“A rainy day curled up in bed with a hot cup of coffee kind of a book” (Amazon reviewer)
While travelling on holiday in Kerala, South India in 2011, the plot of Kurinji Flowers came to me one sleepless night. By morning I’d mapped out the basic elements although, as always when writing, it has changed radically since then. It’s set in the 1930s in a fictional town called Mudoorayam, loosely based on Munnar. This is in an area covered with tea plantations and is a very lively hill town.
I returned to Munnar in 2013 to do some research. I stayed on a tea plantation about 20km from the town in a 1920s bungalow which was the former home of a tea planter. I was able to soak up the atmosphere and scenery that would have surrounded my characters. There are several posts in the blog about my time there including my superhuman efforts to blag my way into the very snobby High Range Club
The book tells the story of Ginny Dunbar, a young debutante in 1936 who has been exploited for several years by her late father’s best friend, a society artist. When a compromising painting of her is displayed in a London gallery, all hopes of a good marriage for Ginny are dashed and the fallout from this abusive relationship jeopardises her future. But Ginny gets a second chance and a new start in India. Alone in a new environment to cope with the repercussions of her past, she has to battle her inner demons and the expectations of the people around her and her own prejudices about India and its people.
Set in South India during the years of the second world war and the struggle for independence, Kurinji Flowers traces a young woman’s journey through loss, hope and betrayal to love and self-discovery.
Why Kurinji Flowers? The hills around Munnar are home to the very rare neelakurinji flower. This plant is found nowhere else on the planet and has the rare distinction of flowering only once every twelve years.
Kurinji Flowers was awarded a BRAG Medallion in September 2015