Author: Vandana Shanker
Star Rating: 5 stars
Goodreads: Read the Blurb here
This is not a novel nor a novelette. Having said that you need to read this short introduction to the series to fall in love with Vandana's writing.
What is it about?
Set in the period of 1857 when the British Raj was controlling the privy purses of the small kingdoms of India, a British soldier falls in love with Princess Meera. The gateway to this period is through the POV of Shiv who has found some old documents in his grandmother's old haveli. A tale that spins over time and crosses the boundaries of past and present, will keep any historical romance lovers enthralled.
But keep in mind that this story ends abruptly and you will rush to pick up the Volume 2 in the series like I am doing.
The language of the Author
Is beautiful. Very descriptive and her strength is the way she describes an environment. Very apt for this genre where visualization of a scene is very much needed.
Shiv's grandmother owned an old haveli. Since his parents were settled in Singapore from the time he was 6 years old, they now felt that she had become too old to stay alone. Shiv got to see the old documents that belonged to generations of his family. That excites the historian in him.
"The room held all the memorabilia of the past – discarded cartons and boxes, old utensils, some broken furniture, out-of-date fittings, Shiv’s old cycle and a cricket bat. Through the golden motes of dust, Amma pointed at the wooden chest in one corner. Shiv dragged it out and carried it to the living room."
In some of the scenes, I got goosebumps the way she has described the period of 1857. Those creaking doors and the glitter from the past - the abandoned and the false sense of securities of the rajas of that period have are well written.
I found the period she chose very rare. Not many stories of this period in the Indian history is available (I think) Women are not shown in their subdued forms but rather as equals. Though she was not given the right to rule but it was not due to the rules the Indians had for their women but rather the political aspirations of the Britishers. Or maybe a mix of both. But this short introduction to the series got me ready to read the already published books of this series.
Weaving a periodic tale
Historical romance is a difficult genre to write. Not only are the stats need to be correct but weaving the tale around those stats is equally challenging.
Bhanu Pratap had seen these privileges erode with time. The relationship with the neighboring kingdoms had changed. The British Company became too strong.
The changing period from monarchy to the British Raj. The changing attitude of the natives from nationalists to British loyalist of this era weaved as a story from the point of view of Shiv, John, and Meera. Looking forward to reading the remaining in the series from Vandana.
Grab your copy here