Monsoon Summer

A Novel

Monsoon Summer

By the award-winning author of East of the Sun, “a powerful and memorable novel” (Publishers Weekly) about the forbidden love between a young Indian doctor and an English midwife.

Oxfordshire, 1947. Kit Smallwood, hiding a painful secret and exhausted from nursing soldiers during the Second World War, escapes to Wickam Farm where her friend is setting up a charity sending midwives to the Moonstone Home in South India.

Then Kit meets Anto, an Indian doctor finishing his medical training at Oxford. But Kit’s light-skinned mother is in fact Anglo-Indian with secrets of her own, and Anto is everything she does not want for her daughter.

Despite the threat of estrangement, Kit is excited for the future, hungry for adventure, and deeply in love. She and Anto secretly marry and set off for South India—where Kit plans to run the maternity hospital she’s helped from afar.

But Kit’s life in India does not turn out as she imagined. Anto’s large, traditional family wanted him to marry an Indian bride and find it hard to accept Kit. As their relationship begins to fray, Kit’s job becomes fraught with tension as they both face a newly independent India, where riots have left millions dead and there is deep-rooted suspicion of the English. In a rapidly changing world, Kit’s naiveté is to land her in a frightening and dangerous situation...

Based on true accounts of European midwives in India, Monsoon Summer is a powerful story of secrets, the nature of home, the comforts and frustrations of family, and how far we’ll go to be with those we love.
  • Touchstone | 
  • 464 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781501139765 | 
  • August 2017
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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Monsoon Summer includes an introduction, discussion questions, and a Q&A with author Julia Gregson. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

Introduction

Nurse and midwife Kit Smallwood survived the Blitz in London only to find herself at loose ends after the war ended. Thrown together on a project with the captivating Anto Thekkeden, she follows her heart . . . straight into marriage. Before she knows it, she’s on a ship for India to meet her husband’s family and, later, to a job educating Indian midwives.

Once in the stunningly beautiful, oppressively hot, and bewilderingly confusing homeland of her husband, Kit takes up her work, much to the chagrin of the Thekkeden family. Fulfilled by her work, but uncertain of her place in society, Kit must overcome the challenges posed by her decision. When disaster strikes the Moonstone Maternity Home not once, but twice, even Kit’s faith in herself is tested. It’s only by going back—into her family history, into her in-laws’ past, into her own failings—that Kit can move forward.

Topics & Questions for Discussion

1. When Monsoon Summer opens, we’re given a portrait of a crumbling British e see more

More Books from this Author

Jasmine Nights
Band of Angels
East of the Sun

About the Author

Julia Gregson
Alex Pownall

Julia Gregson

Julia Gregson has worked as a journalist and foreign correspondent in the UK, Australia, and the US. She is the author of East of the Sun, which was a major bestseller in the UK and won the Romantic Novel of the Year Prize and the Le Prince Maurice Prize there, and Monsoon Summer. Her short stories have been published in collections and magazines and read on the radio. She lives in Monmouthshire, Wales.

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