I have often read two books in succession dealing with the same theme. For eg. Those Pricey Thakur Girls and Oleander Girl were two books both centred around Indian girls. The story line was different, but the characters did have some things in common.
Midnight's Children and Under the Jeweled Sky also proved to be a coincidence. Both deals with before and after Indian Independence, or to be precise the Partition of India. Midnight's Children mostly dealt on the political aspects and major events related to people leaving one country for another. And the latter told you the true plight of the millions of India who lost everything in such an unplanned event.
Sophie is just like any average British teenager who happened to be in India before her Independence owing to her father's profession. Locked inside the confines of a Maharaja's palace, her encounter with Jagaan the son of the king's bearer was a blessing especially since the guy could speak English. Somewhere along the way, Sophie falls in love with Jagaan and India...But the partition has caused much more troubles to Indians that there are utter chaos everywhere mitigating those anticipated joys of freedom, bringing along with it personal troubles for Sophie. Ten years later, Sophie returned to India beside her diplomat husband and she is forced to look back.
Alison McQueen has leveraged on her diverse family heritage as background for her stories. The Secret Children was a success just for this setting. Under the Jeweled Sky is another attempt from her where India before, during and after the partition is the background.
My only encounter with the partition of India is what I have read in school history books, and then the famous Train to Pakistan by Khushwant Singh. I was horrified, but did not feel too terrible about it...But when you read a book where you have to read the thoughts of people who are actually living through the hell created in India, the experience is different. Riots, Rape, Murder, Starvation...I lived through some of those experiences through Jagaan and Dr Schofield, Sophie's father.
Alison McQueen has also dealt with unusual mother-daughter relationship which are usually hidden beneath layers of secrecy. An abusive mother on the verge of insanity is another subject dealt in this book.
Under the Jeweled Sky is much more than the romance novel...It is about India...It would interest you if you would like to know more about India and her partition. Totally recommended to all those who are interested in historical fiction.
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Pub Date :
PS: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through netgalley in return for my honest opinion.