The Road Back

“A splendid love story, so beautifully told.” Colin Dexter O.B.E.


When Patricia accompanies her father, Major George Carstairs, on a trip to Ladakh, north of the Himalayas, in the early 1960s, she sees it as a chance to finally win his love. What she could never have foreseen is meeting Kalden – a local man destined by circumstances beyond his control to be a monk, but fated to be the love of her life.

Despite her father’s fury, the lovers are determined to be together, but can their forbidden love survive?

A wonderful story about a passion that crosses cultures, a love that endures for a lifetime, and the hope that can only come from revisiting the past.


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The Road Back has been described ‘as a sumptuous tale of love and adventure in the sweeping and little-known backdrop of Ladakh, north of the Himalayas … which throws together two people from radically different cultures with explosive results.’

The two cultures are those of Patricia, born in London in the fifties to a family overwhelmed by a tragedy that befell them at the time of Patricia’s birth, and Kalden, born in the fifties in a small village in Ladakh, to a family which loved him, but which didn’t value him in the way that his three older brothers were valued.

When Patricia, aged 18, accompanies her father on his return trip to Ladakh, she sees this as a chance to step out from the shadow of her dead brother, James, and finally win her father’s love. What she doesn’t expect to do is meet Kalden – a local man destined to be a monk, but fated to be the love of her life.

Their story is the story of a passion that crosses cultures and of a love that lasts for ever.

THE ROAD BACK was published by Choc Lit in September, 2012

Ladakh in Summer. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons


Ladakh, Kashmir and Jammu. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Those who read the first blog that I wrote for Choc Lit’s Author’s Corner on 9th January, 2012, will already know what inspired me to write The Road Back. But I hope they will forgive me for re-telling my moment of inspiration for the benefit of those who didn’t read that posting.

Until fairly recently, I’d never heard of Ladakh. I had a rough idea of the location of the Himalayas, and of where I’d find Tibet, but I had no idea of the name of the country that lay somewhere between the two. The first time I heard Ladakh mentioned was three years ago when my cousin, who now lives in Australia, asked me to help her to find a home for an album that her father, my late uncle, had compiled after a visit he made to Ladakh in the mid 1940s.

During the time that he’d been stationed with the army in North India, my uncle had managed to get one of the few authorised passes to visit Ladakh. Upon his return to England, he’d assembled the photos and notes into an album, and he passed this on to his daughters.

The album is now in the Indian Room of the British Library, on Euston Road. When it was brought to England by friends of my cousin, I collected it from their hotel, and in the two weeks before I handed it over to the British Library, I read the album from cover to cover… and I fell in love with Ladakh.

Ladakh Journal 1Ladakh Journal 2

From the moment that I read the album, I knew that I had to set my next novel in Ladakh. My uncle’s album, therefore, full of fascinating details and description, was both my inspiration for the novel, and also the starting point for an absorbing journey at the end of which I had come to know this lovely, very interesting country.