I read Michelle Moran’s Nefertiti a few months ago, and was completely drawn into her historical fiction, so when NetGalley offered me the ARC of her new book Rebel Queen my reaction was a resounding YES PLEASE!!!!!!
There is “historical fiction” that is loosely based on a time period or event, but I never really take it any more seriously than any other fiction book that I read.
Than there is REAL HISTORICAL FICTION, where the author does buckets and buckets of research, and the end product is more fact than novel. There’s usually a hefty author’s note at the beginning, and an even bigger one at the end, explaining all of the changes made to the real events. And when you read the book, it does not take long to imagine yourself in ancient Egypt, or in India during the British colonization.
This is how I feel when I read Michelle Moran’s books. I really liked Nefertiti…I LOVED Rebel Queen. It is one of those books that even when I am not actively reading it, I’m playing parts of it in my head. Serious book hangover here. Last night while I was cutting potatoes for dinner, I was definitely reliving scenes from the Rani Mahal.
There’s such a vast spectrum of culture described in this book, and I was completely enthralled. And then when the bright colors of India clash up against Victorian England–it is almost comical to watch–the difference in modesty rules: showing belly but not breasts vs breasts but not belly, men eating with women, kissing hands. Brightness does not always mean vulgarity.
The strength of female characters in this history is what struck me the most. The Rani and her Durga Dal are fierce competition for the British. In a country where most women are in purdah, and where in the rest of the world women are seen as meek and mild socialites, having a group of educated, strong, fighting women is such an amazing thing to me. These are good heroes. Can we start teaching our girls about these women in school?
This book is a win. It’s release date is set for March 3, and it is definitely on my TO BUY list!
Disclaimer: This ARC was given to me by NetGalley.
I’m going to count this as #28 on PopSugar Challenge (A book with antonyms in the title), because it’s probably as close as I’m going to get.