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A Singular Hostage (Mariana Givens #1)

3.77  ·  Rating Details ·  459 Ratings  ·  50 Reviews
In a land of exotic splendor, a young Englishwoman finds herself guardian of an orphan child believed by a dying maharajah to be endowed with magical gifts. It is a role that will take her on a perilous journey into a kingdom’s walled city to protect a child she doesn’t know from a culture she doesn’t understand...

A Singular Hostage

The year is 1838. Mariana Givens, a spiri
Paperback, 352 pages
Published November 26th 2002 by Bantam (first published February 4th 2002)
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(showing 1-30)
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Sarah Pascarella
Jan 15, 2009 Sarah Pascarella rated it liked it
This book sat on my shelf for six years before I picked it up. I shouldn't have waited so long... it's an entertaining adventure story following Mariana Givens, a young British woman traveling through India in the 1800s, accompanying Lord Auckland's army as they seek to sign a treaty with India's Lord Maharajah to jointly invade Afghanistan. Mariana, originally sent to India to find a husband and work as a translator between the British and local Indians, instead finds herself drawn into a plot ...more
Dec 01, 2007 Jana rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: those who like historical fiction
I enjoyed this book, set in Victorian India, with a headstrong heroine who doesn't conform to the English rules. Those who enjoy historical fiction will like this.
Jan 06, 2008 Colleen rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
In the beginning, I was totally drawn into Mariana's story and had high hopes about this novel. The hints of tragedy in her past, her love of India and her sense of adventure make Mariana a very sympathetic heroine; I for one hoped that she was going to find happiness with Harry Fitzgerald, the one suitor who seemed to understand her. The desciption of life in India, the glimpses into the walled compounds of women, and the mystical undercurrent to Indian life added immeasurably to the narrative, ...more
Karen Hogan
Nov 13, 2016 Karen Hogan rated it liked it
This follows the story of Mariana Givens, who travels with the British army into India, with the hope of finding a suitable husband. But she finds more than she bargains for when she helps a young hostage escape from the Maharajah. Enjoyed reading about India and the Indian culture in the 1800's, and Mariana's trials: the elephants, the Citadel, the food, and the seclusion of the Indian women. All very fascinating.The portrayal of the British's condescending attitude toward the natives, and thei ...more
Jan 22, 2012 Susanne rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. Have gone back to it a number of times when there seemed to be nothing compelling on my book shelf. A fascinating historical read, a satisfying bit of romance, a clear-eyed and accurate look at the British in India with all their myopic sense of superiority.
Jenny Jeffries
Jul 11, 2007 Jenny Jeffries rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sarah
Really good period drama/adventure/romance/historical novel set in the British Raj period in India. A page-turner extraordinaire.
May 12, 2011 Shakila rated it it was amazing
This has been the most enjoyable trilogy ever, even the second and third time.
Nov 18, 2013 Kayleigh rated it it was amazing
A Signular Hostage by Thalassia Ali is fantastic book about a young british girl who is sent to India in search of a husband. The main character Mariana, stays in a British Camp with Lord Auckland, Miss Emily, Miss Fanny, and military soliders, While at the camp, Mariana meets a solider named Harry Fitzgereld and she falls in love with him, but Miss Emily forbids her to love this man for he has a bad reputation over women. Now, the Great Marajah of Punjab has stolen the baby, Saboor, and claims ...more
Mar 17, 2015 Kb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is not my usual type of book but I was looking for a change and I found it in this tale of India (now Pakistan) in the early 1800s. I am not one to like overdone romance novels, so I am glad the fledgling courtships did not occupy too much of the storyline. Instead we have a story of decent families trumping whatever social and political barriers are put in their way. And there are a lot of strict rules of behavior to attend to for women, whether they are British or "native". That part was ...more
Tony Cohen
Jan 11, 2008 Tony Cohen rated it liked it
Shelves: finished
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 20, 2016 Anita rated it it was ok
Looking at other ratings, I am wondering how any reader can give this convoluted tale of a British girl's first visit to India 5 stars. Were they reading a different book?
Mariana goes to India to find a husband but gets involved with the native population. Horrors! Apparently when deployed in India at that time, the British were not expected to associate with the Indian population, except for the fact that, of course, the natives were providing their meals, their transportation and catering to
May 12, 2015 Ida rated it liked it
I thought this novel was going to be based more on historical fact with a side order of make-believe, but this is not the case. The historical setting with a few real-life characters is what you get. Needless to say, the more I read, the more I felt this book belongs in the historical romance genre. It was a pleasant change for me. Mariana, a young English woman sent to India to find a suitable husband and to escape her non-conforming past, travels with Lord Auckland's troops through India as an ...more
Jul 12, 2008 Jennifer rated it it was ok
I picked up this book on a recommendation from a friend, but I didn't find it as appealing as I had hoped. The story revolves around a young British woman sent to India to (hopefully) find a husband. She becomes caught up in a tussle over a young boy, whom she eventually kidnaps/saves. The historical elements were portrayed well, but I guess I kept expecting more -- more action, more intrigue, more characterization, hell, even more romance. Not a horrible book, but I don't think it actually live ...more
Aug 12, 2008 Katelyn rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who loved The Blue Sword
If you liked The Blue Sword, you'll love this book.

Mariana is an Englishwoman who has gone to India to find a husband amongst the young military men. However, her impulsiveness is legendary. At the same time, the elderly Maharajah is keeping a baby with supposed supernatural powers hostage. Will Mariana find love? Will the baby be rescued?

I loved the premise of this book. My only complaint is that the ending was non-eventful. Which may actually be good, because it stops the book from being cli
Nellie Rogers
Jun 16, 2012 Nellie Rogers rated it really liked it
An epic historic drama set in India reminicent of the 'the Far Pavillions'. Unusually the main character is a high-spirited English woman - one of the fishing fleet - who's come out to find herself a husband. The dull party circuit is not yielding any proposals so as she has learnt Hindi in her spare time, she joins the British Army on their way north. She ends up with two marriage proposals: one from the Maharaja and one from a well-to-do Indian. I won't spoil the story but it's an easy read an ...more
Sheri Ward
Apr 11, 2011 Sheri Ward rated it really liked it
I loved this book! It was a very different book from any others I have ever read, but I found it calling me during my day.....come and read me! It is the story of a young English woman, Mariana Givens, who, in the 1800's who is sent to India to find a husband. She ends up being given a young baby boy, Saboor, who is being held hostage by the Indian Maharajah. A very good story!! It is the first of a trilogy, and I plan on reading the rest in this series.
Karen Lovell
Sep 19, 2012 Karen Lovell rated it it was amazing
Wonderfully written series set in the 1800's, India/Pakistan starring a very unconventional heroine Mariana, who saves a young mystic named Saboor, she is offered marriage by his father and unwittingly she declares this proposal to escape a proposal of the Maharaja (a one eyed elderly man, who kept Saboor as hostage). Mariana faces many adventures in her bid to keep Saboor safe. I have started on the second book in the series which promises to be every bit as enjoyable.
May 28, 2012 Carol rated it really liked it
I am entranced as much with the scenery painted in words as I am with the story told. The book takes place in India where a young Englishwoman is traveling with an entourage of thousands to Lord Auckland. Our heroine is a translator, but her true mission is to find a husband. Apparently, the young woman, Mariana, finds more to love in the country than any man she meets. And, her mission takes a turn when she becomes embroiled in the life of an orphan believed to have magical powers.
Jan 21, 2012 Patricia rated it really liked it
I was quickly drawn up into this story of a single woman in the 1830's sent to India by her family in order to find a husband. She is a high spirited independent minded woman who is more interested in learning than in finding a husband. She finds herself caught up in a mystical voyage that she neither understands nor wants. Unfortunately the ending came too quickly and left me with questions that are unanswered. I would recommend it nevertheless.
Jul 03, 2011 Susan rated it really liked it
Historical Fiction. Takes place in 1838, when things had to be proper and women were only expected to marry and have a family and not really think for themselves. Mariana is in India with the British Lord Auckland as a translator. She does some amazing things for her day and age, revolving around a little boy, Saboor. Some might even call her a little crazy! Her family wants her to find a husband but she finds herself above all else.
Feb 12, 2008 Patty rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Readers of Historical Fiction
In the mid 1800's Mariana Givens travels to India to live with her aunt and uncle in order to find a suitable husband among the British officers. Although she is attractive enough, she is a nonconformist and too interested in the "natives." Her curiosity gets her into a situation beyond her control as she travels as part of a diplomatic mission.
Jen Evans
Jul 12, 2011 Jen Evans rated it it was amazing
I loved how this book moved you through some of the history of India and the British coming in to rule. Learned some customs as well. I am excited to read the love story that I hope will start up in the next book. Confused? It takes a turn towards the end with the hopes that the main character will eventually fall in love. Especially since she was sent to India to find a husband.
Aug 31, 2007 Kelly rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
An outspoken young woman travels to India to find a husband in the 1800s. She finds one, just not the one she thought she would. That's probably simplifying the plot too much -- this is a lovely book and one of my frequent rereads.
Dec 18, 2013 TienvoorNegen rated it really liked it
a book that makes me sigh and brings back memories of the first book that made me fall in love with 19th century India.. (the far pavilions).
this book was the first of three.. my hopes are up for the next ones!
Jun 16, 2009 Rachel rated it liked it
I think I was hoping for a book similar to the Far Pavillions or Shadow of the Moon. This book was neither and sort of dragged until the end. The end was pretty good but left me with a cliffhanger. Ugh! Now I can't decide whether it would be worth it to read the second one....
Laura Lee
May 17, 2012 Laura Lee rated it liked it
Victorian India. Pretty good.
Jun 07, 2010 Julie rated it it was amazing
My mind went completely to India. Loved it!
Jozo Mandić
Mar 26, 2013 Jozo Mandić rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
Nije ono što sam očekivao. Nije loša knjiga, ali ipak nešto fali :/ Možda će, to što očekujem, biti u nastavcima.
Nov 29, 2014 L F rated it it was amazing
A little something for everyone. Romance. Adventure. Mystery. Historically correct.
Reed Bilz
Victorian India
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