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Flowers in the Blood

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Bestselling author Gay Courter outdoes herself with this exotic, richly textured epic novel about a Jewish family in Victorian India. Colorful and compelling, it brings to life a world never before portrayed as it tells the dramatic and stormy tale of Dinah Sassoon's quest for love and justice. Bestselling author Gay Courter outdoes herself with this exotic, richly textured epic novel about a Jewish family in Victorian India. Colorful and compelling, it brings to life a world never before portrayed as it tells the dramatic and stormy tale of Dinah Sassoon's quest for love and justice.


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Bestselling author Gay Courter outdoes herself with this exotic, richly textured epic novel about a Jewish family in Victorian India. Colorful and compelling, it brings to life a world never before portrayed as it tells the dramatic and stormy tale of Dinah Sassoon's quest for love and justice. Bestselling author Gay Courter outdoes herself with this exotic, richly textured epic novel about a Jewish family in Victorian India. Colorful and compelling, it brings to life a world never before portrayed as it tells the dramatic and stormy tale of Dinah Sassoon's quest for love and justice.

30 review for Flowers in the Blood

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jennefer

    At a very young age Dinah Sassoon finds her mothers body brutally murdered by her lover and as a result Dinah's position in her family and community is forever changed. Being the daughter of a cheating, weak willed, opium addict who came to her ends in such a violent way leads the rest of her Jewish community to see her in a different light. Her life has been touched by the evil-eye and she is likely to follow in her mothers footsteps. Poor un-marriageable Dinah has to fight for her happiness. S At a very young age Dinah Sassoon finds her mothers body brutally murdered by her lover and as a result Dinah's position in her family and community is forever changed. Being the daughter of a cheating, weak willed, opium addict who came to her ends in such a violent way leads the rest of her Jewish community to see her in a different light. Her life has been touched by the evil-eye and she is likely to follow in her mothers footsteps. Poor un-marriageable Dinah has to fight for her happiness. She lives with the memory of her mother whom she dearly loved and the knowledge that her killer is still free while she also struggles with the fact that her family makes its wealth from the opium trade, a drug that helped lead to her mothers downfall. This book really grabbed me from the very first page and kept me in its clutches until the very last. The characters are well developed, their struggles are very real and understandable. The characters grow and change as the story progresses. The story is tightly plotted and the narrative really moves along, not a dull spot in sight! I can't say enough good things about how much I enjoyed reading this! Buuuuuut...... This is one of the books where the ending just came too easily. The story is written in first person from Dinahs point of view looking back on her life, and you are told right from the beginning that she gets revenge on her mothers killer. When it happens, its just so anti-climatic. It's almost incidental to the rest of the story. Throughout the story you are kind of lead to believe that all the events she goes through, and all the experience she gains will help her bring her mothers killer to justice. But that's not how it happens, its almost accidental and Dinnah really had next to nothing to do with it other that she is there when it happens. And then all of a sudden her mothers killer being brought to justice somehow magically wraps up some of the other loose ends at the end of the book. The fact that this guy dies somehow helps bring an end to the family's business negotiations. It's explained, but it just seems too easy. They were having all this trouble negotiating with the Chinese and all of a sudden because this one guy is dead everything falls into place! *Poof!* Even her marriage struggles are all resolved all on their own without her really having to communicate with her husband. She just goes on a business trip and comes home to a perfect marriage! *Poof!* It's a solid 4 star read! I nearly have it 5 stars anyway! Great read! I enjoyed the history of the Jews living in India. I enjoyed the history about the opium trade. Dinah is a wonderful character with strengths and weaknesses. Just a wonderful book! Really! I can't say enough how much I enjoyed reading this! I just wish the ending was a bit stronger. It would have been nice if the events of Dinahs life had been what helped the story come to an end instead of it just kind of happening around her.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sharon

    Gay Courter's "Flowers in the Blood"is a well-researched novel about India's lucrative opium trade during the 19th century, and a powerful Jewish family in the business. Based on actual events, Courter tells the story of the Sassoon's family through the eyes of eldest daughter Dinah. Beginning with the murder of her mother when Dinah is a small child and wending through adolescence, a disastrous arranged marriage and subsequent divorce, another marriage and becoming a successful businesswoman in Gay Courter's "Flowers in the Blood"is a well-researched novel about India's lucrative opium trade during the 19th century, and a powerful Jewish family in the business. Based on actual events, Courter tells the story of the Sassoon's family through the eyes of eldest daughter Dinah. Beginning with the murder of her mother when Dinah is a small child and wending through adolescence, a disastrous arranged marriage and subsequent divorce, another marriage and becoming a successful businesswoman in her own right, Dinah's story is universally appealing. There are some frank discussions of the opium trade, which was legal at the time, and addiction, and some sexual situations. Nothing was gratuitous, and the situations advance the story line well. Highly recommended for those who enjoy historical fiction.

  3. 5 out of 5

    ♥ℳelody

    A Jewish family in India? Fuck yes.

  4. 5 out of 5

    linda

    this is an interesting story about Jews in India and the opium trade. it is the story of the very wealthy sasoon family. i liked the author's writing style. i would have given it 5 stars but i felt it was too long and found the constant explanations of the indian words a bit annoying. this is an interesting story about Jews in India and the opium trade. it is the story of the very wealthy sasoon family. i liked the author's writing style. i would have given it 5 stars but i felt it was too long and found the constant explanations of the indian words a bit annoying.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Emily Murphy

    I absolutely loved this book. It was a book club choice and I really wasn't interested in reading it. However, I started it, and before long it was difficult to put it down. It's a lengthy book, filled with wonderful details, and I learned more about the opium trade in late 19th century India than I ever knew I would be interested in. I am very impressed with the author's in depth research of Jewish family lives in Calcutta during this time. The story is based on an actual murder in Calcutta, an I absolutely loved this book. It was a book club choice and I really wasn't interested in reading it. However, I started it, and before long it was difficult to put it down. It's a lengthy book, filled with wonderful details, and I learned more about the opium trade in late 19th century India than I ever knew I would be interested in. I am very impressed with the author's in depth research of Jewish family lives in Calcutta during this time. The story is based on an actual murder in Calcutta, and the characters are developed around this shocking event. The reader is immersed in Dinah's life as we journey with her from her lonely childhood to her eventual head of a very successful family. We see her being rejected as a suitable wife for the sons of Calcutta's desirable Jewish families, to an unsatisfactory marriage ending in divorce, to her finding the love of her life. It is a book that stays with me, even now. Today I ordered several more books by this author and look forward to reading more of her work.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Marion Friedman

    This saga gets high marks for its exotic setting - the Jewish community in India in the late 19th century, its revelations about the prominent role of some Jewish families in the opium trade and for telling its story through the eyes of a female protagonist, Dinah Sassoon. But it is weakened by veering too close to melodrama in some instances and belaboring financial details of the opium trade in others. Plus, I could never quite believe one key plot point. Character development was also a littl This saga gets high marks for its exotic setting - the Jewish community in India in the late 19th century, its revelations about the prominent role of some Jewish families in the opium trade and for telling its story through the eyes of a female protagonist, Dinah Sassoon. But it is weakened by veering too close to melodrama in some instances and belaboring financial details of the opium trade in others. Plus, I could never quite believe one key plot point. Character development was also a little disappointing. Dinah's emotional responses and inner voice barely mature through the course of the novel, and certain other key characters lack depth. Nevertheless, this tale is compelling, with many entertaining moments. Ultimately, I was glad for what I learned of the Jews in Calcutta and Darjeeling.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Shira Reiss

    My husband and I read this 600+ page book aloud while we were traveling and enjoyed it very much. We enjoyed learning about the Baghdadi Jewish community in Calcutta, Cochin and Darjeeling in India in the late 1800's; the customs, the history, the relationship with the Hindu population and the role that the Sassoon family played with the opium trade to China. The main character, Dina is a very fascinating figure. We laughed at the Harlequinesque scenes of sex and romance: "his bronzed body and c My husband and I read this 600+ page book aloud while we were traveling and enjoyed it very much. We enjoyed learning about the Baghdadi Jewish community in Calcutta, Cochin and Darjeeling in India in the late 1800's; the customs, the history, the relationship with the Hindu population and the role that the Sassoon family played with the opium trade to China. The main character, Dina is a very fascinating figure. We laughed at the Harlequinesque scenes of sex and romance: "his bronzed body and chiseled chin", etc since it was not effective nor necessary for the likability of the characters and plot. We enjoyed the intimate portrait of the events which unfolded in India and China. They were vividly drawn and compelling.

  8. 4 out of 5

    David L.

    If I had the talent to write fiction and could w rite in any genre I desired, I'd pick historic fiction and would want to handle my exotic subjectmatter as adroitly as Gay Courter does in this novel. A Baghdaadi Jewish family's entanglement in the opium trade is intricately detailed along with bits about the world of 19th-century India. I mentioned this book in my A Year in the Life of a Blind Bibliophile as an example of the kind of sweeping historic fiction I most enjoy reading or listening to If I had the talent to write fiction and could w rite in any genre I desired, I'd pick historic fiction and would want to handle my exotic subjectmatter as adroitly as Gay Courter does in this novel. A Baghdaadi Jewish family's entanglement in the opium trade is intricately detailed along with bits about the world of 19th-century India. I mentioned this book in my A Year in the Life of a Blind Bibliophile as an example of the kind of sweeping historic fiction I most enjoy reading or listening to. I must find out if this author is still writing and if her agent is still an Episcopal priest as I learned while finishing a nonfiction book she wrote about being a court appointed guardian.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Judy Bart

    Almost 5 stars but towards the end it bogged down a bit, but that is just a bit in a very long epic tale. The story of a Jewish woman living in Calcutta in the late 1800's, this book combines both Jewish and Indian rituals and opens us up to the very large and influential Jewish-Indain community there. It's chock full of facts, descriptions, history and the inner workings of the opium trade. We follow Dinah, a bright and precocious child as she develops into a tough young adult, very daring for Almost 5 stars but towards the end it bogged down a bit, but that is just a bit in a very long epic tale. The story of a Jewish woman living in Calcutta in the late 1800's, this book combines both Jewish and Indian rituals and opens us up to the very large and influential Jewish-Indain community there. It's chock full of facts, descriptions, history and the inner workings of the opium trade. We follow Dinah, a bright and precocious child as she develops into a tough young adult, very daring for a woman of her time. I couldn't get my nose out of the book. I highly recommend.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Gina Anstee

    A very interesting discovery in to the world of the Anglo Indians and the opium trade. A love story and historical novel that makes for an easy read. Was so fascinated by the Jewish Indians that I wasn't until now familiar with A very interesting discovery in to the world of the Anglo Indians and the opium trade. A love story and historical novel that makes for an easy read. Was so fascinated by the Jewish Indians that I wasn't until now familiar with

  11. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    Loved it! Didn't know much about the existence of Jews in India. Sure learned about it in this historical fiction! Loved it! Didn't know much about the existence of Jews in India. Sure learned about it in this historical fiction!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lorena

    Time to reread this book, many years after having picked it up! I still remember how this saga, set in India in the 19th C, gripped me. This wealth of history lends a glimpse into India's Baghdadi Jewish community, as well as a peek at fortunes made by opium and tea commerce. The fictional world of Dinah Sassoon, born to an affluent household of merchant traders, was very compelling. Time to reread this book, many years after having picked it up! I still remember how this saga, set in India in the 19th C, gripped me. This wealth of history lends a glimpse into India's Baghdadi Jewish community, as well as a peek at fortunes made by opium and tea commerce. The fictional world of Dinah Sassoon, born to an affluent household of merchant traders, was very compelling.

  13. 5 out of 5

    N

    Just a line to say that this book, which I read decades ago, set me on a path of interest in the nexus of Jew + India + Opium. It has a significance for me much more now than when I read it. I was struck with Jennefer's comment - *poof*. The author is falling back on the age-old device of Deus ex Machina, that dates back to Aeschylus and Greek Drama. Just a line to say that this book, which I read decades ago, set me on a path of interest in the nexus of Jew + India + Opium. It has a significance for me much more now than when I read it. I was struck with Jennefer's comment - *poof*. The author is falling back on the age-old device of Deus ex Machina, that dates back to Aeschylus and Greek Drama.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    An enjoyable saga that held my interest throughout its many pages. At times the narrative was overly wordy, but didn't detract from my enjoyment of the story. I also learned a lot about the Jews of India. An enjoyable saga that held my interest throughout its many pages. At times the narrative was overly wordy, but didn't detract from my enjoyment of the story. I also learned a lot about the Jews of India.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sary

    a beautiful, albeit, long tale of the Jews in Victorian India and the opium trade. Romance, adventure, feminism, culture, and religion. I learned an incredible amount about a time and a place I knew little to nothing about.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Darlene Zimmermann

    Family history chronicled The plot was slow to unravel..but unravel it did...page-turner , gripping love story..romance, sex and twists and turns all bound together by historical fiction and the opium trade...exotic and educational.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Tracey S Choat

    Fascinating I really enjoyed this book. I love reading history and this book is full of interesting information about a Jewish familyin India, the Opium Wars, the Opium trade, and the tea industry during the late 1800's. Fascinating I really enjoyed this book. I love reading history and this book is full of interesting information about a Jewish familyin India, the Opium Wars, the Opium trade, and the tea industry during the late 1800's.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Arlene Handler

    Wonderful book In spite of its length, it was a compelling book to read. The story was fascinating and the history of the Indian Jews was wonderful. Ms Courter put it all together so beautifully that it was not a difficult read. It kept your interest!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lynette Lark

    Interesting look at poppy cultivation.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Paula Bennett

    loved it. writing style and story line!!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    Recommended by a real reader, this book was captivating. A bit long but I wanted to read it at all times. A great long plane read!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Pamela Levine

    4 & 1/2 stars about the opium trade quite interesting

  23. 4 out of 5

    Tyree Wieder

    Interesting story about opuim trade in the early 1800 from a Jewish family in India

  24. 5 out of 5

    Pam Warner

    Loved the story. Books was way too long and too wordy.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Rennie

    A virtually unknown bit of Jewish history that is well worth reading for all.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Barbara Liberman

    Loved about the Sassoon family n India

  27. 4 out of 5

    Shari

    I loved this book. A sweeping saga filled with fascinating history and intriguing characters. I never knew about the Jews of Calcutta. I really didn't want it to end I loved this book. A sweeping saga filled with fascinating history and intriguing characters. I never knew about the Jews of Calcutta. I really didn't want it to end

  28. 4 out of 5

    Terri

    Great historical fiction about the Jews in India and the opium trade.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    Nope. Didn't finish. Nope. Didn't finish.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Pat Rainey-sherman

    Eye opening Always wondered how and why opium was easily obtained in the early 1900’s. A different side of Indian life is presented.

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