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Meet Me in Bombay


Meet Me in Bombay

At a New Year's Eve party in 1913, 23-year-old Madeline "Maddy" Bright's entire life changes as soon as she locks eyes with the handsome and dashing Luke Devereaux: "It was a space of moments. But nothing was ever the same again, after that."

Set in colonial Bombay, India, Jenny Ashcroft’s novel is atmospheric and immersive. I felt like I was attending the party, and I could feel the stifling heat of both the setting and the blossoming relationship. Once Maddy meets Luke, she is swept up in a whirlwind love affair that unfortunately coincides with the start of World War I. Luke, who is in the reserves, is forced to leave just as their relationship is heating up. He has vowed to return to her, but after being injured and losing his memory during a horrific battle, will he still be able to fulfill that promise?

"MEET ME IN BOMBAY is a fabulously touching, emotional and romantic escape from reality. Even after it ended, I was left wanting to know more about the characters."

In addition to the romance, there is a complex mother/daughter relationship simmering in the background. At just eight years old, Maddy’s parents sent her to boarding school in England. After completing elementary school, intermediate school and college, she has returned to Bombay to visit her parents whom she has barely seen over the last 15 years. Her father, Richard, visited her periodically while she was at school, but her mother, Alice, always refused to make the trip. Will Maddy finally find out why her mom was avoiding her, and will they be able to repair their relationship before it’s too late? And, as added intrigue, what secrets has Alice been harboring?

Both plotlines held my attention. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to discover why Alice treated her daughter so coldly at times, and if Maddy and Luke’s love would endure the test of time and distance. Oh, and I can’t forget to mention that Alice disapproved of her daughter’s relationship with Luke and was sure that Maddy would be happier with Guy Bowen, even though he was 20 years older than her!

While Maddy and Luke were busy falling in love, I was equally enthralled with their developing relationship and the gorgeously portrayed city of Bombay. The love and grief here were palpable, and my heart ached for Maddy as time marched on without her knowing where Luke was, or if he would ever make his way back to her. Should she listen to her friends and family and try to move on without Luke, or should she maintain hope that he will return to Bombay as promised? The story developed in ways both expected and surprising, and, much to my delight, there were suspenseful elements sprinkled throughout. My emotions ran the gamut from heartbreak to anger to joy and back again, bringing tears to my eyes several times.

MEET ME IN BOMBAY is a fabulously touching, emotional and romantic escape from reality. Even after it ended, I was left wanting to know more about the characters. Luckily, since this was my first time reading a book by Jenny Ashcroft, I now have her entire backlist to devour!

Reviewed by Rebecca Wasniak on January 22, 2021

Meet Me in Bombay
by Jenny Ashcroft