In 1942 Sam Hawthorne, a young U.S. Army captain, arrives in a tiny, princely state in western India. He carries combat wounds and several secrets, one of which is the real reason behind his visit: to find his brother Mike, an idealistic American soldier who disappeared after joining the local struggle for independence from the British.
But Sam's mission is soon threatened when he falls in love with Mila, daughter of the local political agent. Betrothed to the local prince, Mila draws Sam into a doomed affair that places them both in the path of dynastic intrigue, racial prejudice, and the explosive circumstances of a country torn between imperialism and nationalism.
©2006 Indu Sundaresan; (P)2006 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
I really enjoyed listening to this audiobook. I read not so great reviews somewhere else. So I was pleasantly surprised. The narrator really makes this book a great listen! I have now heard all of Indu Sundaresan's books on audible and I really enjoyed them.
I absolutely loved this book. I must admit it was a bit slow at first, but when I finished the book I re-listened to the first 2 chapters and they were bitter sweet after hearing the whole book and knowing the ending.
The narrator is unknown until the end of the book, and is beautifully revealed. It is a really beautiful storey and worth the listen.
I loved the performers various accents, the rich detail of landscape and food in India
I loved the only real love scene between Mia and Mike.
Yes, after I got through the slow start
Maybe this is better read than listened to. The writing at times is lovely. You get a sense of the exotic and poetic. But the constant shifts in tense, time, and point of view are confusing. The story, set in India during WW II, didn't ring true. The sensibilities are too 21st century. The identity of one of the main narrators is not revealed until the end of the book (I listened to the last chapter.) and though major revelations are summarized at the very end, it shouldn't have taken 15 hours to get there. It would have been better if the reader could have experienced some of what we learn at the end.
Our hero, Sam, is an American. His is searching for his brother, Mike, who was imprisoned when he began supporting the Indian separatist movement after witnessing the discriminatory treatment of Indians by the British. Sam too sees the way Indians are discriminated against, while falling in love with Mila, a young Indian woman, in a matter of minutes after meeting her. All well and good. But during the many hours I did listen to the book, never once did Sam, who is from Seattle, ever comment on or think about racial discrimination in the US. Wouldn't he have at least thought about the internment of the Japanese Americans from Seattle. Or better yet, the segregation in the armed forces. None of these issues ever cross his mind.
Sam's story is being told to his daughter, Olivia. It is the early 1960's and Sam has just died. She receives a box and a letter from India. We discover toward the end Mila was Olivia's mother (no big surprise). We never get any sense if Olivia can identify with the story of her parents. It must not have been easy growing up as an Indian-American in the 1950s. How did Sam's mother, Maud, react to having a "mixed race" grandchild? How did people treat her in general? Did she understand any of what her parents must have gone through? I wanted to know but never found out.
Sneha Mathan is a wonderful narrator. Her voice is perfect for the book. I would listen to other books she read.
In a great book, the author knows what to leave unsaid. This book would be improved by cutting half the overly detailed and sometimes overwrought description. You could practically hear the violins playing in the background when hero and heroine meet. We already know from previous heavy hints that they are to be star-crossed. Description sets scene and mood, but each detail should also serve a purpose in moving the story forward. There may be an engrossing story buried here, but I lost interest.
Got this one on the $4.95 sale so was not completely disappointed, the novel was well researched and I did learn about some aspects of Indian culture and history during the World War II era and British Colonialism. The character development was ok but could have been better.
This book was not as captivating for me that her other books (the 20th Wife and A feast of roses) was, but it got better halfway through. It's the wonderful job that Sneha Mathan does narrating these books that make them so wonderful to listen too that makes the download worth it. I am looking forward to the next book written by Indu S. to come available.
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