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The Splendor of Silence
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The Splendor of Silence

3.74  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,245 Ratings  ·  153 Reviews
When Sam Hawthorne, a twenty-five-year-old U.S. Army captain, arrives at the princely state of Rudrakot in May of 1942, it is on a personal quest to find his missing brother. But Sam's mission is soon threatened by the unlikeliest of sources -- he falls hopelessly in love with Mila, daughter of the local political agent. And Mila, unexpectedly attracted to Sam, finds herse ...more
Published September 1st 2006 by Blackstone Audiobooks
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Nov 28, 2015 Nina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: india
This was a soppy romance set at the end of the british raj. I never felt connected to the main characters, and the story just seamed to long. On the whole the story was mildly interesting so I give it 3 stars. Also, the book has all the ingredients of an epic romance/blockbuster type movie.
Carol Meissner
What a satisfying experience to hear this book read by Sneha Mathan on the audio version of this well written book. Since the story takes place in India I appreciated the Indian accent and lilting quality of the the reader's voice. That, coupled, with a well orchestrated, interesting, and well researched story provided the basis for my high opinion.

Every chapter begins with a quote about "The Raj experience" either from a British or Indian perspective. This background information added to the d
May 11, 2012 Bethany rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At the moment I'm devouring books about India, and this one definitely satisfied. Overall, the time covered in the book is no more than a week (spread over April/May 1942 and April 1963), but the author skilfully packs a lot into such a short amount of time.
Primarily, it is a book about infatuation and obsession. These are things such as money (Ken), lust and sex (Mila, Sam and others), power (Vimal), reputation (Kiran) and human companionship (Jai). The collision of these obsessions drives the
May 24, 2016 Selma rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ljubavna priča koja je trajala samo četiri dana promijenila je sve. Na 500 strana Indu je uspjela smjestiti prekrasnu priču, prelijepe opise Indije, njihove običaje i sukobe. Upravo sam završila sa čitanjem a već znam da će mi dugo nedostajati ovi likovi iz knjige.
Jun 01, 2007 Shama rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone.
Shelves: alreadyread
I really enjoyed this book. I read the author's first book, Twentieth Wife, which has a sequel but did not feel compelled enough to read the sequel. I'm glad I read this one though (the author's third). It shows how the author is growing in her writing skills and was just a very nice book to read. I enjoyed it. I can't give it a 5 because there were some things I felt were missing from the story, but overall, it was very enjoyable.
Jul 26, 2011 Donna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In 1963 Seattle a grieving daughter opens a mysterious trunk. There she finds buried among silk saris, jewelry, and trinkets, a story. The story she has been waiting all her life to hear. The story of the American father who raised her and the Indian mother she never knew. In the early days of Americas involvement in WWII Captain Sam Hawthorne of the 3rd Burma Rangers embarks on a dangerous mission behind enemy lines to locate a stranded American missionary and escort her through the jungles of ...more
Kathleen Hagen
The Splendor of Silence, by Indu Sundarisan narrated by Sneha Mathan, produced by Blackstone Audio, downloaded from

Most of the story of this book took place in 1942 WW II India where the battle between British imperialism and Indian nationalism was beginning to come to the fore, and in fact held more interest for the Indians, at least, than the war with Japan. Sam Hawthorne, an American army captain, comes to India on a secret mission, to find his brother, Mike, who people say has g
Aug 23, 2012 Smitha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Splendor of Silence is a sweet romantic story, woven into the period where India was still under British Rule.

It starts off with Olivia, an American girl, getting a trunk filled with her Indian mother’s belongings. She has grown up with her grandmother and father, who has always been curiously quiet about her mother. In the trunk, she finds a letter which begins to tell her the story of her parents.

It was 1942, Mila, the daughter of the Political Resident, Raman, is betrothed to Jai, the Pri
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 12, 2008 Samia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
About 3/4 into the book, I didn't know how Sundaresan was going to reconcile all the different storylines, but she was able to do so beautifully by the end of the book. This novel took a fascinating period of history (British occupation of India and the established nationalist movement), and combined it with personal story of one family and how this period in India's history affected them all. Though fiction, I learned a lot about the struggle for freedom, and fragility of human relations in Ind ...more
Feb 22, 2014 Ritu rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
The year is 1942. Pre-independence period of India. Setting is a princely state called Rudrakot with a sitting prince named Jai. An American, Sam Hawthorne, comes to Rudrakot, under the pretence of resting his injured shoulder and seeks the hospitality of the political agent named Raman who is an ICS officer. Sam stays in Raman's home with Raman's children - Kiran, Mila and Ashok. Immediately, there is an attraction between Sam and Mila and they indulge in a fiery love affair. Mila is engaged to ...more
Apr 28, 2014 Susan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audible-books
I give the story, it's rich history, the colorful nature of the narrative, the depth a 3.5-4 start rating. The narration of the audio book is amazing. Simply amazing. The middle of the story seems lost, stuck as if the author had a page count in mind and set about to stretch and bloat the story to achieve it. Much of the middle of the this book is not needed. I almost gave up. I'm glad I didn't. This book hooked me early-- but almost lost me during the boring middle...
Nov 30, 2009 Heidi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. Most of the book is a flashback to 1942 India and Burma, where an American soldier and a fairly privileged young Indian woman form a brief attachment that results in the birth of a daughter. It is played out against the backdrop of WWII and the Indian Nationalist movement. There's a lot of historical and cultural detail, as well as very good writing.
Historical Fiction

Set in 1942 India, the pro-democracy effort was gaining strength, with India seeking to oust the long British rule.

When Sam, an American soldier, arrives at one of the princely states on a secret mission, his presence sets in motion a chain of events no one could have foreseen.

Indu Sundaresan authored two of my all-time favorite historical fiction books, The Twentieth Wife and The Feast of Roses, #1 and #2 in the Taj Mahal series. I read them at least ten years ago, and still r
Jan 24, 2008 Jacqueline rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
By far my favorite read last year. The characters were developed well and the description of India was realisticaly romantic. The story is set in India during the decline of British rule. This love story is mixed well with historic events beginning in the 1940s. I've never read 400 pages so fast!
Sep 19, 2007 kP rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
seemingly common story line of a traditional girl bethroted by her father but falls for another guy (from a different nationality of all things) is done extremely spendidly by the author!!

The time period and the historical details make the story so much more exciting and beautiful.

Loved it!!!
Nov 19, 2008 Ilene rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was really interesting; about India during WWII era. There is a lot of commentary on the Indian-British social struggles. The story has everything: romance, action, and drama. I really enjoy reading Sundaresan's books. This was every bit as good as "The Twentieth Wife" and "The Feast of Roses."
Mar 13, 2008 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a great storyteller. I was drawn in almost from the beginning and the ending so neatly (but not tritely) pulled everything together. I do hope she writes a sequel, as she mentions in the author interview. Now I'm going to get The Twentieth Wife...
May 28, 2008 Beth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really like this author a lot and have read her 2 other books. I went through this book really quickly. My only complaint is that it ends kind of definitely needs a sequel. The author hints at one at the end so I'll be on the lookout!
Mar 02, 2008 Blythe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the storyline and how the author jumped from the main character's time in Burma to the present in Rudrakot. At first I was very confused by the voice behind the letter written to Olivia but was pleasantly suprised in the end.
Sep 16, 2009 Marie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting to read about India during the time when Britain occupied it and Japan was at was with them. The food the culture the scenery. Sounded stunning. Very well written and most of all a beatiful love story.
Nov 24, 2008 Jordyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I looove this book! It's epic, romantic, and heart breaking. Set in British colonized India in the early 20th century an Indian woman and an American soldier fall in love amidst racism and political turmoil.
Feb 06, 2014 Tiffanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
Set in imperial India,during WWII, Sam Hawthorne looks for his missing brother who had been stationed in a small Indian Princely State. Sam falls in love with an Indian women and sets her life and the lives around her into a whirlwind.

I think I'd give this book a 3.5 rating if I could. I learned a lot about imperial India, but I like stories that move a little faster. The book is mostly a letter from the Prince to the daughter of Sam, and he mentioned details of Sam's life that there is no way
Dec 20, 2009 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is a bit of language, but not a ton. I was annoyed with a lot of the flashing back and forth in the first half. I didn't see the ending coming. It was gripping and completely threw me.
May 03, 2009 Mina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow, captured my interest through the end, intriguing epic story, has everything. Not really about WWII but written during that time, great story and weaving cultures together.
Jun 06, 2008 Cheri rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic! I don't know what I'm going to do now without another Indu Sundaresan book to read. She is by far one of my favorite authors if not MY FAVORITE AUTHOR!
Yasmeen Al-Shehab
Jun 06, 2007 Yasmeen Al-Shehab rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After reading her other two books about the Mughal period of India, this one was a different twist, and different writing style. I enjoyed the story nonetheless..
Emily Miller
Feb 12, 2013 Emily Miller rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book jumps back and forth, yet Indu Sundaresan still makes it easy to follow. I think her writing style improves with each book and I'm really enjoying this one.
Mar 27, 2007 Lila rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another good book by Indu Sundaresan. While her previous two books dealt with Mughal India, this takes placces in india during the British Raj around WW2.
Sep 15, 2007 Hanaan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book for it's genre! For the third time in a row, Sundaresan does not disappoint. If you like romantic historical fiction, you'll like this.
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Indu Sundaresan was born in India and grew up on Air Force bases all over the country. Her father, a fighter pilot, was also a storyteller—managing to keep his audiences captive and rapt with his flair for drama and timing. He got this from his father, Indu's grandfather, whose visits were always eagerly awaited. Indu's love of stories comes from both of them, from hearing their stories based on i ...more
More about Indu Sundaresan...

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“But nothing could be held true for the rest of one's life, every coveted thing in the end was maya, illusion, a myth, and this the great sages of India had always understood --- little was real. We were put on this earth transitorily; we deposited our genes in offspring; deluded ourselves that we would be missed when we were gone; pretended that money, wealth, titles, and land were to be desired. But every such thing was ephemeral, prone to change. The only reason to live was love.” 2 likes
“She thought she could see the lines on his forehead even in this darkness, she thought she could hear his heart beat with this colossal pain that had descended upon them all. She did not pity herself, or them, or wonder what they had done to deserve all of this, or even think that perhaps they were all paying their dues for some sin they had committed in a previous life. This was life, such as it was, and it had to be borne, it had to be lived.” 2 likes
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