Today I am featuring Janna Gray and her book Kilingiri. This is a wonderfully exotic tale about a love that faces many challenges and yet still attempts to thrive against all odds. Make sure you check out my review after the short synopsis.
1968, Srinagar, Kashmir and Nina is devastated by the death of her new-born baby girl. Sister Angela and Father Michael at the mission hospital step in to nurse Nina back to health but when the friendship between Nina and Father Michael turns to love, Michael makes a decision which will resonate through the years.
It is 1981 and in Kinsale, Ireland, Nina, devoted to her son Joshua, lives a loveless existence, but a chance encounter changes everything. Michael is back in her life, he leaves the priesthood and happiness is within their grasp.
But when past and present collide, their whole world is turned upside down.
Only by facing the consequences of what has gone before, can Nina and Michael embrace the future.
Janna Gray really knows how to spin a wonderful tale. Her writing is elegant and beautiful. Not only is her description of India and eventually Ireland enchanting, but the places become so important to the story that its like its own character. Once you are drawn in by the beauty of the background the story falls into place. We first meet Nina who is an unwed mother during a time that free love is popular but unwed pregnancy is still very taboo. While Nina struggles to overcome the pain of her abandonment she is soon administered another blow by losing her child. It is at this time that she meets Father Michael. She and Father Michael develop a close friendship that soon develops into love. Their love is a forbidden, controversial love that comes instantly with obstacles that only they can attempt to overcome together. It is their love that is ultimately used against them. Though through a wonderful accident Nina becomes pregnant again but only to lose Michael for 17 yrs. After their long separation and a now troubled teenager they have some new obstacles but many of the same ideas on their forbidden love still remain strong. In the end, will love hold together a family or be used to tear it apart?
Nina and Michael’s love story is one that can only be described as epic. They have to go through more obstacles and criticisms about a love that feels so very natural to them. While reading this you really begin to question the idea of those behind organized religion. You will pose the question how can people who profess to love all of God’s children use love as a weapon. Fortunately, our characters of Michael and Nina are strong enough to face these obstacles but even with a second chance and even more issues you begin to wonder if one couple, even one with such intense love, overcome what they must face. Janna Gray’s Kilingiri was a phenomenal read that tantalizes you with the scenery but really comes through with the characters and the story. You won’t want to miss this book, but be ready to want to travel to the far corners of the world that Janna describes so eloquently.
For more information about Kilingiri you can check it out at Barnes and Noble, Amazon or any other book retailer.
British by birth, I grew up in Ceylon (the island now known as Sri Lanka) and was educated at boarding schools in Kodaikanal, South India and Derbyshire, England. I trained to be a teacher in London where I met Simon … we’ve clocked up forty years together, thirty five of them as a married couple. (A wit told me that was longer than a prison sentence!) His job took us to Singapore, Hong Kong and Thailand where we raised our two sons Benedict and Sam, I worked at British and International schools and wrote articles for newspapers and magazines.
Currently living in the UAE, I was the Senior Mistress (a title which raised many an eyebrow and caused huge merriment) and Head of Pastoral Care at Repton School until 2011 when I gave up lesson planning and writing report cards to finish my first Kilingiri which for seventeen years lived in my head and occupied masses of paper, floppy discs, USBs and space on the hard drive of several pcs/ laptops. With luck my second novel will not have such a long gestation!
I enjoy travelling, sailing and spending time with family and dear friends and had a love-hate relationship with exercise until I discovered Pilates, Yoga and the joy of Zumba where the trainers turn a blind eye to my inability to remember dance sequences. I sing in the shower and with choirs, have an allergy to golf and recently discovered the allure of oils and acrylics – a delightfully messy way to express my inner artist!