The Wonder House is a houseboat moored on Nagin Lake in the Valley of Kashmir, on which Gracie Singh, an ageing Yorkshirewoman, has been living out her widowhood since the death of her Indian husband. She has moulded herself a new family with two Kashmiri women, Suriya and her daughter Lila, who tend to her in her dotage. Gracie has watched the valley's brutal disfigurement across the years of conflict, just as she has watched her friend and landlord, Masood Abdullah, becoming an anxious father, where once there was a laid-back, flirtatious young man. When Hal, a journalist from England, comes to interview Gracie, she invites him to move from his hotel on to her houseboat, in the unspoken hope that he will stay. But Gracie could not have anticipated Hal's infatuation for Lila, the intensity of which threatens to destroy The Wonder House and its inhabitants.
Justine Hardy has spent the past fifteen years working as a writer, journalist and a documentary maker both in and out of India. Scoop-wallah: Life on a Delhi Daily (1999) was shortlisted for the Thomas Cook Travel Award and Bollywood Boy, her book about the Bombay film industry was a bestseller on publication in 2002. The Wonder House is her first novel.