Hi, my fellow bookworms!
Look who’s on a roll! Today I’ll be discussing about another book which is a part historical, part modern novel. I’ll be reviewing Princess Mandira– Destriny’s Child by Madhurima Jain.
If you haven’t checked out my review of Upon A Burning Throne from yesterday, do it right now!! You wouldn’t want to miss out on this mythical fantasy novel 💜
I have a soft spot for historical fiction. Although I haven’t reviewed or read that many historical novels, I love them a lot. Princess Mandira—Destiny’s Child is not exactly based on any true historical events but does include certain places that have historical significance and characters who resemble characters from historical novels (such as Jhansi ki Rani, etc.)
While the story isn’t exactly original, it is a lot better than the historical fictions I have read by other Indian authors. We all Indians would have watched Prithviraj Chauhan, Jhansi Ki Rani, Karna, etc. at some point in our lives and have probably even read the books in our schools. So, for people who are very well acquainted with historical events, places and characters may not be fully appreciative of this novel.
“She will marry someone from outside the Rajput clan,” Raj Guru says in a soft, low but clear tone, every word falling like pebbles in the stillness of water. Shock waves reverberate inside the walls of the Raj Mandir. Everyone is dumbstruck as this is unthinkable and unacceptable.
The Raj Guru shakes his head slowly and replies, ”I have done my calculations many times and the same reading keeps coming out every single time. She will not marry anyone from Hindustan! The person she marries will come from across seven seas.”
Queen Shwetambari gets up from her throne in part shock and part excitement. If she plays her cards properly, then she could remove the last trace of Queen Serenova’s memories from their lives and get back her glory and power once again….
Eighteen years later, Princess Mandira marries Sir Victor, the Duke of Cornwall to gain independence for her country from the British rule. The story is set in the early eighteenth century and moves from the exotic terrain of the Himalayas across seven seas to the all-powerful Great Britain. What follows is a nail biting interaction when the grandeur and valour of the Rajput culture meets the cool elegance of the British nobility. Through the beautiful Mandira, the author in her two series explores the effect that the Hindu philosophy has when it is placed against the backdrop of a British landscape and brings out some interesting comparisons between two very diverse cultures!
The book is set in the early nineteenth century. Although some instances in the novel defies the nineteenth century atmosphere. This was the time when India was already under the British Raj. This novel tries to combine the Rajput dynasty and British Raj together through Mandira. During the childbirth, Serenova dies leaving Mandira motherless and under the care of Geetabi.
The Raj Guru claims that this “violet-eyed” princess, Mandira, who will marry someone outside of her country, someone who is not a Rajput. This does put the entire Rajput family into a lot of tension, especially, King Raghavendra. Raj Guru also believes that Mandira is born for a cause and will bring peace and prosperity to the kingdom. While Queen Shwetambari (one of the king’s wives) isn’t all that happy with the news and demands for that the baby be killed, Raghavendra who is already heartbroken from Serenova’s death, of course, doesn’t agree.
As Mandira grows up, she eventually marries Sir Victor, the Duke of Cornwall bringing the two different cultures together. But the marriage wasn’t that simple, it was born out of revenge which later transforms into love.
Princess Mandira – Destiny’s Child is the first book in the series. This prequel has its own ending but the sequel, Born To Rule show how Mandira settles into her new life and will bring in a third character to mess things up.
I did finish the novel in two days (not in my usual reading self). It wasn’t particularly a big hefty book. I liked how Madhurima narrated the story. It was fast paced, just the way I like it but it didn’t feel rushed at the same time. If I talk about the portrayal of the characters, I’ll have to say that Madhurima didn’t stress much on the protagonist but instead ended up focusing more on Victor. While I don’t think it was completely a negative thing, I do feel that Mandira’s character would have been even better if she was the centre of attention till the end. When she falls in love Victor, I felt that she was somehow tamed, and gave up her usual rebellious self. It was sudden and this change did feel abrupt to me.
Speaking of the writing style, Madhurima adopts a simple yet effective writing style. She uses simple language to describe the events in the plotline. While I am not a big fan of simple language and prefer more sophisticated narration, I would say that Madhurima’s diction is not amateurish.
The cover of the book goes well with the theme and setting of the novel. The plot is good as well. The author captures the nineteenth century Rajputana setting well but I am not so sure about the portrayal of Cornwall. I would have loved it even more if the author included certain historic events that were happening in India to add more depth and layers to the historic setting of the novel.
I was really sceptical about the book when I first began reading, but the book isn’t bad but I felt that the characters could have been crafted better. Historical fiction needs strong characters. I liked Mandira but her dialogues felt somewhat flat to me. Also, the supporting characters weren’t actually supporting the plotline or helping it progress, they seemed to be there just for the sake of having more than one character.
After finishing this book, I am happy to say that I’ll look forward to its sequel. I am hoping that the characters would develop more and the narration would be even more crisp. I would love to see how Madhurima describes Cornwall because in this book, it fell short. I am rooting for Mandira and I hope that Madhurima would do justice with her character. With the right characterisation, Mandira can develop into a remarkable and memorable character for sure.
If you are someone who loves history, is a fan of historical fiction or historical romances, then you might like reading this book.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I was born and brought up in Kolkata but hails from the exotic and colourful land of the Rajputs, Rajasthan, India. After finishing my graduation at Jadavpur University, I got married and shifted to Delhi. My passion for design and décor translated into a décor company that curated event décor for twenty years. During this period, I also trained with Pioneer Balloons, USA to become the first certified balloon artist in India. I am a skilled communicator, a quick learner with a creative bent of mind and a perfectionist in whatever I do. When fate struck a blow and I had to sell my business due to a debilitating illness, I channelled my creativity into writing this book. My son Rananjay was the motivating factor who gave me the confidence to pen the story of Princess Mandira-Destiny’s Child for publishing. Being deeply spiritual, I believe that my journey as an author has helped me recover from my illness and evolve to a higher level of awareness where small things in life like a walk in the park with blooming flowers and spending a lazy afternoon with friends in the winter sun give deep inner pleasure.
Have you read any Historical Novels? Can you please recommend me any?
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