For Non-fiction November, the first non-fic I picked up was Victoria & Abdul. Bloomsbury India had organised a special screening for Bloggers in a few metropolitan cities and I was honoured to be invited to the event. However, due to various personal reasons I couldn’t make it. I am so glad I got to read this book though since I would have definitely missed out on a well-written classical piece of history had I not picked it up.
To be honest, my head is still kind of in the Victorian era, wandering through the Windsor castle enjoying the beautiful garden sceneric beauty. That is the beauty of Shrabani Basu’s writing, it takes you to the breath-taking locations of England and transpires it into life-like experience. Even though, I haven’t yet watched the movie adaptation, I can already picture the whole story in my head. Such is the magic of the narration that a girl like me, who swears by fiction, enjoyed this piece of non-fiction so much.
While reading the book initially, I had a few inhibitions considering my distaste for the Empire’s reign over my country, India and how this book was telling the story of the Queen who ruled over millions of hungry, panic-stricken, tortured countrymen (which naturally meant there will be a lot of glorifying of the British Empire and a little bit of racism too). However Basu proves me and many others, with the same notion, wrong. Queen Victoria’s life is told as it was, from a very unbiased perspective and with no glorification or defamation of any particular character.
A very honest and impartial life story of Queen Victoria, especially her reign over India, how the Indian culture inspired and moved her, her desire to eat Indian dishes, meet Indian royalty, learn the Indian languages (especially Urdu), and most importantly the relationship she had with Abdul, a young clerk from India who was sent to Queen Victoria as her Indian “gift”.
To be acquainted with the nitti gritties of the Household, the conglomeration of the staff and other royal family members, who ensured that the castles and the royalty of the crown maintain their facial value.
A thoroughly researched piece of literature with glossary and time lines provided at the end for the inquisitive mind.
There is no however. It was an exceptional read and I loved it. If you, however, find some shortcomings in this book feel free to let me know in the comments and we can discuss it further. 🙂
I would recommend..
This is a perfect addition to Non-fiction November month reads and whether you are a fiction or non-fiction lover, you will enjoy it equally.
Publisher : Bloomsbury India
Pages : 352
Rating : 5 / 5
You can get the book here