#review 1857 Dust of Ages by Vandana Shanker #TheBookClub 

​1857 Dust of Ages is a slim book with a story woven around the events presaging the Mutiny of 1857. It describes the role of British in weakening the Indian royalty and establishing more than a foothold in administration. The book is well researched, the language is simple and the romance which forms the central role in the novella holds attention.

The book is written in a back and forth way switching between past and present. The mystery of the unlikely marriage is maintained and highlighted by the growing dissension between the aristocracy and the British command. The language is passive at times and events jump forward in a ploy to serve the mystery.

Since the book is slim, the story could easily have been written as a novel depicting the whole story. As it is, the ending is abrupt and jarring and leaves the reader wondering why it has been divided into multiple volumes. A clear disclaimer regarding the continuity would also help the readers.

Read it for an imaginative glimpse for colonial India but be prepared to read other volumes to get the whole story.

Find the book details in the book spotlight on this blog:

https://summeritarhayne.com/2017/03/03/spotlight-on-1857-dust-of-ages-by-vandana-shanker-thebookclub/ 

Spotlight on 1857 Dust of Ages by Vandana Shanker #TheBookClub

 

 
1857 DUST OF AGES VOL 1:
A FORGOTTEN TALE
by
Vandana Shanker
 
Blurb
 
1857. The rebellion erupts in India. Despite its attempts to stay aloof, NAVGARH, a small town near Delhi, is drawn into the conflagration. And at its heart are Princess Meera and Captain Richard Smith, with their strange alliance made for the throne of Navgarh.
 
2016, Shiv Sahai, a young Indian art historian and Ruth Aiken, a British scholar discover an excerpt from the journal of an anonymous British soldier, searching for his wife in the chaos of 1857 Delhi. As they begin investigating the scandal, they become aware of the vague rumours that are told in the bylanes of Navgarh – about a princess who married a British soldier to save her kingdom.
 
Check out the tour in +Pinterest 

 

 

 

Read an excerpt from the book…

 

 

 

Prologue
Camp, Delhi Cantonment, 16 August, 1857.
Things have changed forever. A day spent in the company of my old friend Knox made it clear. These distances can never be bridged.
The pole of his tent snapped in the storm yesterday; and for the sake of old friendship, I offered Knox my humble abode. But his rancour was jarring. His determination to teach the enemy a lesson, the unshaken belief in the rightness of our mission– such bitterness asks too much of friendship and duty.
Earlier we went over the battlefield. One of our regiments was destroying the village near the bridge to prevent the enemy from getting cover in it. Elephants were pulling down the walls. The villagers stood by as their houses turned into mud while the monsoon clouds gathered on the horizon. Unfortunately, they were the Jats, who, for the most part, are our friends. We decided that the destruction of their homes and fields was necessary. Twenty-three men – their countrymen – were lying together in the ditch at the back of the village; we weren’t sure if they were the rebels. A party of Rifles killed then en masse, just to be sure.
We left the village with our bags swollen like raisins in water. And who can blame our light-fingered gentry? Armies are said to travel on their stomach.
At some distance from our camp, I can see the sun setting over the fort of Delhi. It isn’t much different from the first sunset I witnessed here years ago. How things have changed! We came with a mission – to know this exotic land, to bring the light of knowledge and civilization to its darkness. Now the memory leaves me embarrassed. These massive red walls made me uneasy even then. Today they mock our camp again. Whatever be the outcome of this devil’s wind, it has revealed the banality of our mission.
Knox’s bitterness is an expression of the anger in the camp. When the cannons are quiet, the silence resounds with confusion, with terror, with rage, but most of all with the question ‘Why?’ As we sit around a small fire every night, the question rages in every mind. ‘Why the mutiny? Haven’t we brought the glory of civilization to this land of superstition?’ These thoughts simmer as we deal with hunger, heat and rain.
But soon these questions will be forgotten. The winners will annihilate the other side. Already I see the madness in the eyes as rumours reach us from other places – Cawnpur, Jhansi, Lucknow. Madness will soon be let loose.
I often feel that the answers that elude me today were within my grasp a short while ago. They are somewhere near, yet unreachable, like the time gone by.
I promise to look for them once I have found her again. For she, I feel, holds a part of it.
So every evening, I try to escape this madness by thinking about her, Princess Meera of Navgarh, a rebel soldier and my wife. It is the third year of our marriage. Three years of tenuous links and fragile understanding. It was only a matter of time before an explosion happened. And it happened that eventful week when Navgarh too burnt in the fire raging all across India. The news that the sepoys in Meerut had rebelled spurred both of us. Did I expect Meera to be a dutiful wife when all her beliefs, her convictions pulled her in the opposite direction? Was I surprised on knowing that she was in Delhi, amongst the rebels? Would she be surprised on knowing that I have followed her as an enemy… a British officer? And as I follow her, I stand here once again, after five years, outside the walls of the Red Fort in Delhi.

 

 

 

       Grab your copy @

Amazon.com | Amazon.in | Amazon.co.uk 

About the author


Delhi-born Vandana Shanker is the author of the series 1857 Dust of Ages, a historical fiction set in the year of the great uprising in India. A PhD from IIT Delhi, Vandana is passionate about history, storytelling and art. Apart from writing, she teaches literature and creative writing in Malaysia. She has also taught in Universities in India and Vietnam. She currently lives in Kuala Lumpur with her family and wants to travel the world. 

 

 

 

Stalk her @

 

 

                  

Play the Game of Rafflecopter 

 

   This Tour is Hosted by 
We Promote So That You Can Write 



Guest post: Vandana Shanker, author of 1857 Dust of Ages #TheBookClub

Please welcome Vandana Shanker, author of 1857 Dust of Ages. Vandana is here to share her views on research for historical fiction.

Take it away, Vandana.

Question: How difficult was it to manage the research? Did you innovate to fill up the gaps or stick to facts throughout?

As I wrote and researched for my book 1857 Dust of Ages, I learnt that writing historical fiction is different ball game altogether. And I had no idea, no formal training and I had plunged straight into it. On the way, I learnt a lot of things. I would try to put them together in Rules of writing Historical Fiction.

  1. Read a lot of stories. They could be fictional or non-fictional but they would create images of the era in your mind. When researching for my book, one book that stands in mind is William Dalrymple’s ‘The White Mughals.’  That had the germ of the story – an interracial romance. The rest of it came from various other fictional works, diaries and stories that I had read and heard over the years.
  2. Take notes. Lots of them and let there be gaps. They don’t have to be accurate. The notes would give you the larger picture whereas the gaps are the places where your story would evolve.
  3.  Study old pictures and paintings. This is essential for evocative writing- words that evoke the senses. Since there aren’t many photographs of 1857, I turned to paintings of the British in India and Mughal era miniatures. I have integrated many of these paintings in my story – as clues to the past that Shiv and Ruth unearth Pictures give the details that writing often misses out.
  4. Go to the location. For me it was the Hop on, Hop off around Delhi. Being a Delhitte, I could capture the bustle of the city, but to see it from the point of view of an nineteenth century character required more. As I went around, I learnt so much more about Delhi. For the last scene of the series, I visited Roshanarabagh and QudisiaBagh. Despite living in the city all my life, I had never been there ever before.
  5. Use the Internet. That goes without saying. I read a lot of old diaries and letters because they were so important in the nineteenth century. Most of the archival access was through the Internet. The events of 1857, the little things like rumours and gossip, minor skirmishes, bigger battles – Google is where I found most of the information
  6. Find a balance. You are not writing history. It is fiction and it is meant for the contemporary readers. I spent a lot of time recreating the diaries and letters in the language that would not put off the readers. Some places I have taken some liberties with the facts though I did stick to the broader details.
  7. Start writing. There is a time to stop the research and start writing because research is so seductive. As one delves deeper, it becomes a distraction especially in the day and age of the Internet. But we aren’t here for a history lesson. So as you do research, keep write simultaneously. That is the real job. Once you have the picture in mind, close your eyes and imagine and then get down to recreate it in your words

……

Thank you, Vandana. It was enlightening to hear your views. As an author of historical fiction, I agree that it won’t do to turn your research into a history lesson, and holding a deep interest in history as I do, I know it’s all too easy to get immersed in delving the details of the bygone eras. Indian history is so rich and engrossing a subject that one cannot help it. At the same time, it’s really important to get research done accurately to give an authentic feel to the era. I myself love the 500ADs and write about Maharajas and princesses, but I look forward to reading about the Rule in your book. It was lovely having you here.

 

Book Blitz: Thwarted Escape by Lopamudra Banerjee #TheBookClub

 

THWARTED ESCAPE: An Immigrant’s Wayward Journey
by

Lopamudra Banerjee


 
Blurb
 
 
How far can one truly go away from his/her ancestral roots, filial ties and the claustrophobic grip of traditions and the reminiscence of an emotionally fraught childhood and puberty? The book begins with this particular quest, and it is this quest which gains momentum as a woman seeks the essence of herself-identity ten thousand miles away from her Bengali hometown.
With the lens of a time-traveler, her narrative journey encompasses her first sexual abuse, her first tryst with death, austerity, the strangeness of rituals, the inexplicable feelings of puberty and also her surrendering to love, procreation, motherhood. In herself-chosen exile in the US, she discovers that deep within; her ancestral roots are also the wellspring of her psychological, spiritual existence. In the process, she keeps on oscillating between assimilating and disintegrating, which forms the core of her journey.

 

Order your copy @
 
Amazon.com               Amazon.in                Flipkart

 


 

About the Author
 
Lopamudra Banerjee is a writer, poet, editor and translator, currently based in Dallas, USA. She is the co-editor of Defiant Dreams: Tales of Everyday Divas, published by Readomania in collaboration with Incredible Women of India. She has also been the Creative Editor of Incredible Women of India and Deputy editor of the e-zine Learning & Creativity.Thwarted Escape, her debut nonfiction novel/memoir has been First Place Category Winner at the Journey Awards 2014 hosted by Chanticleer Reviews and Media LLC, USA. Her literary works have appeared at numerous literary journals and anthologies (print and online), both in India and the US. Her poetry, fiction and nonfiction and also translation works are regularly published in Setu, the international bilingual journal, Cafe Dissensus, Different Truths, Readomania.com and other publications. She has received the Reuel International Award 2016 for her English translation of Rabindranath Tagore’s novella Nastanirh (The Broken Home) instituted by The Significant League, a renowned literature group in Facebook.


 

You can stalk her @      
 https://www.facebook.com/lbanerjee.author/   https://twitter.com/rooafza   https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14199698.Lopamudra_Banerjee
   This Tour is Hosted by 
We Promote So That You Can Write 
 

 

Book blitz A Way Back into Love by Veronica Thatcher #TheBookClub

Today the spotlight rests on  A Way Back into Love by Veronica Thatcher. Sounds like an intriguing story, doesn’t it?

 

 
 
Blurb
 
Nothing is perfect. Life is messy. Relationships are complex. Outcomes, uncertain. People, irrational. But love…well, that makes everything complicated. And when you are caught in a tangled web of secrets, lies, and complex affairs, someone is bound to get burned. 
 
Emily Stevens is a spunky, spirited college girl whose life gets turned upside-down when she realizes she’s in love with her best friend of fifteen years, Derek Thorpe. As Emily prepares to confess her feelings to Derek, something happens one night which changes her life forever. Five years later, Emily finds herself in Boston, alone and heartbroken. Will she ever be able to forget the past? And what will she find when she returns home…to the man she left behind? 
 
Grab your copy @
 
About the author
 
 
Veronica Thatcher is an exciting new contemporary romance author. Ever since she was very young, she’s dreamed of becoming a doctor when she grew up. While still forging ahead with that, majoring in pre-med in college, she unwittingly stumbled upon a new dream—becoming a published author. Some may call her an introvert or a wallflower, but she has always found she could express herself better in written, rather than spoken, words. However, never in her wildest dreams had she envisioned she would pursue writing as a prospective career, not just a hobby. Her love for writing goes hand-in-hand with her love for a good romance novel—whether it be a feel-good, sweet romance or a dark, suspenseful one. 
 
When she’s not studying, reading, or writing, she is usually found blasting her favourite songs, sometimes singing and dancing along to them. She dabbles in a number of activities, including painting, karate, singing and dancing. She is a huge chocoholic – probably the biggest – and she is an ice-cream junkie too. She considers herself technologically handicapped forever and has no shame in admitting that. She also deems chocolates her boyfriend, Patrick Dempsey the love of her life, and Friends her life!
 
Her first book, A Way Back Into Love, is slated for release in February 2017, and she hopes readers will enjoy it as much as she enjoyed writing it. 
 
You can stalk her @ 

      

   This Tour is Hosted by 
We Promote So That You Can Write 



 

Interview: Rubina Ramesh, author of Knitted Tales #TheBookClub

Today I have on my blog Rubina Ramesh, blogger, supporter of the written word and author of anthology, Knitted Tales.Let’s get to know her through a question and answer session.

  1. How did you become a writer, by chance or by choice?

Thank you Summerita. You are one of my inspirations. So I am totally thrilled to be on your blog today.

I am a writer by chance. I had first started writing at the age of 8. My short stories were published in a local magazine in Patna. But then Life happened and everything went for a toss. After a wave of few tragedies I realized one thing – much to the annoyance of my other family members, crying is not my cup of tea. I take out all my emotions in writing. None of my family members could understand why I was furiously scribbling away when I was supposed to show some emotion at least. I suppose very few people understand the amount of emotions we do pour out on our paper. So ya, chance it is.

  1. Are you a genre writer? Why (or why not)? Which genre appeals to you the most?

No, I am not a genre writer at all. I wish I was. That would give me a nice cushion of an audience who would be waiting for my next release. My Knitted Tales is a collection of psychological to horror tales while my Finding the Angel is an out and out Mills and Book kind of Romance. My next one is tentatively called Maya and is dark romance/ thriller while the next Rising from the Ashes is a mythology. I love all kinds of books. From children’s books to adult romance, I just love books. Period.  Except MBA books. Cannot touch another one.

  1. What makes this book special to you?

Knitted Tales is raw emotions. Written in a group of aspiring authors Wrimo India. The vibes and the criticism that I got during that time, has made me face any reviewer today without batting an eyelid. Hahahah. But yes, this book will always be special to me.

  1. A brief description of the book and its main characters.

The main characters of an anthology 😀 No Summerita, you cannot do this to me! hahaha. But if I have to answer this then I can honestly say my emotions. The day I wrote Chiclet, I had faced a problem in my daughter’s school. Not of that magnitude but it had made my overactive imagination go wild. The Hidden Staircase is an apology to my grandpa for not being there for him when he needed me most. Lolita – that is totally imaginative – so no getting ideas, please. 😀

  1. What are your writing fads or quirks?

Writing fad, if you promise not to laugh, are collecting pens. I have recently come out of the habit of writing on paper and then typing. That brings me to my quirk. I HATE typing. I am now making a conscious effort to type. If you know me well, you will my Facebook statuses sometimes full of errors. I use Dragon speech most of the time, and often slip into my desi accent 😛 The problem starts then.

6.What’s your take on these writing dilemmas? (Please specify the reason for your choice)

i) plotter or pantser: Panster – plotting takes away the fun. What is life if we live by rules. I never do. (nothing illegal please) So why should my characters follow rules?

 

ii) self-publish or traditional: Both. I love the independence self-publishing provides and the recognition traditional provides. The quotient is changing, but we still have a long way to go.

iii) Polished first draft or sloppy one? I cannot have anyone read my sloppy first draft. It will be a professional harakiri (for me).

iv) Deadline or family/friends time: Family – Deadline – Friends. Being the mother of two kids does not give me the luxury of giving priority to the deadline. My friends, on the other hand, are my strength. Those who understand my silence – and never complain, how can I not love them?

v) Writing a certain target every day or in floods and droughts: I aim for 200 words every day. I often end up with droughts. But this is something I am working on nowadays. Every electronic device of mine has word installed. So where ever and whenever I am getting the time, I start writing.

………………………..

Thank you, Rubina. It was fun interviewing you. Honored to be called as your inspiration, but truth be told, you’re an inspiration yourself. Wish you the very best for this book and all the forthcoming ones!

Catch the review and spotlight of Knitted Tales here.

Book buy link:

Amazon.com

Amazon.in

Spotlight: More Than Just Desire by Summerita Rhayne #Tornadogiveaway

 
Name of the book: More Than Just Desire

Author: Summerita Rhayne

Read some reviews:


1. Floryie BL

2. Preethi Venugopala 

3. Rubina Ramesh 


The Story:


The Bollywood diva who ran away 
Piya walked out of an explosive situation three years ago. She married Arfaaz for security but left him facing chaos she created. Now she’s back in Bollywood and searching for the crown she gave up when she ran away. In the competitive world of starry glamour, the only way she can begin her career anew is to trash the past and get a divorce.

The man who wants her atonement 

Arfaaz is determined to get his revenge on Piya for making a farce of their marriage and leaving him to face the mudslinging. He forces her to keep up the appearances and stay with him so she can play the loving wife and repent on her sins. But Piya drives him crazy with her antics. On the top of that, the attraction between them sizzles and threatens to make him forget reason.

A passionate conflict 

Piya knows she has lessons to learn but she cannot let this man enter her heart. There is too much to risk and she cannot afford to forget the real reason she has come back. Success is her mantra and her worship. She can be faithful to only her goal…



 

You can buy the book @


About The Author 


Summerita Rhayne writes sensual romance which is sheer escapism with lots of emotional conflict. She first got published in 2013 and has won contests with prestigious publishers such as Harlequin and Harper Collins India. Writing, she finds, is the only way to deal with the numerous story ideas bubbling in her brain which pop up more rapidly than her keyboard can do justice to. Her pet belief is that even when writing time is in short supply, if the inspiration is strong enough, the story characters get a life of their own and will find a way to make the writer pen them down. When cerebrally confronted with the sizzling interaction of two Alpha characters, the only way to get peace is write their book! 



At heart, she’s a family person and even though she loves her medical teaching profession, she happily becomes a homemaker when not at work. She loves winding down with music, movies, cricket (strictly watching only) and social networking. 

 
 
Stalk her @

Facebook | Twitter | Website

 

Check out all the books of Tornado here 

 

 

 

 

Go to Book No. 45 >> Changeling: An Appalachian Magic Novel (Appalachian Magic series, #2) by Debbie Herbert

 

 

 

#TornadoGiveaway is an initiative of The Book Club. Click on the icon to go to the event page of the Tornado .. Lots of fun awaits you 🙂


 

 

In Association With our Media Partners

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Play the Game of Rafflecopter to Win the AWESOME books