This book captured my imagination and heart so completely, I found myself lingering over pages just to make the whole experience last as long as possible. When Mair clears out her father's Welsh cottage, she finds a beautiful Kashmir shawl that belonged to her grandmother Nerys. The shawl is obviously a treasure and tucked in its folds is a mysterious lock of hair.
Mair senses that both the shawl and hair are a gateway to a whole part of her grandmother's life that has been shrouded in mystery for years. So Mair goes to India to retrace the steps Nerys made when she married Evan and they set out in 1941 to be missionaries.
What happens to Nerys and why she ends up bringing a shawl and lock of hair back home to Wales are the elements of the one of the finest historical novels I have ever read.
Thomas's details of colonial India, the culture of the Kashmir territory, her research into how the traditional shawls are made, and her ability to weave it all with Mair's present-day quest make this book riveting and remarkable. I can't recommend it enough.