A HUNDRED HANDS by @diannenoble1 #Kolkata #India #Travel #TuesdayBookBlog

A Hundred HandsA Hundred Hands by Dianne Noble
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A Hundred Hands is a contemporary novel set in Kolkata, India. When Polly’s husband in England is jailed as a paedophile, she can’t face the accusing looks from her local community and runs away to India. After visiting her school friend in Bhubaneswar, Polly travels to Kolkata, thinking that she will do some travelling, but she meets first Liam and then Finlay and her plans change.

Liam is a church aid worker and runs a small school for children, who come each day for free food and lessons. Finlay runs a school too, but he provides a place for the children to sleep too. Polly is drawn to help these children, by a sense of guilt over her husband. Splitting her time between the two schools, Polly teaches English six days a week.

Living conditions are terrible, fumes, poverty, filth, the street kids often feral and they fight for any hugs and attention. Constant smoke and toxic fumes give Polly a chest infection and after a fall out with Finlay she escapes to Amanda for rest and recuperation.

When her six month visa draws to an end Polly is reluctant to leave until a call from home about her Gran has her rushing to her aid, but back in England, Polly can’t settle. The local community now have a change of heart and help raise money and funds for clothes and books for the children back in India and soon Polly is heading back where she feels she belongs.

The author works really hard to fill the reader with the sights, sounds, smells and experiences of the chaos, poverty and ways of life in India. You can almost smell the noxious gases, see the scuttling cockroaches and feel the humidity and dust. A good book to get a real feel for Indian life.

Book Description

When Polly’s husband is jailed for paedophilia, she flees the village where her grandmother raised her and travels to India where she stays with her friend, Amanda.
Polly is appalled by the poverty, and what her husband had done, and her guilt drives her to help the street children of Kolkata. It’s while working she meets other volunteers, Liam and Finlay. Her days are divided between teaching the children and helping with their health needs. But when Liam’s successor refuses to let Polly continue working, she’s devastated to think the children will feel she’s abandoned them.
After a health scare of her own, she discovers her friend, Amanda, is pregnant. Amanda leaves India to have her child. At this time Polly and Finlay fall in love and work together helping the children. Tragedy strikes when one child is found beaten and another dead. Polly feels history repeating itself when Finlay becomes emotionally attached to a young girl.
Can Polly recover from her broken heart and continue to help the children, or will she give up and return home?

About the author

Dianne Noble

Born into a service family Dianne was brought up in Singapore, Cyprus and Yorkshire then went on to marry a Civil Engineer and moved to the Arabian Gulf. Since then, with sons grown and flown, she has continued to wander all over the world, keeping extensive journals of her personal experiences which she uses for her novels. Fifteen different schools and an employment history which includes The British Embassy Bahrain, radio presenter, café proprietor on Penzance seafront, and goods picker in an Argos warehouse, have resulted in rich seams to mine for inspiration.
She has always written, editing the school magazine at an early age, and over the years short stories and letters to magazines were published, but it was only on retirement that her novel Outcast was finished and accepted by Tirgearr. Another book, A Hundred Hands Outstretched, also based in India, is being edited and she is halfway through a third novel, set in Egypt. Her writing is atmospheric, steeped in the smells, sights and sounds of exotic locations. 
She lives – when not travelling – in a small, Leicestershire village. Her favourite destinations – so far – have been India and Russia, with Guatemala a close third.

Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

View all my reviews on Goodreads


OUTCAST by @dianneanoble1 #Bookreview #Contemporary #India @Tirgearr

OutcastOutcast by Dianne Noble
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Outcast is a modern contemporary read with two settings: Penzance, Cornwall and Kolkata, India. Rose begins as an overprotective, caring but chaotic café owner. The book opens with her frantic for news of her daughter, due home from a gap year in India, on a plane reported as missing.

However this isn’t where the story heads, Ellie, we discover wasn’t on the plane, she has stayed on to work with children of the Dalits (Untouchables) the lowest caste in India and those shunned by society.

Rose needs to see her daughter, to try to bridge the gap between them, to ask for forgiveness. So she hands over the running of her café to Hannah and rushes to India, with no planning, no injections and no thought as to what she may find. Some might call her brave, others silly, her one thought is to find Ellie.

But Ellie’s not particularly pleased to see her mother, she fears she’ll try to run her life for her again. If Rose wants to spend time with Ellie, then she’ll need to help. Ellie plunges Rose into the poverty, stench, crowds and extreme conditions that the Dalits exist by. Working alongside charities and volunteers who give their time, money and love to those ignored by the authorities.

Along side the story from India, the book gives us chapters from Penzance and the café. Just as the Dalits are the outcasts of society in India, we are shown of outcasts here too. Hannah’s mother Willow is a druggie and homeless, she comes to stay with Hannah, bringing with her trouble. Hannah tries hard to keep the café running to Rose’s standards and keep the customers happy.

Rose is both appalled and consumed by the treatment of different groups in India and how accepting they are of their situation. Another volunteer, Maria sums it up;

“Karma. Endure without complaint and your next life will be better”.

The writing style is very atmospheric, you definitely see, hear, smell, taste as Rose does. The pacing is fast due to an unusual use of extremely short sentences. A technique which left me constantly thinking I needed to catch up and the style is quite exhausting at times. Rose had my admiration, not everyone could be so giving to people in these situations nor expose themselves to the conditions she had to work and live in. An inspiring read.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

View all my reviews on Goodreads

#FridayBookShare OUTCAST by @dianneanoble1 #fridayreads

#FridayBookShare founded by ShelleyWilson Anyone can join in.

07 _ 10 _ 2014 (2)

With the weekend approaching it’s the perfect time to seek out new books to read, so Shelley has created a Friday Book Share game to help search for that ideal read.

Anyone can have a go – all you need to do is answer the following questions based on the book you are currently reading/finished reading this week and use the hashtag #FridayBookShare

First line of the book.

Recruit fans by adding the book blurb.

Introduce the main character using only three words.

Delightful design (add the cover image of the book).

Audience appeal (who would enjoy reading this book?)

Your favourite line/scene

I’ve just started reading OUTCAST by Dianne Noble

First line of the book.

“The minute she heart Tom’s voice Rose knew it meant trouble.”

Recruit fans by adding the book blurb.

Rose leaves her Cornwall café to search for her daughter in the sweltering slums of Kolkata, India.
In the daily struggle for survival, she is often brought to her knees, but finds strength to overcome the poverty and disease, grows to love the Dalit community she helps.
But then there are deaths, and she fears for her own safety.
Her café at home is at risk of being torched, and finally, she has to make the terrible choice between her daughter and the Indian children.

Introduce the main character using only three words.

Over protective, caring, chaotic

Delightful design (add the cover image of the book).


Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Audience appeal (who would enjoy reading this book?)

This book is labelled as a suspense thriller. It is has two settings; Cornwall and the Indian slums of Kolkata.

Your favourite line/scene

“Mrs Benson didn’t want solutions, only sympathy.”