Thursday, February 11, 2016

Radhika Nathan - The Mute Anklet

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@Westland publishers

The Mute Anklet is a book of historical romance. 1790s in the southern part of India form a  backdrop for the romance between Captain Trevelyan and Uma Brooke.  Some events are concocted and some are true.

We read about a curious anklet being fashioned out of silver.  It is not a thing of beauty, its value is functional.  It has some bells attached to it as anklets are wont to have.  But in case of this anklet, the bells are muted and despite its nominal value, it seems to be highly sought after.

Many years later, we find Captain Trevelyan leading a battle against the Maharajah of Madurai.  He finds a beautiful Englishwoman being waylaid by some Indians and rescues her.  He gets a nasty shock when he finds himself being taken captive in turn.  However, things are not really bad for him, as he soon discovers.

The beautiful girl he had tried to save is the ward of the Maharajah of Madurai.  She is Uma Brooke, the daughter of a maverick Englishman who loved the natives and tried to blend in.  The Maharajah is looking for a suitable groom for his orphaned ward, preferably among her own kind.  He has admired the battle strategies of Trevelyan and is in a mood to do a deal with him.

Uma and Trevelyan find themselves married to each other despite there being no love lost between them. Uma may be an Englishwoman but she was born and bred among Indians and refuses to bend to the will of Trevelyan.  He has many things on his mind and an intractable wife just adds to his worries.

There is a thread of narrative from the past that gradually unveils the mystery of the mute anklet.  The past segues into the present and we see how it affects the lives of Uma and Trevelyan.

The historical background adds spice to this tantalizing love story that takes us from Madurai to Madras to London.  Uma is on a quest of her own here, she wants to find out more about her father. There are sundry robberies and attacks on them that seem random, but may be connected.

Will Uma and Trevelyan ever unite or are they doomed to living lives apart from each other?  Will Trevelyan survive the battle against Tipu Sultan?  Will Uma ever learn more about her father.

All these questions keep you turning the pages to this well written fast paced historical romance.   A very satisfying read indeed.

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