Tiger Hills, By Sarita Mandanna

Reviewed,Boyd Tonkin
Friday 07 January 2011 01:00 GMT

Chosen for the Channel 4 TV Book Club, this lavish saga may help dispel the winter gloom. A love triangle set in the lush hills of Coorg in southern India underlies a similarly undulating narrative that moves between 1878 and 1936.

The up-and-down intrigue that binds the longed-for daughter Devi, her childhood sweetheart Devanna, and the intrepid tiger-slayer Muthi, may come from familiar stock. But this novel's strength stems from its close and colourful attention to place and epoch.

Change and conflict shake the fragile equilibrium between the local coffee-growing dynasties and European settlers in these sumptuous highland landscapes. Sarita Mandanna's spectacular fusion of history and romance makes for an aromatic blend.

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