turbulent time.
In some ways this was a difficult book to read. Author Christine Lindsay does a very good job of conveying the horror of the riots and fighting without becoming too graphic. With the current behaviour of ISIS and other religious terrorist groups, this historical novel feels uncomfortably current.
Yet against a background laced with tragedy, the novel weaves stories of hope. Another contemporary issue addressed in its pages is alcoholism. This is a Christian novel, and the author is clear in her message that only God can break the grip of this addiction. As we see, that doesn’t mean it’s easy for Cam. What it means is that it’s too hard for Cam – without God.
She’d been a striking woman, but it seemed as if someone had taken a charcoal drawing of her face and smudged it downward. [Kindle location 1716]
The rails leading out of the Amritsar station caught the last vestiges of setting sun and quivered in two molten lines of steel. [Kindle location 2110]
How could one’s heart sing and crack at the same time? [Kindle location 2252]
Eshana’s rebuke left welts on the raw patch that used to be Cam’s self-respect. [Kindle location 2326]
Christine Lindsay writes novels to give hope and to strengthen faith. As such, she doesn’t shy away from difficult issues but allows readers to walk through those places with her characters. As well as the Twilight of the British Raj series, Christine has written a contemporary romance, Londonderry Dreaming.
[Review copy provided by the author.]