Return to Mandalay by Rosanna Ley
Eva Gatsby has often wondered about her grandfather Lawrence's past, and exactly what happened to him in Burma during the Second World War. But it is only when Eva's job as an antiques dealer suddenly requires a trip to Mandalay that Lawrence finally breaks his silence and asks her to return a mysterious artifact of his own - a chinthe - to its rightful owner.
As Eva arrives in Burma her mission soon proves dangerously complicated, and the treasure she is guarding becomes the centre of a scandal that will have far-reaching consequences. Caught between loyalty and integrity, Eva is determined to find the truth about her grandfather's past, of her own family origins, and of the red-eyed chinthe itself - enigmatic symbol of the riches of Mandalay.
Well this was the first book I have read by Rosanna Ley and I cannot wait to read her others!
Our story begins in Bristol, England where we meet Eva Gatsby who repairs and restores old pieces of furniture in The Bristol Antiques Emporium. Her employers ask her to travel to Mandalay to verify some antiques but before Ava travels to Burma she is summoned by her grandfather, who needs her to do something very important to him. He gives Eva a 'chinthe' which has travelled between two different worlds. Eva is determined to find out everything about her grandfathers past.
Rosanna keeps us engrossed by not only switching between characters but between the past and present too so we really grasp each characters history. Especially in the case of Eva's mother, Rosemary who played a pivotal role in the novel. We get a sense of sadness, that life has been hard for Rosemary including loosing her husband and of the struggled relationship she has with Eva and her father.
This was such a gorgeous story and Rosanna is an incredible storyteller. I have completely fallen in love with Return to Mandalay. The descriptions of Asia were magnificent - it was almost like we were travelling with Eva, seeing the same sights, smelling the same scents. She really brought the country and the people alive on the page.
This is a must read!