Before the Rains – Dinah Jefferies [Review]

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Before the Rains is set in India, 1930. It follows Eliza Fraser as she is sent to the palace in Rajputana to photograph and document the lives of the royal family. While there, she meets Jay, the charming, handsome brother of the Maharajah. They awaken one another to the inequalities and injustices of both the British rule and the citizens of Rajputana. As they grow closer, it is made clearer that they will need to decide between doing what their hearts tell them, or doing what is expected of them.

 

 

Before the Rains was the first novel that I have read from Dinah Jefferies and it is already clear to me that she has a gift for storytelling. Her settings were extraordinary and very easy to visualise, her way of writing kept the reader captivated and enthralled, and it was clear that a lot of research went into the culture and history within the book. While the narrative was slow at times, there was still enough to always keep me interested in the story. I especially loved the ideas surrounding fate, destiny, and karma, with many of the characters’ stories interconnecting and colliding. Despite there being a heavy focus on the relationship between Eliza and Jay, this novel is far more than a love story. The story focuses on the socio-historical issues surrounding India in the early 20th Century under British rule, as the British attempted to belittle the rulers of India in order to gain full control.

Despite there being a heavy focus on the relationship between Eliza and Jay which may put some readers off, this novel is far more than a love story. The story focuses on the socio-historical issues surrounding India in the early 20th Century under British rule, as the British attempted to belittle the rulers of India in order to gain full control. After reading a few love stories recently, I found the historical drama of the novel refreshing and interesting.

The characters were well-written and intricate, with some easy to like such as Eliza’s faithful friend Dottie, and some easy to hate, like Chatur, the rude, manipulative advisor to the Maharajah. Eliza was a likeable character and very easy to go on this journey with. I was attracted to her ambition and courage, in a country where her widow status was likely to cause her many problems, some being truly dangerous (suttees, also known as widow burnings still occurring in India today).

Before the Rains was a wonderful book to read, one that was easily able to transport me to another place. It has also inspired me to begin more research on the culture outlined in this book, with Jefferies noting some useful sources at the end of the book. I can’t wait to read more of Dinah Jefferies’ novels and see where she takes me next.

4/5 stars.

Book Blog Newbie Tag

I have been wanting to start this for a while, so I figured that I would start things off with the Book Blog Newbie Tag that I found on Okschultz’s page (https://loveandotherbookishthings.wordpress.com/2015/03/31/book-blog-newbie-tag/).

 

1. Why did you start this blog?

Book blogging/BookTube has been something that I have been interested in starting for a while because of my love of books. Since graduating from university, I have had a lot more time (and energy) to start something like this. So I can now start seeing where this goes.

2. What are some fun and unique things that you can bring to book blogging?

Hopefully some new and interesting ideas about various books and characters. Also being a film graduate a lot of my posts might also be about films and adaptations. I get very emotionally invested in characters (I really need to work on that, my emotions have been destroyed multiple times *ahem* Brandon Sanderson).

3. What are you most excited for about this new blog?

Sharing my ideas, thoughts, and experiences and interacting with other book bloggers in this community.

4. Why do you love reading?

Is there a limit as to how much I can write for this question? I love the escapism that it can provide in so many situations. Whether you’re bored, stressed, upset, happy, or just feel like going to another place, reading is amazing. I love meeting new characters and learning more about them, I love travelling to new worlds or even staying in this world and following someone’s story. I love finding someone else who has the same love for a book that I do and discussing that book with them. I love introducing my friends to books and authors and having them introduce me to books and authors.

5. What book or series got you into reading? 

I’m not entirely sure, but it’s definitely between Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events series, responsible for getting me into long running series’ (and is responsible for my aversion to mushrooms, read The Grim Grotto to find out why), or Enid Blyton’s The Faraway Tree series, I read those books multiple times when I was younger. I loved the idea of being taken to a different world each day and the adventures that the characters would have. The books also made me wish that I lived in a rural area rather than a city so that I myself could find a magical tree that I could climb up to enter different worlds.

6. What questions would you ask your favourite authors?

I would probably ask them where they get a lot of their inspiration from. I have been writing since I was in Year 4, and as I have grown older, and time has been lacking for me to just sit down and write, my writing has dwindled and inspiration has become increasingly difficult to find.

Also, why did (x) character have to die? That was cruel of you.

7. What challenges do you think starting a blog will be the hardest to overcome? 

The biggest problem will probably be sticking with it and updating regularly. I’ll try my hardest though!

8. When did you start reading?

I’ve always been encouraged to read, for as long as I can remember. I remember in Primary School we would have a reading booklet in which we would write the reading that we had done each week and wrote comments on the book. Reading wasn’t something that a lot of my classmates liked doing, so I was seen as the geek because I really enjoyed it. That never stopped me though!

9. Where do you read?

Mostly in my room or on my sofa. I can sometimes read while my dad is watching tv in the same room, but a lot of the time I will need a quiet environment. I sometimes put a Ravenclaw common room ASMR video on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCMybQ9cG4w&t=2s while I am reading if I really want to get in the Ravenclaw mood.

I also enjoy reading outside on nice days (I live in the UK though so those days are rare). I will either go to the park or go up to this viewpoint close to my mum’s house and I will read there.

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10. What kind of books do you like to read?

I love fantasy and romance novels. I love being able to escape to a place that breaks physical boundaries with magic and mythology, but then I also love curling up with a cute love story (I’m a romantic, I can’t help it).

Well, that’s me! I hope you enjoyed reading that. I hope to post a lot more often on here.

Finding Strength Within Ourselves

For the past couple of months, I have been on a roller coaster with more ups and downs than any that I have previously been on in life. There have been some incredibly high points, for example seeing one of my favourite bands live for the first time (Tonight Alive), howeverjenna and whak there have also been some very low points. My main coping strategy when I suffer one of those low points is to hide myself away from everyone else and refuse to talk to the majority of people. There are maybe two people who I would comfortably talk about it to, one of those people being an internet friend. I tend to distance myself from everyone else, to the point where twice this week I had to leave a pub/restaurant social early without saying goodbye and walk home on my own at 11pm, because I couldn’t cope with all of the conversations taking place around me. It made me feel awful because the friends who I had known since the beginning of October 2015 I just didn’t feel comfortable around at that point and I wanted to get away from those uncomfortable feelings.

So why am I here right now writing this post? Well, I’m feeling slightly better now. The worst of this week is over and now I can move on to the next. Thinking about how I managed to get through this week is what inspired me to write this. I have been thinking about a few things I was able to do, think about, or say to myself in order to get through this. I thought I would share this on here, in the hope of encouraging someone else and help them get through their low points. So here are the points:

  1. Write a list. Though not just any list. Write a list containing EVERYTHING in the next few months that you have to look forward to. For example, my list includes me going to see another one of my favourite bands (With Confidence) in May, a holiday in July and Summer In The City in August. The points on your list can be as big or as small as you want them to be. They can include seeing your friends, going out somewhere, or something such as a film or an album release. Whatever will make you happy, write it down on that list!
  2. Whatever is going on in your life, you WILL get through it. I believe that we all have this resilience in us that allows us to fight those hardships and achieve what we want to achieve in life. If things are not immediately looking up, just keep going. Just think of those hardships as you driving through a dark tunnel. Some tunnels are longer than others. However there is always an other side which you will eventually reach. It may take some time, but you will exit that dark tunnel and come out onto a bright road with the sun shining down on you.
  3. I was thinking about stars when walking into university today. And an idea came to me. I thought about how we are all bright stars. This may sound cliche but hear me out. You may have been beaten down a lot by people or situations. However while your light may get slightly dimmer and it may feel like you’re close to shattering into a million pieces, you are still that same bright star. You are stronger than you think you are.
  4. Think about the fact that so far, you have survived and got through 100% of your worst days. There may have been times when you just wanted the floor to cave in underneath you or you just wanted to completely disappear off the face of the Earth. However, you got through it. You survived and carried on. If that doesn’t show your strength, I don’t know what will. We call ourselves weak sometimes for crying or for needing help and it may seem like anyone you went to for help were the only reason you got through that moment. But just think, while they may have aided you in your fight to get through it, it was primarily YOU that did it. Those people may have just given you a little push, but you got yourself over that last hurdle.  So by all means, ask for help. As I mentioned before, I sometimes do the same when I feel comfortable enough to. But don’t tell yourself that it was only them that dragged you through that day. You played a massive part in that. And that is why you are strong. Stronger than you realise.

 

I hope those points allowed you to think a bit more about what you can do. It is always more difficult to see our own strength than it is to see other people’s (which we most likely overestimate anyway). Just remember that while times may be hard right now, they will improve and you will be glad that you pushed yourself and reached the point where you’re at the top of that roller coaster (which is hopefully where you can stay for a very long time).

 

Don’t give up on yourselves and believe in your strength and potential.

 

Thank you so much for reading,

Lindsay x

New Year, New Resolutions

It is now 2:15am on New Years Eve and for the past week, like many other people, I have been thinking about what my new years resolutions are going to be. I always enjoy thinking these up, even if I don’t actually stick to them. I also generally like to think outside the typical resolutions that people make: eat less chocolate (let’s face it, that’s never going to happen!), eat healthier, join a gym, get up earlier to get a full day in. Those sorts of resolutions just don’t work for me personally. For others, they may be the perfect resolutions. But for me, no.

What is a resolution? The idea of them probably varies from person to person. For me, it’s setting goals for the year to do things that may not have been possible the previous year in order to bring life closer to how you want to live it. It may include a new hobby, having a more positive outlook on life, making new friends, you name it! However, there are the questions of “Why only start them now? Why dedicate one part of the year to making resolutions?” I guess it’s a case of the year is starting afresh. It seems easier to leave the previous year behind and start again. It’s a time to leave the negatives behind and focus on the positives.

My new year’s resolutions? I should get onto those, shouldn’t I? I have come up with 5 resolutions that I will try to stick to in 2016:

  1. Learn to play the ukelele – I have been meaning to get a ukelele for a while now, but worrying about disturbing my housemates by playing it at awkward times or just giving up with it. I’m determined not to give up with it though.
  2. Find other ways to vent my frustrations that are not ranting on twitter – If you follow me on twitter, you may see a lot of rants or negative tweets that just allow me to vent. This may help ME in the short term but it doesn’t really fix anything and will just bring negativity to other people’s timelines. Keeping a diary is just as effective and will keep the negativity away from other people.
  3. Be a more positive person in general – Thinking about things in a more positive way will help to give me a more positive outlook on life overall. Instead of thinking “I can’t do this”, I think “It may be a challenge, but I can find a way to get through this”.
  4. Making routines to create a better environment for me – There are times when I get very anxious about certain things. Simple things such as my housemates leaving the oven on by accident or not getting assignments done to a standard which I’m completely happy with. Making routines can help to overcome this. Going for a run a couple of times a week to relieve stress, meditation or similar techniques in the evenings, leaving an hour for reading with a hot drink before going to bed. Allowing me to relax could help to overcome some of the anxieties that I face.
  5. Meet new people – I’m the sort of person who likes to stick with the people who I’m comfortable being around, and I sometimes find it difficult to talk to different people. Finding a way to get out of my comfort zone in terms of socialising would hopefully help me to become more confident and more positive.

I hope you have a good New Year and a good 2016!

Lindsay x

A Brief Introduction

Hi! My name is Lindsay. I have finally got round to creating a blog. So I feel like I should start off with a brief introduction about myself and my blog.

Where to start. I guess I should start off by saying that I am a 19 year old film student from England. I love Disney, fantasy books and Merlin. My favourite Disney film has to be Beauty and the Beast. I just love Belle so much. I feel like I can relate to her desire to get out and have an adventure! And her love for books! Leading on to my next favourite thing. Fantasy books. My favourite series of books is the Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson (my favourite author). I don’t think I could ever get sick of reading those books.

In the way of music, it can vary a lot. Right now, I’m going through a period of loving music from the eighties more than anything else! In terms of specific bands, my favourites are Tonight Alive, Mallory Knox, With Confidence and 5 Seconds of Summer. But most of the time you’ll just find me listening to a soundtrack for a film, theatre show or a Disney film.

I guess being a film student, I should probably go into what some of my favourite films are. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is my all time favourite film and soundtrack. I also love The Hunger Games films, the Back to the Future films, Black Narcissus and Metropolis. I think I’ll need to write a post about this topic in the future.

Enough about me now, let’s talk about this blog. I’m not really sure in what direction I want to take this blog. I want to use it for my thoughts and experiences and to just talk about topics in general. I hope it will be varied in some way and will at least be sort of decent.

I’ll leave it here for now. Thank you for reading!