This reading group guide for The Sandalwood Tree includes an introduction, discussion questions--with special commentary from the author, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Elle Newmark. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.INTRODUCTION
Martin and Evie Mitchell are Americans, living with their small son in an Indian village in the Himalayas in 1947, the infamous year of India’s war of Partition. Martin, a historian, is there on a Fulbright Fellowship to complete his Ph.D. thesis on Partition. But as a Jewish veteran of World War II, his demons have followed him to India, and he and Evie are growing further and further apart.
In their colonial bungalow, Evie unearths a packet of letters written by two Victorian women between 1855 and 1856. The letters hint at scandal and drama, but they are damaged and incomplete. They offer just enough information to intrigue Evie, and she decides to find out what happened to them. Since she and Martin are trapped in a remote hill station, unable to travel because of the unrest surrounding Partition, Evie has plenty of time to go sleuthing.
Her search leads her through the temples and bazaars of India as well as through the dying society of the British Raj, and she