With only two more days until the publication and release of my debut novel A Straight Path this coming Friday. I’m busy finalising everything and battling with any lasting paranoia that lingers prompting me to fret whether I’ve got everything done and dusted. That the i’s are all dotted and the t’s all crossed. Now I thought I’d welcome you into my world and to the world of A Straight Path, my story.
A while ago I posted a family-tree of the main characters of the main family featured in the novel – the Greene family and now’s the time to get a better feel for them.* Warning may contain spoilers! *
With just a few pics thrown in for viewing pleasure.
As a wife and a mother she couldn’t be happier. She has four healthy and happy children and four grandchildren. She is married to a good man who loves her and who would never hurt her. But as a woman she is lost. She loves and cares deeply for her husband, but she is not in love with him. Somewhere down the line, love either disappeared or was never really there to begin with. Anne never felt comfortable with the all-encompassing, full-hearted, can’t-live-without-you love. She was a sensible girl who turned into a sensible woman and she was content to be so. But after years of being constantly belittled by the dreaded Aunt Margaret, her sister-in-law, who for her, Anne could never do anything right, she welcomes the attention reaped upon her by the exotic and handsome servant Manik. She gives into temptation and succumbs to her baser needs and desires. She splits her life in two. The first as a wife and mother, sister and home-maker. The second as a lover. It is here where the story really begins. It is these two separate lives that Anne must learn to balance or risk merging the two with potentially disastrous consequences. The Mutiny spells trouble for her ordered life.
My initial inspiration for Anne’s character was after reading countless stories in novels and watching them unfold on the screen, was that the wife has to be ‘trapped in a loveless marriage, doomed by her husband’s violence and forced to live in fear of her safety and her sanity….and so on’. And while people don’t – generally – seek out affairs when their relationships are happy, I wondered why they always had to be trapped in a usually violent or demeaning relationship. Anne respects and cares for her husband, she loves him as a friend and companion and is generally happy with him. He has given her a happy, stable life and four wonderful children. But there’s a fire in Anne’s heart that cannot be quelled by George.
[The Relief of Lucknow]
James is not mentioned in the blurb but is an equally key figure. He is the husband of Anne’s eldest daughter Georgina and a captain in the EIC (East India Company) army. His duties have recently seen him fighting against the Chinese in the First Opium War and upon his return to India is working his way through the ranks of the British army overseeing part of the infantry in Agra, when the Mutiny breaks out and he is called to duty to quell the rebels. He is a family man whose views are, on the whole, liberal and this reflects how I wrote him with his dealings with the rebels during the Mutiny.
The Rest of the Greene family…
Retired army officer and fledging businessman during his retirement. He spends his hours mostly at his leisure, in his study amongst his books and his ledgers, at the Club discussing politics and brandy with other ‘gentlemen’ or engaged in other leisure pursuits like shooting or tiger hunting. His leisure hours are spent away from the company of his wife. Both their times are perfectly in tune, if not spent together.
Anne and George’s eldest child and daughter. Wife of James. Mother of Isabelle and Elizabeth.
Anne’s second child. Married to Edward. Mother of twins.
Anne’s third child and eldest son. Self-determined bachelor. Bookworm. Lay-about. Indecisive. Know it all.
The youngest child and youngest son. Tarred with the ‘baby of the family’ brush. Determined to become a man, while still grappling with the continued presence of youth.
George’s sister. Spinster. Somewhat bitter and slighting. Believes she has the family’s best interests at heart. Sometimes cold and cruel.
[East India Company seal]
Is an Indian sepoy soldier. He has long-held animosities against the British, as many Bengal sepoys did at the time and before the Mutiny. Stationed near Meerut when the Mutiny breaks out. He holds animosities for personal reasons (which are revealed in the novel and not here – no spoilers here), and obviously national anger for many reasons including lack of promotion opportunities, fear of possible Christianisation and the British bringing the final end of the Mughal Empire (even though coming to an end in itself). He is a brave and skilled warrior whose heart is most definitely in the right place. His animosities held for the British do little to highlight Karim’s national pride and sense of honour that is ingrained into his very being. Throughout the Mutiny, Karim finds himself battling with demons from his past and from his actions in the present. He is a good man. Brave, loyal, passionate, nationalistic, troubled and filled with self-doubt.