Sunday, March 16, 2014

#BookReview : The Midnight Rose: A Novel by Lucinda Riley

On the jacket:

Spanning four generations, The Midnight Rose sweeps from the glittering palaces of the great maharajas of India to the majestic stately homes of England, following the extraordinary life of a remarkable girl, Anahita Chaval, from 1911 to the present day . . .  In the heyday of the British Raj, eleven-year-old Anahita, from a noble but impoverished family, forms a lifelong friendship with the headstrong Princess Indira, the privileged daughter of Indian royalty. As the princess's official companion, Anahita accompanies her friend to England just before the outbreak of WorldWar I. There, she meets young Donald Astbury;reluctant heir to the magnificent, remote Astbury Estate;and his scheming mother.   Ninety years later, Rebecca Bradley, a young American film star, has the world at her feet. But when her turbulent relationship with her equally famous boyfriend takes an unexpected turn, she's relieved that her latest role, playing a 1920s debutante, will take her away from the glare of publicity to a distant corner of the English countryside. Shortly after filming begins at the now-crumbling Astbury Hall, Ari Malik, Anahita's great-grandson, arrives unexpectedly, on a quest for his family's past. What he and Rebecca discover begins to unravel the dark secrets that haunt the Astbury dynasty . . .   A multilayered, heartbreaking tale filled with unforgettable characters caught in the sweep of history, The Midnight Rose is Lucinda Riley at her most captivating and unforgettable.


It had been a while I had read a family saga spanning over generations and when The Midnight Rose arrived, it was a welcome break from other reads. A very well-researched work of fiction spanning across generations and continents, The Midnight Rose left me with a warm, queasy feeling with in.

Excellent editing, which has kept the plot racy and tight, well-defined characters and a kind of a plot which drags you write within itself, to witness the events. The story begins on the birthday of Anahita Chauhan, when she is old and crippled, needs help with her work but is looking forward to meeting her entire family in the grand party arranged by her daughter. All this while, missing her son whom she had lost when he was 2. 

The story moves from the present to the past, going way back to Anahita's growing years. A whole lot of characters are introduced, in the past and in the present. Riley has done a wonderful job in the plot handling the transition between the eras smoothly. Writing such a long story is not easy, but here, there is no loophole, no wrong information. The entire reading experience was a remarkable one, the story - brilliant!

Rating: ****.5/5

[This review is for Pan Macmillan India. The opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.]

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