by Anne George
Genres: Historical Fiction
The year is 1857. The British, having colonized India, have ruled her for a hundred years. The East India Company manages the business of governance, but not necessarily with a view to protecting the best interests of the people of India. The British who were born and reared in India see themselves as distinct from the Indian and yet very much a part of the fabric of India, diverse as it was—even then.
Edwina Hardingham, who has spent her entire existence in India, sees herself very much as a Hindustani (Indian). She bristles at the harsh invective directed against the people of India by some of the members in her circle. She cherishes her friendships with Indian women and, on a visit to one of them, is rescued from brigands by the dashing and entirely dazzling Mr. Grayson. Does love blossom between the two? To her very great surprise, Edwina does find her heart becoming rapidly entangled with the most enigmatic of men…
In the midst of this idyllic bliss, something unthinkable happens. A mutiny breaks out, led by the sepoys, who rebel against their commanding officers and seize control of government ammunition and property. The Indian masses, exasperated with the callous governance of the East India Company, are beginning to seethe inwardly, and what is initially perceived as an isolated outburst from a few malcontents, soon erupts into a wide-scale rebellion that spreads across almost the entire region of north India. Tales of the slaughter of British women and children spread quickly, leaving panic in their wake. The Hardinghams are now faced with dread about the fate of their family members who may very well be in the path of the carnage, even as news is not forthcoming, as communication lines have been disrupted.
Does the Hardingham family escape the bloodshed that has swathed the land? Does Edwina’s beloved remain constant? Read this gripping work of historical fiction to discover what happens!
In her maiden novel, Anne George weaves a tale of love and betrayal into the historical events of the Sepoy Mutiny. A cup of tea, some refreshment and a comfortable chair are a must, for the reader will find it hard to put down once it is picked up!
Love and Mutiny: Tales from British India by Anne George is a rich, historical fiction that brought 1857 to life civil unrest and offered a romance filled with delicious banter. I was drawn to the book by its promise of history regarding India and the East India Company and was rewarded with a well researched and delightful tale.
From hunts in the jungle to sword fights, Anne George delighted me as she introduced me to Edwina Hardingham. Edwina has been raised in India, and while she is a British citizen she also feels that Simla, India, which lies at the foothills of the Himalayas is her home. She loves the culture, people and food, but not everyone treats the Indians as justly and when a mutiny occurs the Hardingham family fears for their family in Calcutta. The story that unfolds is rich in history as George relayed the tale through colorful characters and brought the political climate and countryside to life.
George shares the history of the Hardingham family, and many British citizens who through the East India Company made India their home. The life that Edwina lives is idallytc and indeed the family is quite well off. They are deeply respected by the Indian servants who work their land and home. George brought us into their home and invited us to tea. I loved getting to know the sisters, parents and servants, but our story focuses primarily on Edwina.
Edwina encounters two men and these man play a large role in the story. The first is a dashing young man who saves her from being accosted and the second is a man who infuriates her. She first thinks she is attracted to the young man, but a hunting expedition soon has her seeing the second in a different light. I loved the romance threaded throughout the tale and indeed laughed aloud at the enemies to lovers banter that transpired.
Based on the book’s title, I confess, I thought this would be a collection of short stories set in India. However, this is not the case. It is a tale surrounding several characters and the events that took place during the revolt of 1857. We are given the perspectives of Edwina, and those of James Davenport. George conveyed the troubling issues facing the people of India, shedding light on some of the injustices put upon them by the British. She shed light on the racism and social structure that kept educated Indians from advancing thanks to the laws established by the trade company. I found it most troubling, particularly when it came to land, women and heirs. But she is also gave us a subtle romance, family and friends to connect with and form attachments to.
When news of civil unrest and violence reaching Calcutta arrives at the Hardingham’s doorstep, they fear for Anna and Kate. James promises to check on them as he goes to retrieve his sister. His trek across the countryside took us into the heart of the battles. From the rich details to the dark and gritty moments I confess I was held captive. Would James return? Are his sister and Edwina’s sisters safe? Answers to those questions had me devouring this on a Sunday afternoon.
Meanwhile Edwina and her family worry at home as they help a poor woman who finds herself in trouble. I absolutely adored Edwina from her firm convictions to her temper. She was a lady both gentle and kind, that is until you angered her. When she gave you a set down it was brilliant. Her interactions with Mr. Davenport were most memorable. Secondary characters from her mother to her sister Anna added interest, complications and succeeded in pulling me further into the tale.
Fans of historical fiction will appreciate the well developed characters, historical details and exotic setting. Love and Mutiny is a tale that will stay with you. I look forward to more tales from this author.
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