Thursday, June 23, 2011

TLC Blog Tour-Miss Timmins' School for Girls, Nayana Currimbhoy

Nayana Currimbhoy
Harper Collins Publisher
June 12, 2011


Mystery lovers will discover this debut author’s fine skill as a mystery writer edgy and dramatic, but it takes a tenacious reader to find out. This novel had a slow beginning for me that would benefit from some serious edits. There is too much time and emphasis on Charulata’s family life with little relationship to the plot.  The beginning is wordy and requires frequent reference for translations available in a glossary at the back of the book. However, having said that I still recommend Miss Timmins’ School for Girls
because it has a dynamic second half.

Fortunately midway the pace suddenly changes with an uplifting point of view change.  Through Nanadita’s voice the author’s skill morphs into an entirely different style, adding a new spark.  Like the promise of a sunny dawn it has brilliance, color and energy that emerges with the introduction of the “Rule Breakers Club”. 

There are so many seemingly unrelated and insignificant characters as the story begins. It is hard to sort out the many characters within the school, the staff, the students and family. Names, names, names. At times keeping everyone straight is confusing.I found it hard to get to know most of the characters where I could empathize with them. However, Nanadita was my favorite student. At first she challenges Charulata but becomes her advocate as circumstances unravel. 

It is fascinating how the author begins to superimpose a multi-layered map of everyones lives that merges into a complex novel of mystery and suspicion.  “The seemingly unrelated and insignificant characters” make sense. Doubt hovers like a fine fog that settles and won’t budge. Even when the story ends you will never be too sure.  A riddle that will leave the most ardent puzzle solver hanging makes Miss Timmins’ School for Girls a worthwhile read and notable debut.  

Publisher Synopsis and Press

A murder at a British boarding school in the hills of western India launches a young teacher on the journey of a lifetime
In 1974, three weeks before her twenty-first birthday, Charulata Apte arrives at Miss Timmins’ School for Girls in Panchgani. Shy, sheltered, and running from a scandal that disgraced her Brahmin family, Charu finds herself teaching Shakespeare to rich Indian girls in a boarding school still run like an outpost of the British Empire. In this small, foreign universe, Charu is drawn to the charismatic teacher Moira Prince, who introduces her to pot-smoking hippies, rock ‘n’ roll, and freedoms she never knew existed.
Then one monsoon night, a body is found at the bottom of a cliff, and the ordered worlds of school and town are thrown into chaos. When Charu is implicated in the murder—a case three intrepid schoolgirls take it upon themselves to solve—Charu’s real education begins. A love story and a murder mystery, Miss Timmins’ School for Girls is, ultimately, a coming-of-age tale set against the turbulence of the 1970s as it played out in one small corner of India.

About Nayana Currimbhoy

Nayana Currimbhoy was raised in India where she attended an all-girls boarding school in a fairly remote hill station. She moved to the U.S. in the early eighties, and has been a businesswoman and a freelance writer. She has written books, film scripts, and articles about many things, including architecture and design, and a biography of  India Gandhi. Miss Timmins School for Girls is her first novel. Nayana lives in New York City with her husband, an architect, and their teenage daughter.

© [Wisteria Leigh] and [Bookworm's Dinner], [2008-2011].


Brooke from The Bluestocking Guide said...

I'm going to have to check this one out!!

Anonymous said...

I love the idea of doubt as a fog that won't go away. What a great review!

Thanks for being a part of the tour.

wisteria said...

Brooke...It is one of those books that I was glad I stuck with. It is a debut and the author has much to be proud of. :)

heathertic....Thanks for your lovely comment. I was happy to participate on this one. Especially now that I'm feeling better.

scarlet said...

I surely would check this out. Did you know that through sending your female teens in girls boarding school is quite effective for troublesome female teens? Well I guess you have to check it yourself here.