‘East of the Sun’ is best Romantic Novel!

Updated: Feb 12, 2009, 13:58 PM IST

London, Feb 12: `East of the Sun`, a delightful novel set in India of 1920s by Welsh author Julia Gregson, has been adjudged the Romantic Novel of the Year 2009.

Gregson, 61 drew inspiration for the novel from her trips to India, when she interviewed people and visited orphanages. The novel tells the story of three girls who travel to India in the 1920s.

"The last days of the British Raj in India, at a pivotal moment of its history during the ascendancy of Gandhi, were brilliantly evoked in the author`s skilled hands," the
judges, Alice O`Keeffe, Fanny Blake and Peter Crawshaw, said of the winning novel.

"I`m incredibly excited. It`s a lovely lovely honour. I didn`t even have a speech prepared because I didn`t expect it at all," Monmouthshire-based Gregson said after receiving the award.

Organised by the Romantic Novelist`s Association, the judges whittled a shortlist of six from a total of 156 entries. Other authors on the list included Cecelia Ahern, Lesley Downer, Linda Gillard, Susanna Kearsley and Judith Lennox.

"With three remarkable women at its centre, each with different flaws, strengths and voices, the novel engages the reader from the first page and never lets go, following their
various fortunes until it reaches its truly satisfying ending," the judges said.

Gregson has been a journalist and foreign correspondent reporting from Vietnam during its war years, and poverty-stricken parts of India. Her novel `East of the Sun` has sold 500,000 copies in 20 countries.

Bureau Report