When Patricia accompanies her father, Major George Carstairs, on a trip to Ladakh, north of the Himalayas, in the early 1960s, she sees it as a chance to finally win his love. What she could never have foreseen is meeting Kalden – a local man destined by circumstances beyond his control to be a monk, but fated to be the love of her life.
Despite her father’s fury, the lovers are determined to be together, but can their forbidden love survive?
A wonderful story about a passion that crosses cultures, a love that endures for a lifetime, and the hope that can only come from revisiting the past.
Romantic Historical Fiction/mid 20thC/exotic locale
Heat rating: 1
REVIEW RATING: 4.5 stars
REVIEW BY Jill
In 1962 Patricia Carstairs visits Ladakh, a small Himalayan country west of Tibet, with her father Major George Carstairs who had spent time in Ladakh whilst stationed in India during the war. Their pony-man, guide and translator is Kalden, a young man who has learnt English from visiting missionaries. Patricia is almost eighteen, Kalden is eighteen and they fall in love.
When Patricia’s strict father finds out about the affair between his daughter and Kalden, he forbids her to see him again. Torn between duty to her father and love for Kalden, the young lovers decide to leave Ladakh together and return to England, but with tragic consequences.
Set in dual time lines – 1950/60s and 1995 – this is the debut novel for author Liz Harris. The time and place settings are unusual. Very few historicals are written in this era and I have never come across a historical set in Ladakh. Ms Harris’s descriptions of Ladakh are filled with detail of the geography and customs of the people. Liz Harris writes in that admirable, understated style that seems particular to British authors.
The story is captivating as we are taken through the protagonists’ respective childhoods in different countries. Their meeting, friendship and love story in Ladakh. And eventually to 1995, thirty-two years later in England. The romance between Kalden and Patricia is incredibly sweet and touching as we see these two young people fall desperately and irrevocably in love.
I’ve read plenty of romances, but very few real love stories. The Road Back is an absolutely beautiful story of two young people whose love will endure a lifetime, different cultures, and separation. Highly recommended.
Available at Amazon for $2.99 for e-book.