Title: Rebel Queen
Author: Michelle Moran
Publish Date: March 3, 2015 (Yesterday!)
Source: I received a copy from the publisher; however, this did not affect my review.
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "When the British Empire
sets its sights on India in the 1850s, it expects a quick and easy
conquest. After all, India is not even a country, but a collection of
kingdoms on the subcontinent. But when the British arrive in the Kingdom
of Jhansi, expecting its queen to forfeit her crown, they are met with a
surprise. Instead of surrendering, Queen Lakshmi raises two armies—one
male, one female—and rides into battle like Joan of Arc. Although her
soldiers are little match against superior British weaponry and
training, Lakshmi fights against an empire determined to take away the
land she loves."
My Two Cents:
This is one of those books that I feel like I have been anxiously awaiting for a very long time (according to Goodreads, it looks like maybe I added it to my TBR way back in 2013! The book is just coming out now so it has been a long (but very worthwhile) wait. I haven't read nearly enough of Moran's books (I must fix this!) but this book is definitely in the vein of some of the things that I loved about her other books between a memorable story, great characters, and rich historical detail.
In "Rebel Queen," we meet the last queen of India, Queen Lakshmi. I did not know much about her at all before reading this book but was very drawn to the character for her strength and her part in the history of India. We get to know Queen Lakshmi through one of her confidantes and her female guards, Sita. Queen Lakshmi is obviously the marquee character her but Sita is fascinating in her own right. I really loved this character! Through a lot of hard work, she makes her way into the elite guard forces (a process which I loved reading about). She is committed to her family and works very hard to provide a dowry for her beloved younger sister. Moran creates a really well-rounded, real feeling main character that I loved to follow.
The historical detail in this book is a treat! I love reading about India but I feel like a lot of the fiction that I have read that is set there is mostly set in the 20th century so Sita's world was brand new to me. Moran paints a rich picture of court life and the struggles between the Indians and the Brits. All the detail made the story feel incredibly rich and pulled me in right from the start! Overall, this is a great story that historical fiction lovers will eat right up!