Emeralds Included

Written by Betsy Woodman
Review by Elena Maria Vidal

The third and latest novel in the delightful series by Betsy Woodman, Emeralds Included, follows the further adventures of Jana Bibi, also known as “Mrs. Laird,” in the Himalayan village where she lives in a mansion inherited from her eccentric Scottish grandfather. Jana awaits a visit from her grown son, Jack, who is coming from Scotland with his Hungarian fiancée, Katarina. The blend of various cultures in early 1960s India adds to the enthrallment of the story which, for all its charm and humor, explores some serious issues. Jana must scramble to find the money for much-needed repairs to the house while dealing with the disastrous school experiences of her ward, Tilku, and the grumpiness of her maid and housekeeper, Mary. In the meantime, she must also face the losses of her past and the potential for happiness in her future, by taking risks and reaching out to the world. Surprises abound by means of Woodman’s marvelous storytelling and colorful characters.