Sweet Violet

Written by Catherine Palmer
Review by Nancy J. Attwell

Violet Rosse, daughter of a widowed East India Company businessman, dresses, acts, and thinks more like a native Bengali than a Christian Englishwoman. When Edmund Sherbourne, a British missionary, is charged with the task of escorting Violet home to an arranged marriage in England, the mayhem that follows brings danger, confusion and, ultimately, love. But before their romance can blossom, Violet and Edmund must both shed their cultural preconceptions, and open their hearts to God.

This third book in Palmer’s English Ivy Victorian romance series introduces readers to exotic India. While the tastes and textures of the bazaar offer a stark contrast to the midwinter chill of the English moor, the joy of faith in a living God offers an equal contrast to the hopelessness of belief in karma. Unlike Palmer’s previous novels, the opening chapters of Sweet Violet are slowed by backstory and historical detail. Just when Edmund despairs of fulfilling God’s purpose for his life, and the reader despairs of finding an exciting plot, the headstrong Violet Rosse is caught up in a heart-racing adventure worthy of any Victorian heroine. Recommended with reservations.