Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Below the Peacock Fan: First Ladies of the Raj” as Want to Read:
Below the Peacock Fan: First Ladies of the Raj
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Below the Peacock Fan: First Ladies of the Raj

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  125 ratings  ·  12 reviews
The lives of four Victorian gentlewomen are transformed when they leave the cozy confines of England for India to accompany their husbands or a brother who were appointed Viceroys of India, the crown jewel of the British Empire. Emily Eden, Charlotte Canning, Edith Lytton and Mary Curzon were well-born, cultivated women who experienced the extremes of decadence in a countr ...more
ebook, Second, 352 pages
Published May 22nd 2013 by Bev Editions (first published November 1st 1987)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Below the Peacock Fan, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Below the Peacock Fan

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.05  · 
Rating details
 ·  125 ratings  ·  12 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of Below the Peacock Fan: First Ladies of the Raj
Doris
Four 'First Ladies' of the Raj, chosen from distinct periods of the Raj. Emily Eden (and her sister Fanny), accompanied her brother, George Eden, Lord Auckland, when he was appointed Governor General in 1835; they remained there until 1842. Charlotte Canning came to India with her husband Charles in 1856, and she would be buried there in 1861. Emily Lytton's husband Robert would be appointed Viceroy in 1875; they arrived in 1876 and remained until 1880. Mary Curzon made her triumphant debut as V ...more
Laura L. Van Dam
Sep 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
No puedo separar este libro de las circunstancias en que lo compré.
Luego de visitar por dentro uno de los edificios del siglo XIX más hermosos de Buenos Aires, el Palacio de las Aguas Corrientes, de 1887...

... convencí a mi esposo de que recorriéramos unos metros, ya que enfrente de este edificio está una de mis librerías preferidas de toda la vida, la Librería Anticuaria El Glyptodón...


... donde siempre encuentro cosas extraordinarias.
Ni siquiera tuve que entrar, porque este librito estaba en
...more
Saurabh
Aug 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Amazing book. It tells the stories of four "First Ladies" of the British Raj, often in their own words gleaned by the author from letters and memoirs. The first, Emily Eden, is by far the best. She comes across as a fully three-dimensional character with the kind of independent spirit that is timeless. Her writings are the best of the four too - very readable and full of wit. One senses she is the author's favourite as well. Fowler has done a tremendous job with this book. She is of course not v ...more
Tamara
Jan 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, own
An amazing history of the Raj from the viewpoint of the women who served alongside the Viceroys. Much of the story is told through letters the women wrote during their sojourn in India. The book was both a fascinating read concerning the changing roles and expectations of "noble" women and the changes to the Raj itself. This one stays in my library. ...more
Mary
A fascinating story of the British Raj in India through 4 Vicereines told in a brilliantly wry style.
P.D.R. Lindsay
Aug 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-ficiton, research
The four 1st ladies span the 19thC and so this book gives a great overview of the life and time of the British Raj. It's opinionated, but solid research backs up the opinions. I needed background for my new novel and have found excellent references in the book.

What I knew about each woman is not quite historically accurate. I received the spin doctored accounts in my general reading. This book gets me firmly on track with some sharp comments backed up by good references, often letters and offici
...more
Emily Von pfahl
3.5 star rating. A fascinating, if a trifle slow, read. I knew next to nothing about British rule in India and not only did this book teach me a lot, but it made me very curious to discover more.
Additionally, it was eye opening to get first person accounts from women of what their lives were like during the Victorian era. Most of my ideas of what life was like came from fiction books which I know give a distorted perspective. I am very thankful to not live in a time where I was told I was inferi
...more
Gunda
Nov 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This one is all about the sisters, wives of the different Viceroys in the 19th and 20th centuries and how they saw India.
India changed their lives in a significant way, it ties in beautifully with The Fishing Fleet although this is by a different author.

Such a lot of history presented well. I can recommend this highly.
Beverly
May 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyable book to read. You watch the progression of British rule in India as seen from the wives/sisters of the reigning British ruler, including the interactions between British and Indian citizens and to some degree the attitude of each towards the other.
Jbondandrews
While I enjoyed reading this book, I was disappointed that the women were only interested in serving their husbands. Only Emily Eden, though devoted to her brother, was an interesting character but allowed herself to dwindle away.
Pamela
Jul 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
These women are truly remarkable given the time in history and the restraints upon them. A look at real life in India during British Colonial times.
Rhiannon Ryder
rated it it was amazing
Feb 15, 2010
Rina Ralls
rated it really liked it
Oct 08, 2015
Sanna Pradhan
rated it it was ok
Aug 16, 2014
Susan Elliott
rated it really liked it
Apr 22, 2019
Caitlin
rated it really liked it
Nov 15, 2014
L A Sawyer
rated it really liked it
May 13, 2020
Michelle
rated it liked it
Feb 22, 2016
Anne Catherine Houston
rated it it was amazing
Jan 20, 2019
Robyn Ward-Clark
rated it it was amazing
Jul 08, 2016
Mary Joyce Samles
rated it liked it
Apr 03, 2020
Andrea Engle
rated it it was amazing
Jun 27, 2014
Kay McPherson
rated it liked it
Sep 25, 2016
Laura Betty Mora
rated it it was amazing
Feb 03, 2018
R J Wolrige Gordon
rated it really liked it
May 11, 2018
J R Bishop
rated it really liked it
Jun 23, 2018
Joshua
rated it it was ok
Jun 24, 2020
BonnieL
rated it liked it
Jun 28, 2009
Reena
rated it did not like it
May 15, 2018
rose
rated it liked it
Sep 11, 2015
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Now a Bestselling eBook! 1 2 Jul 15, 2013 09:40AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Shadows in Death (In Death, #51)
  • Paranoid
  • Absolute Fear (New Orleans, #4)
  • Below the Bones (Widow's Island, #5)
  • The Quest for Queen Mary
  • Quicksand (Eve Duncan, #8)
  • Modoc: The True Story of the Greatest Elephant That Ever Lived
  • Shiver (New Orleans, #3)
  • Lost Souls (New Orleans, #5)
  • How to Be a Good Creature: A Memoir in Thirteen Animals
  • Night and Day (Eve Duncan, #21)
  • The Good Son (Reed & Billie #2)
  • Twisted Truth (Rogue Justice #1)
  • Out of Her Mind (Sawyer Brooks, #2)
  • See Her Die (Bree Taggert, #2)
  • Willing to Die (Alvarez & Pescoli, #8)
  • The Boat Man (Reed & Billie, #1)
  • Buried Deep (Jessie Cole, #4)
See similar books…
1 follower
Marian Fowler holds a Ph.D. in English literature from the University of Toronto and was the recipient of the Canadian Biography Award. She has taught at York University and is the author of a number of books, including In a Gilded Cage, Below the Peacock Fan, The Embroidered Tent, Blenheim and The Way She Looks Tonight. She lives in Toronto.

Related Articles

Happy Women's History Month! One of the undisputedly good things about modern scholarship is that women’s history is finally getting its due....
104 likes · 18 comments
“While the Cannings were still at Bombay, Lord Elphinstone was a charming host and got up two expeditions to famous caves, which showed just how far Raj formality had spread since the Edens' time. On January 31st, a large party went to the caves of Keneri, where everyone had their own cave furnished with washing tubs, sofas, writing-tables "and all requisites down to pen knives and India rubber bands," as Canning noted approvingly in his diary. Lord Elphinstone's servants had laboriously carried all this paraphernalia during the night "to this desolate uninhabited, trackless spot." The Imperial Presence became even more pronounced on February 5th when the Cannings went by steamer to the caves of Elephanta. Tents and huts had been set up outside where the party all changed into evening clothes- all frightfully well organized. Dinner for fifty people was laid in the principal cave, complete with champagne coolers, finger bowls, everything. The British toasted their Queen while Hindu gods carved in the dank rock leered lasciviously. On” 0 likes
“Thuggee had prospered for 2,000 years before Lord William Bentinck ordered Captain William Sleeman to stamp it out, leaving only the word "thug" itself to survive in common English parlance.” 0 likes
More quotes…