The Girl From Cobb Street
It is 1938 and Daisy Driscoll is forging a lonely path through the world, struggling to make ends meet as a sales girl in a London department store. She has been raised in an East End orphanage and has never known the warmth of a real home – something she craves. When she meets Gerald Mortimer, a cavalry subaltern on leave from the Indian Army, it seems that her dreams are about to come true. At last she has found someone of her very own to love.
But fate was never going to give her an easy ride. When she finds she is pregnant, the dream begins to disintegrate. She travels to India to marry, but discovers almost immediately that Gerald is not all that he claims. Daisy is an innocent in a wicked world, and is led down a path of deceit and danger. As the menace grows, she is forced to call on every ounce of strength and courage to survive her darkest hour.
Allingham does a superb job in portraying colonial India through the eyes of an outsider, with the beauty and challenges of the country along with its political and social complexities. Daisy is a likeable and courageous heroine and her struggles to come to terms with her new life and marriage are engrossing. There is also a hefty dollop of intrigue in the novel, with an atmospheric building of tension and danger. Allingham skilfully sustains and builds the suspense through the book, and there are twists and surprises along the way.
Historical Novel Society, May 2015