Thursday, March 13, 2014

Review: The Mute Anklet by Radhika Nathan

History has a long set approach about love and romance. It was serene and pure. It all used happen sans the modern technology. Smallest of the gestures meant a lot at that time. Author Radhika Nathan in her book "The Mute Anklet" has penned down one such love story making history as a backdrop. So does it works for the readers? Let's find out. 

It's the 1790s in India. The third Anglo-Mysore War between the kingdom of Mysore and the East India Company is hurtling towards a climax. The British, having captured the Malabar Coast are lurching nervously towards Bangalore. Tipu Sultan is waging a ferocious battle.In this time of intrigue and hostility, the beauteous Uma Brooke an Englishman?s daughter in the care of the maharajah of Mysore is embroiled in a personal conflict of her own. The maharajah wants her to marry Captain Ashton Trevelyan of the British army, a man he takes an immediate liking to. Uma has no desire to hurt her gentle guardian yet, prejudiced by the circumstances of her birth and vociferous about her attachment to India, she cannot conceive of a future with a Briton. Detached Captain Trevelyan on his part, feels compelled to submit to this marriage for reasons that are wholly strategic ? after a failed siege, consenting to the maharajah?s demand is the only way of salvaging the battle. Further complicating the impending wedding is a threat that follows Uma no matter where she goes, what seems to be a case of petty thievery morphs into a desperate, targeted assault.Uma and Captain Trevelyan must not only try defending themselves against the onslaught of history but must also attempt securing their teetering association. Will their relationship ? strained by verbal assaults and reckless sparring, tested by ideologies that clash ? endure? Will Uma overcome her preconceptions and biases and will Ashton past his indifference, find empathy and concern? Most importantly in an era of grand historical crusades, will there be time for the personal? Find out in this captivating novel.

First look at the title and the cover and a lot of readers will fall for the image present. The title is alluring as ever and the image is pure history blend with grace and ethnicity. The blurb talks about two people and their lives during war times and their destiny. It's an usually long blurb which should have been kept short. 

The story is of Uma Brookes and Captain Ashton Trevelyan. Their chance meeting at the former's palace sets tone to unprecedented events and from being enemies to each other gradually at the insistence of the maharaja they tie knots to bring an end to the war. Uma hesitant and reluctant gives up but despises Ashton completely. Ashton realizes he has a task in his hand goes all out to make her comfortable and gain back her trust. But there are some other forces at large and their impending strikes leaves a lot of doubt and confusion. So will love blossom between the two? What are the enemies after? Whose life is in danger and what surprise is there in store for both? That's what the story is all about. 

The historical setup, the war, the vivid descriptions and the essence of pure love and the tussle gives life to the story. The book has the choicest use of vocabulary and is not too complicated. The story runs its course with purity and serenity. The entire scenario fulfills the desires to read an entire version of romance and love. The emotional aspect of the story gives it a slight edge at times. 

The downside of the book is it's predictable nature and loss of momentum towards the second half. The end goes flat and dull and will leave some people high and dry. The romance could have culminated into something beautiful towards the end but the story line deters and loses charm on this particular front. 

All in all the book has the potential to stir up emotions up to an extent but gradually it fizzles out. The grip on the excitement is lost very soon and it becomes a dull affair thereafter. The book is not a complete package but still has some elements of thorough historical approach and old style romance which will be liked by the readers. 


3 OUT OF 5   

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