Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Michelle MoranBook Description:

When the British Empire sets its sights on India in the 1850s, it expects a quick and easy conquest. After all, India is not even a country, but a collection of kingdoms on the subcontinent. But when the British arrive in the Kingdom of Jhansi, expecting its queen to forfeit her crown, they are met with a surprise. Instead of surrendering, Queen Lakshmi raises two armies—one male, one female—and rides into battle like Joan of Arc. Although her soldiers are little match against superior British weaponry and training, Lakshmi fights against an empire determined to take away the land she loves.

Told from the perspective of Sita, one of the guards in Lakshmi’s all-female army and the queen’s most trusted warrior, The Last Queen of India traces the astonishing tale of a fearless ruler making her way in a world dominated by men. In the tradition of her bestselling novel Nefertiti, which Diana Gabaldon, author of the Outlander series, called “a heroic story with a very human heart,” Michelle Moran once again brings a time and place rarely explored in historical fiction to rich, vibrant life.

My Thoughts:

Michelle Moran did it again, she brought history back to life!

In 1850’s India, Sita’s mother dies in childbirth.  The baby is save but it’s another girl.  Sita’s grandmother sneaks Sita off to the temple to negotiate a price for them to buy Sita for prostitution but her father finds out the plan and puts a stop to it.  He says that since they can’t afford to marry her off, he will train her be in the female guard, called Durga Dal for the Rani (Queen).

This is very tough to get into but her father, along with their friend and neighbor, trained Sita and she learned fast.  Against incredible odds, gets accepted into the Durga Dal.  When Sita joined the guard, she learns quickly that not all is what it seems and she can trust no one.  As we Sita grow into the position we also see the shift into the British empire and their eventual rule of India.

Michelle Moran sucked me into the story from page one and never let me go.  I will be thinking about the book, Sita, and the Rani for a long time.  She captured the landscape of place and time beautifully.  The characters were well developed and it is evident that the history was well researched.  This is a must read for historical fiction fans!  If you are like me and have been a fan or Michelle Moran’s books, she does not disappoint! 


I received the ebook for my honest review.

About Michelle Moran:Michelle Moran

Michelle Moran is the international bestselling author of six historical novels, including Madame Tussaud, which was optioned for a mini-series in 2011. Her books have been translated into more than twenty languages.

A native of southern California, Michelle attended Pomona College, then earned a Masters Degree from the Claremont Graduate University. During her six years as a public high school teacher, she used her summers to travel around the world, and it was her experiences as a volunteer on archaeological digs that inspired her to write historical fiction. 

In 2012 Michelle was married in India, inspiring her seventh book, Rebel Queen, which is set in the East. Her hobbies include hiking, traveling, and archaeology. She is also fascinated by archaeogenetics, particularly since her children’s heritages are so mixed. But above all these things, Michelle is passionate about reading, and can often be found with her nose in a good book. A frequent traveler, she currently resides with her husband, son, and daughter in the US. 

Mountain of LightBook Description:

From the internationally bestselling author of The Twentieth Wife, a novel based on the tumultuous history of a legendary 186-carat diamond and the men and women who possessed it

As empires rose and fell and mighty kings jostled for power, its glittering radiance never dimmed. It is the Mountain of Light;the Kohinoor diamond;and its facets reflect a sweeping story of love, adventure, conquest and betrayal. Its origins are the stuff of myth, but for centuries this spectacular gem changes hands from one ruler to another in India, Persia, and Afghanistan. In 1850, the ancient stone is sent halfway around the world where it will play a pivotal role in the intertwined destinies of a boy-king of India and a young queen of England;a queen who claims the Mountain of Light and India itself for her own burgeoning empire, the most brilliant jewels in her imperial crown.

The Mountain of Light is a magnificent story of loss and recovery, sweeping change and enduring truth, wrapped around the glowing heart of one of the worlds most famous diamonds.

My Thoughts:

First, sorry for the lateness of this review.  Time slipped away from me and now I am trying to catch up.

When offered the ebook for review, I jumped at the chance!  I loved Indu Sundaresan’s The Twentieth Wife!

The Mountain of Light hops around from century to century, so instead of getting into the many characters and period of time, I am just going to give you my opinion.

Some centuries and the character’s within them were captured more fully than ever.  To me, it read more like a book of linked short stories than a novel.  The beginning was glossed over very quickly.  I would just start to get settled in the story and then it jumped. Some parts were more vivid and detailed.  It was the later centuries I that I liked best.

The Kohinoor diamond was really the central character.  Yes, of course it was the plot too.  It was about it’s captivating beauty and worth.  People possessed it and people fought over it.

I love books with settings in India and The Mountain of Light was worth the read, just for that alone.  It did not disappoint.  I would have like to have gotten to know some of the characters better.  I really like character studies but because The Mountain of Light centered around the jewel, it’s self, it was not character driven enough for me.  However, because of the other assets of the book, I still recommend it, especially for those who love settings in India and other Asian lands close to it.


I received the ebook for my honest opinion.

About Indu Sundaresan:Indu Sundaresan

Indu Sundaresan was born in India and grew up on Air Force bases all over the country. Her father, a fighter pilot, was also a storyteller—managing to keep his audiences captive and rapt with his flair for drama and timing. He got this from his father, Indu’s grandfather, whose visits were always eagerly awaited. Indu’s love of stories comes from both of them, from hearing their stories based on imagination and rich Hindu mythology, and from her father’s writings.

After an undergraduate degree in economics from India, Indu came to the U.S. for graduate school at the University of Delaware. But all too soon, the storytelling gene beckoned.

Tiger Hills by Sarita Mandanna

Posted by Teddyrose@1 on February 8, 2011
Posted in Books Read in 2011India  | 5 Comments

Tiger Hills is a historical fiction saga spanning three generations of a family of Coorg, India. In 1878, Devi is the first born female to the Nachimada family in over sixty years. She is a beautiful child and has the deep love and affection of her entire family.
When Devi was five years old a scandal came to her family. Gauramma leaves her husband and returns home with her boy, Devanna. Devanna follows Devi everywhere and they soon become inseparable friends. When Gauramma commits suicide, the family decides to raise Devanna instead of sending him back to his father.
There is a great ceremony in the village, called a “tiger wedding”. Devi doesn’t really understand what it is but is excited to go, none the less. When she arrives with her family she sees a big tiger hanging in the air. It is explained that the tiger was killed by Manchu and it was a ceremony to pay tribute to him as a “tiger killer.” Devi doesn’t see what the big deal is and says so, in front of everybody.
“this tiger doesn’t even have claws,” sad Devi.
It was explained to Devi that the claws had been removed to make jewellery out of them. She was quite embarrassed but Manchu was very kind to her about it. Devi then tells her mother that she will marry the tiger killer some day.
Soon after that it was decided that Devanna was to go to school at the mission and get a “white person’s” education. He showed great promise and Reverend Gundert took Devanna under his wing.
Devi and Devanna stayed close friends but as they got older, Devi started to get annoyed with Devanna. He was most interested in his books and education and Devi was not interested in that at all. Devanna had a crush on her and was convinced that the two of them would marry some day.
When they were older, Devanna went away to medical school and Devi grew closer to Manchu. They even met in secret. However, he had taken a vow with the monks and could not marry for 12 years. Devi promised to wait for him. However, the next time Devanna came home from school something happened to shake the foundation and reputation of the entire family and Devi was forced to quickly marry Devanna.
This book has been described and an Indian ‘Gone With the Wind” and “The Thorn Birds” rolled into one. I can certainly see the comparison. If you like both of those books, you are sure to enjoy Tiger Hills. Devi is quite spoiled by her family but is nothing like Scarlett O’Hara in ‘Gone With the Wind’. However, both characters are in love with a man that they can’t have.
Sarita Mandanna captures the reader’s attention from the first page. I felt a part of the village and cared deeply for what was to happen to Devi and Devanna. Mandanna’s elegant prose make the village, it’s flora and fauna, and even its weather important characters.
“Watery shafts of light spilled from behind the dark grey clouds, laminating the town in opalescence. As the morning wore on, the sun had gain in confidence, scattering the clouds and blazing forth in all its splendor.” Page 62, Tiger Hills
Tiger Hill’s is a book to drink in an savor. Highly recommended.
Thanks to Grand Central Publishing and Net Galley for the ebook galley version of this book. The book was published in the UK in April, 2010 and is set to come out in North America on March 9, 2011.
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