Coromandel Sea Change

Rumer Godden


This book was originally published in 1991, but reads as if it were written much earlier. We are not given the time frame in the book, but it feels timeless. It  tells the story of a young couple, Blaise and Mary Browne, who are spending their honeymoon at Patna Hall on the Coromandel coast of Indian.

At the center of the story is Auntie Sanni, owner of the hotel. She gives the sense of having seen it all and accepts everyone as she finds them. Unruffled, she takes everything with a calm sense of someone at peace with herself.

Life is not so unruffled for the young newlyweds. Blaise, in fact, is a bit of a brute. He is completely untouched by the beauty of Indian and resents his young wife’s visceral response to its charm. He especially resents her involvement with a young politician, and gives her grief for her activity in his campaign. Life in Indian can be ugly as well as beautiful, and the Brownes experience both sides.

This lovely story held my attention until the final page. I especially liked the descriptions of the physical beauty of Indian and the variety of people involved in Patna Hall.


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