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New book tells love story between Indian soldier & an English nurse amid WWII, devastation

Published by HarperCollins, 'Raj & Norah' by Peter R. Kohli and Shaina Kohli Russo will release on 25 February on ThePrint's SoftCover.

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New Delhi: A new book Raj & Norah, authored by father-daughter duo Peter R. Kohli and Shaina Kohli Russo, is based on the love story between an Indian soldier and an English nurse during World War II.

The book, published by HarperCollins, will be released online at 7 pm on 25 February on ‘SoftCover’, ThePrint’s e-venue to launch select non-fiction books.

“My grandparents’ true story during war and how they came to fall in love,” said Russo while announcing the book’s launch during an Instagram live session last week.

The book’s narrative, set in 1939, begins by describing how 20-year-old Rajendra Kohli, who was studying chemistry at a college in England, volunteers to fight in World War II against Germany.

During the Instagram session, Peter said his father “went back to India to join the Punjab regiment in Jhelum and from there he was sent to Egypt to fight”.

Rajendra later found himself severely injured in Italy, added Peter, and met Norah Elizabeth Eggleton, a nurse with Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service.

The two fell in love but were forced to part ways, with Rajendra getting posted to London and Eggleton to a hospital in Rome. The book narrates an account of love that was found, lost and finally reclaimed in the middle of war and devastation.

The book also includes letters that the two wrote to each other “word for word”, said Russo during the Instagram live session.

Commenting on the book, writer and oral historian Aanchal Malhotra said, “Far from a conventional war story, Raj & Norah is poised at the threshold of worlds colliding — East and West, duty and desire, love and sacrifice.”

Peter has worked in corporate firms in the US since emigrating to the country from England in 1977, where he also went to university. After leaving the business world in 2016, he has spent his time writing.

Russo graduated from Pepperdine University in California in 2013 and worked in the entertainment industry for eight years. She currently lives with her husband in Nashville, Tennessee, and is working on a novel.

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