“The Dream That Held US took me on an exquisite exploration if a love that crosses boundaries of time and culture.”
Angela Barton author of Arlette’s Story, Magnolia House and You’ve Got My Number
“Deeply imbued with a certain wistfulness and haunting sense of loss brought out by the end of a glorious summer… Rhiannon Jenkins Tsang’s latest novel is a sensitive and skilful exploration of love, longing, and whether life sometimes relents to give us second chances.” Osama Siddique – author of Snuffing Out the Moon
“This book carries a universal message about love and finding your way in the world. I loved it.” Angela Barton author of Arlette’s Story, Magnolia House and You’ve Got My Number
The Dream That Held Us
Another stunning Anglo-Indian love story from the author of The Last Vicereine, Penguin Random House 2017.
October 1985, Ash Misra leaves a blood-stained Delhi for Oxford University. Haunted by a terrible secret, he just wants to forget. Music and fresh violence bring him to fellow student and amateur violinist, Isabella Angus, but duty and the burden of history keep them apart. A quarter of a century later against the background of the global financial crisis, Sir Peter Roberts, former Master of Woodstock College, receives a letter from Ash for Isabella. They are no longer young but they had made a tryst with destiny; old terrors and suppressed desires return.
I was naturally drawn to the book by the Indian connection although I wasn’t sure what to expect.
Two musicians at heart, drawn to each other despite their cultural differences, Isabella and Ash had a sweet love story. But it all ended one day, when he, like many Indian men chose to respond to pressure from his family to marry an Indian girl of their choice. Isabella, naturally, feels terribly let down and ends all contact with him. But deep inside, she still carries the dream of their love, and is curious to see whether he will live up to his promise to meet her 25 years later.
In the years since they parted, Ash has become a cynical man having many love affairs and not following his musical passion. Isabella is married and has two sons and a career in art that is taking off. However, she and her husband, Tony, now seem disconnected with him increasingly travelling abroad on work.
While the love story of Isabella and Ash forms part of the story, for me, the important thread was Isabella’s journey from a young girl in who was hurt in love to a mature artist and mother, who is afraid yet open to possibilities, vulnerable yet strong and continues to keep the dream of love alive within her.
The author’s style of story telling and the characters including the old Headmaster were very engaging.
Buy The Book
Meet The Author
Rhiannon Jenkins Tsang is a British author whose work focuses on cultural and historical fault lines and has strong international themes. Rhiannon was born and grew up in Yorkshire and has studied, lived and worked in Europe and Asia. She read Oriental Studies (Chinese) at Oxford University and speaks Mandarin and Cantonese. Rhiannon lives in a former farmhouse in rural England with her family.
Her other works include the novels The Woman Who Lost China, Open Books 2013; The Last Vicereine, Penguin Random House 2017 and a Short Story Anthology – Hong Kong Noir, Akashic Books 2019