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As an aspiring writer, I blog about whatever happens to move me at the moment -- though some posts contain serious content, my big-picture goal is to bring a little humor into an often humorless world! Welcome, y'all, and make yourself at home! Please make sure you update your bookmarks!

When you are offended at any man's fault, turn to yourself and study your own failings. Then you will forget your anger...Epictetus

Monday, March 15, 2010

Paradise Found

I don't usually write book reviews -- and this isn't really going to be one, either -- but when I read a book -- or a series -- which really captivates me, I just have to share.

As you may know, my favorite time period is the (English) medieval period, followed by the American Revolution, then the French Revolution -- anything else I read just sort of sneaks in from time to time -- I've had a fascination lately with novels about World War II -- not about battles or politics, necessarily, but with the novels centered on the lives of individuals. As I posted on another blog, perhaps my reluctance to read novels set during this time period was because I just wasn't ready. I know about World War II -- studied it in school -- but perhaps I had to wait until now to really see what happened and let the whole devastating thing crack my heart in two.

But I digress, as usual. The books you see to your left are collectively called The Paradise Trilogy, written by Thalassa Ali. Set in India and Afghanistan during the 19th century, when the British Empire sought to control both (ostensibly for trade purposes), this is the story of Mariana Givens -- someone we would probably call a "rebel" today -- whose life becomes enmeshed with an Indian baby -- and the baby's father. These novels are so much more than that -- but I'll let you click on the author's link above to learn more as I'm not very adept at review-writing -- I know what I like and what I don't but can't always put it into the right words.

When I began reading the first novel in the series -- A Singular Hostage -- I didn't really know what to expect and, in fact, wondered why I had picked up the book at all. Years ago, I'd watched the miniseries based on The Raj Quartet (later time period) and also the miniseries The Far Pavilions (earlier time period) and enjoyed both but I never read the novels (although I have them). A few years ago, I read Olivia and Jai (and its sequel which I don't even like to discuss, it distressed me so) and Zemindar so my interest in India was piqued -- but, it wasn't until I picked up A Singular Hostage that I returned to that place and that era.

As I continued reading, though, I became totally engrossed and moved on quickly to the next book, A Beggar at the Gate and, finally, Companions of Paradise -- it's always nice when you discover a series after all the novels are published and you can read one right after the other. I wish, with all my heart, that there was a fourth one coming -- I want to know what else happened to Mariana, Hassan and Saboor...but, alas, perhaps, I will only be able to fill out the rest of the story in my own imagination.

Which is very fertile, by the way.

Not everybody likes historical novels the way I do so it's always hard to recommend those kinds of books to people who have different preferences. All I can say is that I was captivated by The Paradise Trilogy -- and, if you want to learn more about that time in history, I don't know that you could read anything better.

Speaking of Paradise -- but in a totally different time and place -- I highly recommend Sara Donati's five book Into the Wilderness series -- which centers on the Bonner clan in the small community of Paradise in late 17th - early 18th century New York. Wonderful storytelling...and a must for historical fiction buffs -- and a great series to start with if you're not!

I cannot imagine a life without books...how about you?

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  1. Gotta have 'em..We have stacks that are waiting to be read. Have you ever seen the old "Twlight Zone", with Burgess Merrideth (I think) about after "The Bomb" and he was lone survivor with all the books?

  2. Is that the one where his glasses were destroyed and he couldn't see to read?