Mar 17, 2011

Book Review: The Sandalwood Tree by Elle Newmark

The Sandalwood Tree: A Novel by Elle Newmark
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Atria (April 5, 2011)
Source: ARC provided by Pump Up Your Book Promotions
Genre:  historical romance, women's fiction 
"I unfolded the last sheets of parchment and my breath caught. The innermost letter was intact. Several pages had been saved from the worst of the damp, every word preserved by the absorbent layers around it. "  (ch. 2)
Comments: Enticing idea for an historical novel set in India in the late 1940s, when Evie Mitchell, traveling to India with her husband, discovers a hidden cache of letters written in the mid-1800s. The story of Evie's marriage and the story revealed in the letters entwine to make this a captivating novel of love, passion, and an exotic location. For armchair travelers, history buffs, and those who enjoy good romantic fiction.

Publisher's description: "A sweeping novel that brings to life two love stories, ninety years apart, set against the rich backdrop of war-torn India.

In 1947, American historian and veteran of WWII, Martin Mitchell, wins a Fulbright Fellowship to document the end of British rule in India. His wife, Evie, convinces him to take her and their young son along, hoping a shared adventure will mend their marriage, which has been strained by war.

But other places, other wars. Martin and Evie find themselves stranded in a colonial bungalow in the Himalayas due to violence surrounding the partition of India between Hindus and Muslims. In that house, hidden behind a brick wall, Evie discovers a packet of old letters, which tell a strange and compelling story of love and war involving two young Englishwomen who lived in the same house in 1857.

Drawn to their story, Evie embarks on a mission to piece together her Victorian mystery. Her search leads her through the bazaars and temples of India as well as the dying society of the British Raj. Along the way, Martin’s dark secret is exposed, unleashing a new wedge between Evie and him. As India struggles toward Independence, Evie struggles to save her marriage, pursuing her Victorian ghosts for answers.

Bursting with lavish detail and vivid imagery of Calcutta and beyond, The Sandalwood Tree is a powerful story about betrayal, forgiveness, fate, and love."

Author: Elle Newmark is an award-winning writer and author of The Book of Unholy Mischief. Her books are inspired by her travels. She lives north of San Diego.

Thanks to Tracee L. Gleichner at for making this book tour possible. Click on the link for more information on the book tour.


  1. I really like the sound of this one, and would love to read about Calcutta. Great review.

  2. Diane: I believe there are still openings for reviewers for this book.

  3. I read The Book of Unholy Michief. Didn't realize she had a new one out. Looks interesting.

  4. I have this on my review pile; your review makes me look forward to it even more!


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