The Girl from Cobb Street

Written by Merryn Allingham
Review by E.M. Powell

Growing up in an orphanage on East London’s Cobb Street, Daisy Driscoll has had to make her own way in the world. The book opens in 1938, as Daisy is arriving in Bombay, having travelled halfway across the world to marry her fiancé, Gerald Mortimer. Gerald is a handsome cavalry subaltern in the Indian Army, but Daisy’s dreams of happiness are soon shattered. Gerald is not all he claims to be and, as he leads her along a path of danger and scandal, Daisy must find the strength within herself to get through her darkest hour.

It was slightly odd that the publisher chose to give this book a cover of an East End street, as the entire book is set in India. That would be the only quibble that I would have with what is a very well-crafted novel. Daisy is a likeable and courageous heroine, with an intriguing backstory that isn’t fully revealed (there are two more books in the series). Allingham does a superb job in portraying colonial India through the eyes of an outsider, with the beauty and challenges of the country along with its political and social complexities.

Daisy’s struggles to come to terms with her new life and marriage are engrossing. There is also a hefty dollop of intrigue in the novel, with an atmospheric building of tension and danger. Allingham skilfully sustains and builds the suspense through the book, and there are twists and surprises along the way. The ending leaves some questions, which will presumably be answered in the next two books. An enjoyable read from a talented author in command of her genre.