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Women of the Raj
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Group Reads Archive > Women of the Raj by Margaret Macmillan (2013 Reading Challenge)

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message 1: by Ally (new) - added it

Ally (goodreadscomuser_allhug) | 1653 comments Mod
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Women of the Raj by Margaret MacMillan Women of the Raj by Margaret MacMillan

message 2: by Val (last edited Jan 04, 2013 08:16AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Val I have started reading this one. It covers a very long period of time and impressions of women from throughout that time are mixed together quite a lot. I started off trying to concentrate on those from the twentieth century, but am finding that difficult. (She has stories from the years of the Raj, 1858 to 1947, the British East India Company rule, 1757 to 1858, the earlier years of the company, 1612 to 1757, and even a few from earlier and from post-independence India.)
One thing that strikes me immediately is how few opportunities the middle-class British women who are the main focus of the book had to meet any Indian women. They would all have their servants of course, but they wouldn't usually have talked to them, particularly the male servants, whatever nationality they were. Some of them would not have wanted to meet Indians, but some must have been curious and found it very difficult to satisfy that curiosity.
There was one enterprising hostess who set up three dining tents and kitchens, for Hindus, Muslims and Europeans, so that the first two could obey their dietary traditions and the European women could eat at the same table as their husbands. The company could then mingle after the meal.

Joanne (seagreenreader) I've just started this one, and my first impression is that I'm going to enjoy it more than I did The Fishing Fleet, which seemed to skate the surface of the subject a bit.

Susan | 774 comments Have started this today and think I am in the minority, as I much prefer the chatty style of the Fishing Fleet to this. It is interesting so far, but perhaps not long enough to really get to grips with the subject matter, at only just over 200 pages.

Susan | 774 comments I did like this book more than I expected in the end. It was a really interesting and well balanced account of women's lives during the Raj. You felt things, such as the caste system, caused a lot of misunderstanding between the British and the Indian community. Overall, I preferred The Fishing Fleet though, but still an enjoyable read.

Joanne (seagreenreader) I particularly enjoyed the chapter on those women who stepped outside the conventional life and did their own thing.

message 7: by Amy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Amy | 38 comments I really enjoyed this as a jumping off point to find out more about the subject. As there is an incredible amount of things she could discuss, she introduced us to the topic in a manageable way. I didn't find this a tedious read at all. I would now like to find out more about the fall of the raj.

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