2 Aug 2020


ISBN 978-0749021924

Isabel, born into the British Raj, and Asha, a young Hindu girl, both consider India their home. Through mischance and accident their stories intersect and circumstances will bring them from the bustling city of Delhi to the shores of the Andaman Islands, from glittering colonial parties to the squalor and desperation of a notorious prison, and into the lives of men on opposing sides of the fight for self-rule.

In the shadow of the Second World War and the increasing political violence, Isabel is torn between  her love for India, the man she yearns for, and loyalty to her own country. Impossible choices must be made ...
- Back Cover Blurb

'You are a good girl, Asha, and a brave one.'
- First Sentence, Prologue

Isabel saw how things lay. The ladies were round-eyed with shocked pleasure. This was the most delicious scandal to erupt in the Andaman Islands since Mrs Doyly was axed to death by her manservant.
- Memorable Moment, Page 290

MY THOUGHTS ... A pretty cover, right? But one that alas I feel does a bit of a disservice to the book. Put in mind of, of what; a frilly, a gentle, a romantic read? When in fact Daughters Of India is not any of these. 

Set in an interesting period in India's history. Raw and gritty; the sense of inhumanity and injustice palpable. 

Told through the eyes of two women, their lives intertwined and yet polar opposites ... or are they? Yes, one lives a life of privilege, the other, a life of poverty and servitude but in many ways they are similar. Both remarkable women straining against the bars of the cages that hold them, both fighting for what they truly believe in despite the constraints of the things; their sex, their race, their religion, the politics of the time that bind them.  

Quickly drawn into the lives of these characters, all of whom, yes, even the most unlikable (Isabel's husband who saw no wrong in his abusing a young native servant and the socialite European woman who took scandalised delight in visiting the condemned prisoners held in the notorious Cellular Jail amongst them) are portrayed as not just 'good' or 'bad' but rather, way more complex than this, as a combination of all the things that make any individual who and what they are. 

SUMMED UP IN A SENTENCE ...  A compelling novel told not from the perspective of its male characters but rather from the perspective of its two female protagonists, the oppressed portrayed not just as victims but as being as capable of violence as those who seek to oppress them.

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Kelly said...

I've read other novels set during the British Raj and I think I would enjoy this one. (if enjoy is the correct word) Living in the US, where we are constantly raked over the coals for our racism (doled out as a generalization), I can't help but think about the similar views (not necessarily black/white) that are global. I realize the events portrayed in this book are from "a different time", but still....

I need to look into this one more closely.

Literary Feline said...

It is a lovely cover, but how you described the contents has me even more interested in picking this one up. I am adding this to my wish list.

Brian Joseph said...

This sounds very good. Parallel characters are an old idea It sound as if the convention is applied with intelligence here.

The cover is nice.

Mary (Bookfan) said...

I think it sounds like a good read!

nightwingsraven said...

Isabel and Asha sound like
truly memorable characters
and the book sounds interesting
and compelling.
I will add it to my list.

sherry fundin said...

sounds like you got more than you planned for and i do enjoy a book that gives me more than expected
sherry @ fundinmental