The debut novel from Nayana Currimbhoy, “Miss Timmins’ School For A Girls” (Harper Paperbacks, June 21, 2011) has a new fan in Thrity Umrigar, bestselling author of “The Space Between Us” and “The Weight of Heaven”. She calls this must-read book.
“An irresistible novel that illuminates a little-known subculture of India and hurls forward at breathtaking speed toward an unpredictable climax,” said Currimbhoy.
This novel set in India during the monsoon season of 1974, is part coming-of-age story, part murder mystery. Three weeks shy of her 21st birthday, Charu Apte, a conventional girl rendered “unmarriagable” in the wake of a scandal that shamed her Brahmin family, leaves her cloistered home to teach English literature at a remote boarding school in Panchgani.
Founded in 1902 for the education of British Civil Servants’ daughters whose health was too delicate for the plains, Miss Timmins’ is still run like an outpost of the Empire. Seventy years later though, it now caters to the daughters of rich Indian businessmen from Bombay.
By day Charu shares shrewsberry biscuits and tea with the school’s British missionaries and teaches Macbeth to a hothouse of privileged Indian girls; by night she finds herself drawn to the troubled, charismatic Moira Prince, a fellow teacher harboring secrets of her own. Charu soon finds herself among Moira’s band of pot-smoking Panchgani bohemians who are reveling in this new era of freedom and self-expression.
Then, one monsoon night, a body is found murdered at the base of the cliffs near the school, sending shockwaves through the community. When Charu finds herself a prime suspect, her real education begins. Ultimately, Miss Timmins’ School For A Girls is the tale of a shy young woman who starts out seeking love and ends up finding freedom against all odds and under a most unusual set of circumstances.
Currihmbhoy’s childhood inspired the vivid real-life setting of Miss Timmins’ School For A Girls. She successfully weaves into her suspenseful, hilarious and tender story the musical hits and colorful hippie trends that made this time so recognizable to American readers, making her soon-to-be-talked-about debut novel ideal for feature attention.
Nayana Currimbhoy was raised in India where she attended an all-girls boarding school in Panchgani. She has been living in the U.S. since 1981 and writing about architecture and design since 1984. She runs a business specializing in traditional Indian stone carving, was Special Features Editor at Interiors magazine, and is a regular contributor to Interiors, Architectural Record, and Times of India.
Currimbhoy holds a master’s degree in mass communications from Fairfield University and has published two books about design and one children’s biography of Indira Gandhi. She is on the board of directors for Ledig House Writers’ Residency. Currimbhoy lives in New York City with her husband and daughter.