Sophie James Novels

‘She didn’t mention any family. I mean, only her son.’

‘What was it her husband does again?’ asked the Rani.

Manju quickly glanced at Pavna. They had agreed not tell the Rani their suspicions about the girl – whose emails had never mentioned a husband or even a partner, not even when they were asked by Manju in an email.

Manju had supposed she was divorced but Pavna who had seen more of the world than her daughter-in-law, had thought it was something worse than that. Something that neither of them could really understand or would want to – something foreign.

She had lived with her husband in Washington for eight wonderful years at the Embassy and they had met people whose lives would never translate well back into little Jaipur. Before she could answer her husband had slapped down the newspaper on the table.

How typical, she thought, he had been listening to every word. After thirty-five years of marriage he still caught her off her guard.



‘It doesn’t matter what her husband or her lover does, if she has one, so long as she’s not a lesbian. I don’t mind them of course, so long as she doesn’t bring women into my house, under my roof. I’m sure we will find her different. Western women are so different. So long as we give her a good welcome. We must be cheerful but firm.’

He looked hard at Pavna.

She knew he resented her having even got this woman here – if she showed – and if anything went wrong, she would get all the blame of course. She had primed all the servants, as much as she could, though sometimes she felt she had no control over them either. She had talked extensively about the flat and the girl to Manju, who was the only person at all she had any power over.

‘We must not go over the top,’ Pavna now added cautiously remembering their parties at Washington and how he liked to impress their foreign guests with his capacity to drink and tell colorful and not entirely true stories about home. He always gave them what he thought they liked to hear.