Source: From NetGalley and publisher for review
When the British Empire sets its sights on India in the 1850s, it expects a quick and easy conquest. After all, India is not even a country, but a collection of kingdoms on the subcontinent. But when the British arrive in the Kingdom of Jhansi, expecting its queen to forfeit her crown, they are met with a surprise. Instead of surrendering, Queen Lakshmi raises two armies—one male, one female—and rides into battle like Joan of Arc. Although her soldiers are little match against superior British weaponry and training, Lakshmi fights against an empire determined to take away the land she loves.
Told from the perspective of Sita, one of the guards in Lakshmi's all-female army and the queen’s most trusted warrior, The Last Queen of India traces the astonishing tale of a fearless ruler making her way in a world dominated by men. In the tradition of her bestselling novel Nefertiti, which Diana Gabaldon, author of the Outlander series, called “a heroic story with a very human heart,” Michelle Moran once again brings a time and place rarely explored in historical fiction to rich, vibrant life.My thoughts:
When you usually get a story during this time period you almost always get it from the perspective of the Brittish. You may get a woman's perspective in this area and she might even be Indian but it is never truly her story. This book not only gives you the woman's perspective but puts you on the side of Sita a guard of a Queen who ended up having legends in her own right.
As you can tell I really enjoyed this perspective. It is really Sita's life but it brings in full color the problems in India at the time. Not just with the Brittish conflict, but how women were treated then. Sita breaks from a horrible life her grandmother had in store for her because she was treated as a worthy daughter by her father. It is her father that sets her new life in motion. You had to love this guy who loved his daughters as much as he would have any son.
Even though Sita is quite young throughout most of the book, I would caution those very young kids about reading this one. I would place it as an adult book but can be read by older YA readers. I recommend it for the older YA set because there is war in the pages and the author does not shy away from that fact.
I give this book 5 stars. I love that it brings to life a culture during a time period when we don't get too much from that perspective. That alone would make me recommend it. However, Sita is a great heroine and one I enjoyed following.