The Tree Bride
Present and past entwine in The Tree Bride as Tara Chatterjee, a modern Indian woman living in America, seeks the truth behind her family’s stories and traditions. Investigating the story of her ancestress Tara Lata, who in 1879 was married at the age of five to a tree —an act that freed her rather than binding her to a human husband’s demands—the modern Tara also discovers other stories of the long-vanished Raj. Through the lives of Tara Lata, the Englishman John Mist, and others who created and destroyed in British India, Tara Chatterjee learns that truth and tradition are not always what they seem.
As always, Mukherjee’s writing is elegant and evocative, and sweeps her readers into whatever time and place she wishes to take them. (However, some of the details were less than accurate: I’m sure Mukherjee did not actually intend to imply the Black Hole of Calcutta incident took place during 1857.) Those who read Desirable Daughters will recognize Tara Chatterjee from that novel, and will be glad to meet her again.