I’m absolutely delighted to be kicking off the blog tour for Beneath an Indian Sky, written by Renita D’Silva and published by Bookouture, and I’m super excited to share my review with you 🙂 I finished reading this book a couple of days ago and it’s my favourite book read this year so far ❤ If you enjoy exotic and emotional historical fiction that is character led and has a fairytale feel to it, then please do check this book out. It’s only £1.99 on Kindle ❤
An unforgettable and heart-wrenching story of love, betrayal and family secrets. In colonial India a young woman finds herself faced with an impossible choice, the consequences of which will echo through the generations…
1928. In British-ruled India, headstrong Sita longs to choose her own path, but her only destiny is a good marriage. After a chance meeting with a Crown Prince leads to a match, her family’s status seems secured and she moves into the palace, where peacocks fill the gardens and tapestries adorn the walls. But royal life is far from simple, and her failure to provide an heir makes her position fragile. Soon Sita is on the brink of losing everything, and the only way to save herself could mean betraying her oldest friend…
2000. When Priya’s marriage ends in heartbreak, she flees home to India and the palace where her grandmother, Sita, once reigned as Queen. But as grandmother and granddaughter grow closer, Priya has questions. Why is Sita so reluctant to accept that her royal status ended with Independence? And who is the mysterious woman who waits patiently at the palace gates day after day? Soon Priya uncovers a secret Sita has kept for years – and which will change the shape of her life forever…
A breathtaking journey through India from British rule to Independence and beyond; a world of green hills, cardamom-scented air, and gold thread glinting in the sun, brought to life by Renita D’Silva’s exquisite writing. If you love Kathryn Hughes, Dinah Jefferies or Kristin Hannah, this is the novel for you.
Each time I’m about to start a new book by Renita D’Silva, I usually feel nervous, worrying that it won’t be able to match up to her previous book or that I’ll one day become immune to her beautifully descriptive prose and remarkable characters. However, having loved three previous books by this author, this is the first one I’ve started reading without that nervous feeling. Instead I had an excited shiver of anticipation, similar to that feeling as a child when you wake up on Christmas morning and wonder if Father Christmas got you what you wished for. Beneath an Indian Sky was most certainly a story beyond anything I could have wished for.
Set mostly in India, this story has the same exotic surroundings and atmosphere I’ve grown to love in Renita’s books. The location always comes to life with its vivid colours and scents. Beneath an Indian Sky has a real fairytale feel to it, with an opulent palace, a bitter queen, a charming prince, as well as a not-so-charming one, and even a hint of Cinderella in there too. This story allows you to indulge in the delightful dream of being a fairytale princess.
As with many fairytales, it’s not all sparkle and unicorns, so don’t be fooled into thinking this is a story filled with just happiness and dreams come true. In fact there are no fairies, dragons or unicorns in this story, but there are cheetahs, elephants, monkeys, a leopard, a bear, parrots, peacocks (my parents have a peacock that visits their garden every day up in Yorkshire), and a pet mongoose which for some reason made me giggle each time it was mentioned. I did have to Google ‘mongoose’ to remind myself what they look like. It turns out they look not unlike the Superman meerkat cuddly toy I have on my computer desk. He keeps me company when my dog is snoring away, so I guess in a way I have a pet mongoose of my own. How exciting.
With only a handful of characters I found this story really easy to follow. I struggle when there are a lot of characters, but this story mainly focused on two friends, Mary and Sita, and gosh, how that innocent friendship as young girls shaped their futures was extraordinary! Let’s just say, when I started this book, I had no idea I’d end up where I did. What a truly incredible, sometimes shocking, and often emotional journey! Ooh, I’ve come over all tearful again. That ending!!! Anyone able to read the last scene without tears in their eyes must have a heart of stone, or no heart at all.
What I loved about the characters was the way my opinion of them changed over time. Depending on your personality, you may find yourself liking one character more than another, but it’s interesting to see as the characters develop and grow, whether your impression of them changes too. Mine certainly did. I loved watching Mary and Sita’s friendship blossom when they first met. How two very different personalities had a way of complimenting each other so well. At the time, little did I know what challenges they would face in the future.
My favourite character was Sita. I may not have always liked or agreed with her, but I found her the most intriguing, and admired her drive and motivation. Her desire to get on in life and be the most successful she could be, despite her unsupportive parents who treated her as if she was cursed (thank goodness my parents didn’t do that when I was born on Friday 13th), her lack of feeling loved, a deep desire for her parents to be proud of her, and her struggle to get an education, having to secretly read books (I can’t even imagine a childhood without books). Sita made me feel a mixture of emotions throughout, but mostly anguish and anticipation.
Beneath an Indian Sky is an emotional tale of friendship, passion, ambition, jealousy, guilt, regret and the importance of love. It is also my favourite book read this year so far, and quite possibly my favourite book by this author (although I’m not fully decided as I loved A Mother’s Secret so much). I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Renita D’Silva has done it again! She’s taken me off to another world, and made me fall in love with her characters as if they were real friends.
If you’ve enjoyed Renita’s books before, you’re going to LOVE this one. If you’ve never read any books by Renita, please, please, please read one of her books. I want more of you to experience her beautiful stories for yourselves.
This is my favourite quote from the book because of the beautiful image it placed in my mind:
A vast glimmering mirror and in the midst of it, floating serenely, a palace, its illuminated likeness reflected in the dark depths of the lake. Moonlight playing peekaboo with the stars, replicated on the placid, glowing water, which carries a sheen of starlight and a mystery all its own, hiding secrets within its soft, inviting depths.
Where to find this book:
About the Author:
Renita D’Silva loves stories, both reading and creating them. Her short stories have been published in ‘The View from Here’, ‘Bartleby Snopes’, ‘this zine’, ‘Platinum Page’, ‘Paragraph Planet’ among others and have been nominated for the ‘Pushcart’ prize and the ‘Best of the Net’ anthology. She is the author of ‘Monsoon Memories’,’The Forgotten Daughter’, ‘The Stolen Girl’, ‘A Sister’s Promise’, ‘A Mother’s Secret’, ‘A Daughter’s Courage’, ‘Beneath An Indian Sky’.
Where to find the author:
Here are the details of the blog tour in case any of you wish to follow the rest of the tour 🙂