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Recommendations? > HF on India

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message 1: by Laura (new)

Laura (munkholm) | 2 comments I am looking for some good historical fiction about India, any ideas? Hoping to go on a yoga retreat there, and would love some inspiration. Thanks!


message 2: by Diane S ☔ (new)

Diane S ☔ I have to books at home here that have just come out, but I have not read them yet. A Walk Across the Sun and Leela's Book.


message 4: by Jackie, That's Her Constableness to you! (last edited Feb 26, 2012 05:06PM) (new)

Jackie (thenightowl) | 2463 comments Mod
Indu Sundaresan has a series of sorts. It follows the love story of Emperor Jahangir and Mehrunnisa and goes up too the making of the Taj Mahal. There is romance in it, but there is also a lot of political intrigue, facts on the culture, harem life, etc. It's very good.

The Twentieth Wife
The Feast of Roses
Shadow Princess: A Novel

She's also written The Splendor of Silence, which takes place in 1942 but I haven't read that one.


ETA: I just thought of Siddhartha. Such a classic! Here is a list of Best Indian books: http://www.goodreads.com/list/show/40... Not all of them are HF, but there are some that look interesting like Beneath a Marble Sky.


message 5: by Nancy from NJ (new)

Katz Nancy from NJ (nancyk18) A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry is one of the best books on India and part of its more recent history

Maybe not HF but great all the same:

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
The World We Made by Thrity Umrigar
The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar

Loved Benaeth A Marble Sky


message 6: by Danielle (new)

Danielle | 172 comments Beneath a Marble Sky is wonderful!


message 7: by Melanie (last edited Feb 26, 2012 06:27PM) (new)

Melanie (ladybugh) | 124 comments There is also Deanna Raybourn's Dark Road to Darjeelingand MM Kaye's Shadow of the Moon.

White Mughals: Love and Betrayal in Eighteenth-Century India by William Dalrymple is supposed to be good...but I haven't read it yet.


message 8: by Danielle (new)

Danielle | 172 comments Laura have you thought of reading any Nonfiction books? There are some good ones out there.


message 9: by Cheryl A (new)

Cheryl A | 972 comments I read a couple of YA books set in the 1930's - Keeping Corner by Kashmira Sheth and Climbing the Stairs by Padma Venkatraman. Both were good and a good introduction to a time and culture I knew (and still know) little about.


message 10: by Kate (new)

Kate Quinn | 591 comments Bernard Cornwell's three first Sharpe novels are set in India - Sharpe's Tiger, Sharpe's Triumph, Sharpe's Fortress. But Cornwell is battle-heavy, so expect gore. Great stuff on India, though.


message 11: by Laura (new)

Laura (munkholm) | 2 comments Thank you everyone!! I am heading to the bookstore tonight. :)


message 12: by Bonnie (new)

Bonnie Laura wrote: "I am looking for some good historical fiction about India, any ideas? Hoping to go on a yoga retreat there, and would love some inspiration. Thanks!"

I am currently reading and loving The Sandalwood Tree. The Sandalwood Tree


message 13: by Lori (new)

Lori Baldi | -37 comments I have a shelf of books based in India. The fascination started years ago with The Far Pavillions. Really good. But my favorites by far are the Raj Quartet by Paul Scott. The first in the series is The Jewel in the Crown. The series was filmed & shown on Masterpiece Theatre in the US many many years ago. Very good, very thought provoking.


message 14: by Loren (new)

Loren DeShon (lorendeshon) | 23 comments Another vote for The Far Pavillions.


message 15: by blueemerald (new)

blueemerald | 17 comments Hello,
I have a great interest in India and created an Amazon Listmania on India fiction. http://www.amazon.com/into-India/lm/R...
Soonish I want to create a Listopia on Goodreads.

Interesting to see titles I am not familiar with via this blog. Thanks!


message 16: by Bonnie (new)

Bonnie thank you blue. My bookclub is reading Sandalwood Tree this month (my choice) so I am happy to have this list to share with them.


message 17: by Garth (last edited Jul 04, 2012 11:39AM) (new)

Garth Here are a couple of Goodreads/Listopia lists on India historical fiction:

pre-1900s India: http://www.goodreads.com/list/show/22...

1900s/2000s India: http://www.goodreads.com/list/show/22...


message 18: by Renuka (new)

Renuka (rtyagi) Another one - Zemindar by Valerie Fitzerald.


message 20: by C.P. (last edited Sep 16, 2012 05:11PM) (new)

C.P. Lesley (cplesley) | 717 comments Mary Jo Putney's Veils of Silk is set in India and is much better than you might expect from its romance billing. It is book 3 of a three-book series, but the other two are set in England and Central Asia rather than India per se.

I actually loved book 2, Silk and Secrets, but I am more a Central Asia person than an India person. Book 1 is fine, but I had a really hard time imagining that Brits in that period could tolerate an Indian son-in-law. They sure did not when I lived there in the 1950s/1960s. But that aside, the book is okay.


message 21: by Laura (new)

Laura Gill | 162 comments Jackie wrote: "Indu Sundaresan has a series of sorts. It follows the love story of Emperor Jahangir and Mehrunnisa and goes up too the making of the Taj Mahal. There is romance in it, but there is also a lot of ..."

The Twentieth Wife felt a little rushed for some reason. I can't quite put my finger on it why I felt that way about it, though. Am I just imagining it?


message 22: by Jackie, That's Her Constableness to you! (new)

Jackie (thenightowl) | 2463 comments Mod
It's been awhile since I read it, but I don't recall feeling that it was rushed. Did you enjoy it?


message 23: by Ashley (new)

Ashley Arthur (ashleyunc) After reading "The Far Pavilions," I went a bit crazy over fiction set in India. There is a series by Katharine Gordon that begins with "The Emerald Peacock." Ratan Kaul also has a great book called "Wings of Freedom" that is available on Kindle only. Sangeeta Bhargava's book "The World Beyond" is also great.


message 24: by Maggie (new)

Maggie | 39 comments Jackie wrote: "Indu Sundaresan has a series of sorts. It follows the love story of Emperor Jahangir and Mehrunnisa and goes up too the making of the Taj Mahal. There is romance in it, but there is also a lot of ..."

I enjoy Sundaresan's books. WIll have to look out for The Splendor of Silence.


message 25: by Maggie (new)

Maggie | 39 comments I've read a few books set in historical India. One I recommend is Taj, the story of the building of the Taj Mahal.

And check out Rumer Godden's writing. Many of her books are set in India too.


message 26: by Leonide (new)

Leonide Martin | 88 comments Two great novels set in India:
The Far Pavisions by MM Kaye
A Passage to India by HM Forrester


message 27: by Alberto (new)

Alberto Ambard I really enjoyed Dominique LaPierre's and Larry Collins'
Freedom at Midnight


message 28: by Monica (new)

Monica | 107 comments I've been looking for HF set in India. Thanks everyone!


Victoria_Grossack Grossack (victoriagrossack) | -18 comments I'd have to vote for The Raj Quartet. There's a fabulous miniseries - a little slow perhaps for today's audience but I think incredibly well done.


message 30: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie and The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy are my personal favorites, though the latter is perhaps not strictly HF.


message 31: by Melodi (new)

Melodi | 38 comments A Fine Balance is hands down one of my favorite books ever! It takes place in an unnamed city of India. It focuses on the caste system, the beggar system, what life is really like through the lives of multiple characters. It gave me such a real taste of India. I highly recommend it.


message 32: by LemonLinda (new)

LemonLinda (lwilliamson0423) | 700 comments I really enjoyed Q & A by Vikas Swarup. It is not HF but is the book that Slum Dog Millionaire was loosely based on as there are lots of differences from the movie. Quite a compelling read.


message 33: by Jalilah (new)

Jalilah Has anyone mentioned A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth yet. I love that book!


message 34: by Joanne (new)

Joanne Moyer (catwoman56) | 14 comments The Far Pavilions has always been one of my favorite books.
I remember reading Nectar in a Sieve in school and liking it but I think it's a much harsher look at life in India.


message 35: by Liza (new)

Liza Perrat (httpwwwgoodreadscomlizaperrat) Another vote for The Far Pavilions from me... one of the best books I've ever read.


message 36: by Diane Lynn (new)

Diane Lynn | 5 comments Oh yes, A Fine Balance, The Far Pavilions andNectar in a Sieve are all favorites of mine. I recommend all three of them.

I have A Suitable Boy on my TBR pile, it's a hefty one!


message 37: by Diane Lynn (new)

Diane Lynn | 5 comments LemonLinda wrote: "I really enjoyed Q & A by Vikas Swarup. It is not HF but is the book that Slum Dog Millionaire was loosely based on as there are lots of differences from the movie. Quite a compelling read."

I will have to add this to my list, thanks. I liked the movie.


message 38: by Bev (new)

Bev Mynott (bevmynott) | 2 comments My favourite is The Far Pavilions, but I also enjoyed another of M.M. Kaye's books set in India, Shadow of the Moon.


message 39: by Peter (new)

Peter Youds (PeterYouds) | 30 comments The Siege of Krishnapur by JG Farrell is great. A key character is simply known as "The Fallen Woman". It's very warm and witty. EM Forster's A Passage to India is enjoyable and they made a decent film of it.


message 40: by Leonide (new)

Leonide Martin | 88 comments Highly recommend EM Forster's A Passage to India, The Far Pavillions and Louis Bromfield's entertaining light read about decadent life in Bombay in the early 20th century Night in Bombayand the story made famous in a movie starring Tyrone Power, The Rains Came


message 41: by Tracie (new)

Tracie Nicholson | 31 comments I'm so happy that others have enjoyed M.M. Kaye here. Shadow of the Moon was marvelous. Other books set in India I have enjoyed (whether or not they are true historical fiction):

Sister of My Heart by Chitra Banerjee.
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
Anil's Ghost by Michael Ondaatje (Sri Lanka)
Anything by Jhumpa Lahiri
Anything by Vikram Seth


message 42: by Tracie (new)

Tracie Nicholson | 31 comments Oops - I am new - I just realized I need to add the books/authors.

Sister of My Heart
The God of Small Things
Anil's Ghost
Jhumpa Lahiri
Vikram Seth


message 43: by Maggie (new)

Maggie | 39 comments Tracie wrote: "I'm so happy that others have enjoyed M.M. Kaye here. Shadow of the Moon was marvelous. Other books set in India I have enjoyed (whether or not they are true historical fiction):

Sister of My He..."


I also enjoyed Sister of My Heart. Have you read any other books by this author? She has written a few. Another I enjoyed was The Mistress of Spices.


message 44: by Tracie (new)

Tracie Nicholson | 31 comments Her books are on my to-read list. :).


message 45: by Eileen (last edited Apr 26, 2013 07:48AM) (new)

Eileen Iciek | 472 comments Another book that takes place in India is Beneath a Marble Sky by John Shors about the building of the the Taj Mahal. The author was John Shors, who has a new book out on Angkor Wat in Cambodia.

It wasn't great literature, but it was still a well written story about the dynasty that built the great tomb, and the politics of the time. I learned a lot from it, and enjoyed it quite a bit.


message 46: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer (jennepstein) I'm a huge fan of Padma Viswanathan's The Toss of a Lemon -- beautiful, generation-spanning work that follows one family. Really gorgeously written.


message 47: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer (jennepstein) Oh--I should also add that The God of Small Things is one of my favorite novels of all time! I also recently read Witness the Night, which for me was a really unique experience--it's a detective novel with a gritty Indian woman detective at its heart, solving a case involving an abused girl. Utterly unlike anything I've read--though not historical per se....


message 48: by Tracie (new)

Tracie Nicholson | 31 comments My to-read list is getting out of hand. :D The God of Small Things is one of those rare books that has stuck with me over the years...


message 49: by Kate (new)

Kate Vane (katevane) Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh is partly set in India (part of it takes place on board a ship!) and is set against the backdrop of the 19th century opium trade.

It's a great book, part of a trilogy but enjoyable in its own right.


message 50: by Tom (new)

Tom Williams | 113 comments I think I'm allowed to mention my own Cawnpore by Tom Williams as it's a historical novel set in India - Cawnpore during the Mutiny/War of Independence. The definitive non-fiction work on Cawnpore is Our Bones Are Scattered The Cawnpore Massacres and The Indian Mutiny Of 1857 by Andrew Ward . Neither are what you could call a bundle of laughs.


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