By Michelle Moran
ARC e-book, 386 pages (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781476716350 (hardcover)
I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. All opinions in this post are my own.
From NetGalley: When the British Empire sets its sights on India in the mid-nineteenth century, it expects a quick and easy conquest. India is fractured and divided into kingdoms, each independent and wary of one another, seemingly no match for the might of the English. But when they arrive in the Kingdom of Jhansi, the British army is met with a surprising challenge. Instead of surrendering, Queen Lakshmi raises two armies—one male and one female—and rides into battle, determined to protect her country and her people. Although her soldiers may not appear at first to be formidable against superior British weaponry and training, Lakshmi refuses to back down from the empire determined to take away the land she loves.
What I liked:
I’m a fan of Michelle Moran – I own all her other novels and she’s on my must-buy list. I’ve been checking Amazon regularly since her last book The Second Empress: A Novel of Napoleon’s Court, came out in 2013 to see if she’d written anything else. Finally I was rewarded with Rebel Queen! I’m a big fan of historical fiction, but I typically find myself reading novels set in England, so the setting of this book was refreshing. As usual, Moran features several strong female characters and it’s nice to know that Queen Lakshmi and her female guards did exist.
My lack of actual historical knowledge may be a benefit, because I just accept events as the writers present them to me. I’m not reading these books for accuracy (though many historical fiction writers do a lot of background work and also include notes on any changes they’ve made) so I don’t wonder if events are correct, I just enjoy the story. I will say that Moran does include research notes at the end of this book, and to her credit, it seems she’s been very faithful to what might have actually happened.
I instantly liked Sita, the main character, and felt quite a bit of emotion during the various trials she went through. The plot moved at a good face and since I don’t have much experience reading about this time in history, everything that occurred was a surprise to me.
What I didn’t like:
I can’t say this is a five-star book for me, but when I think about why it’s not, nothing specific comes to mind. I was very satisfied with this book and as usual, I’m left wanting more of Moran’s work. Perhaps it could have been a bit longer.
While I wasn’t blown out of the water by this book, I have no real complaints. I’m already eagerly awaiting her next book, and this book actually just came out today! If you like historical fiction centered around female characters, definitely pick up any of Moran’s books.
*cover image from NetGalley