Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Mother Talk book review: The Splendor of Silence

Okay, first of all, isn't that the best title of a book, ever?

I mean, who doesn't wish for silence? Like, every single day? Especially when her co-workers just will NOT stop talking?


Just me?

Okay, sorry, I was probably projecting there a bit.

Anyway! I recently read the book,The Splendor of Silence by Indu Sundaresan as part of a Mother talk book review. Honestly, I didn't know what to expect when the package arrived. All I could keep thinking was, wow, what a beautiful book!

And it is. See?




I mean, really. Doesn't the woman look all mysterious and sexy?

On with the review though. Here is the basic, back of the cover stuff:

Sam Hawthorne, a twenty-five-year-old U.S. Army captain, arrives at the princely state of Rudrakot in search of his missing brother, Mike, carrying with him wounds from combat in Burma and several secrets. But Sam’s mission is soon threatened by the unlikeliest of sources — he falls hopelessly in love with Mila, daughter of the local political agent. Mila, unexpectedly attracted to Sam, nurtures a secret of her own and finds herself torn between loyalty to her family and Sam.
The Splendor of Silence opens twenty-one years later with Olivia, Sam’s daughter, receiving a trunk of treasures from India, along with a letter from an unknown narrator that finally fills all the silences of her childhood — telling her the story of her parents’ passionate and enduring love for each other that throws them in the path of racial prejudice, nationalist intrigue, and the explosive circumstances of a country and a society on the brink of independence from British rule.

Intriguing, yes?

I really, really loved the book, and it kind of surprised me that I did. Let's face it; I'm really not a fro-fro girl and this book is, above all, a love story. But in a good, engaging way. I had never read any of Sundaresan's work and I was blown away with her ability to tell a story. The book was really so absorbing that I had a hard time putting it down. And since I have the attention span of a smashed gnat? That's really saying something.

That being said, it does take a while for the plot to develop and the author does move between story lines a bit. But it all seems to meld together delightfully. Sundaresan has a gift, and it is an amazing one. The detail she puts into her writing is simply amazing. The author was born and raised in India and her appreciation for the richness of her culture is evident. You can almost see the sights and hear the sounds, her descriptions are so vivid. Also? I really cared about the characters and became very interested in what happened to them, which hadn't happened to me for years. (Honestly, it made me recall my obsession with Laura Ingalls Wilder's books, and how I used to pray Pa got through the snow storm or whatever).

I didn't even know I liked historical fiction! But I do apparently!

Such an interesting book. I would really recommend it. Read it at a time that you don't have anything else to do though, because you probably won't want to put it down.

12 comments:

AnGlOpHiLe FoOtBaLl FaNaTiC said...

I love historical fiction. That sounds very interesting. Thanks for the recommendation.

Angie said...

I've been so crazy busy, I haven't been able to even think about reading a book. But, I have to say, this one sounds very, very intriguing.

Morgan Leigh said...

historical fiction is the greatest. i love it. i am totally gonna check this book out. sounds great! :-)

Kimberly said...

If you ever get sick of those co-workers, you might just have a career in book reviewing waiting for you. I'm going to find me that book.

Tilly said...

I'm not a fan of historical fiction usually, but there is an author called Phillipa Gregory (I don't know if you can get any of her stuff in the US), who writes fascinating tales of the Tudors. One of her books has been turned into a film starring Scarlett Johanson - The Other Boleyn Girl, and I think is due for release next year. I highly recommend her.

frannie said...

I love books that talk about other cultures and places! I can't wait to read it.

Real Life in South Carolina said...

Sounds like a good book. I'll have to pick it up when I don't have anything to do. HA HA HA HA HA HA...that was a funny thought...

CPA Mom said...

can i borrow it? seriously? want to do a book swap? did you review/read On Borrowed Wings?

Sarcasta-Mom said...

Sounds like a good read. I'll have to give it a go when I'm done with the werewolf books I just got :)

Marjorie said...

Thanks for an insightful review! Historical fiction is my A1 hands-down favorite genre, and Splendor of Silence was right up my alley. (And big DITTO on the Phillipa Gregory recommendation - "The Other Boleyn Girl" was beyond fabulous.)

Wenderina said...

Love it when you get a good book tip. I'm currently reading 19 minutes (which I see from reading backwards in your blog you've read too.)

I'll have to try this. My counter recommendation - two books by Carolyn Parkhurst: Dogs of Babel and Prodigal Summer. Two very unique books with great writing style and imagery. Let me know what you think!

my4kids said...

You did a great review makes me want to read it if I could just find the time. You would think I'd have time now that I'm not working but apparently the kids have decided its an invitation to become all involved in everything and stuff...