Monday, 30 October 2017

#BookReview: Victoria & Abdul by Shrabani Basu

Title: Victoria & Abdul
Author: Shrabani Basu
Published on: 13th October 2017 
Publisher: Bloomsbury India
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 288
ISBN: 9789387146174


Abdul Karim was 24 years old when he was dispatched from Agra as a gift to 68 year old Queen Victoria, whom he was to serve as an attendant. The tall and handsome Indian Muslim barely spoke any English,nor the Empress of India any Urdu. Karim grew to have a profound influence over the monarch and what followed was a relationship of such intimacy and tenderness that the British establishment tried their hardest to destroy all evidence of it. In "Victoria and Abdul" historian Shrabani Basu unearths a story that shows a new side of Victoria and places a young Indian at the heart of the Empire. 


The cover page of the book is very beautiful. It is having image of Judi Dench as Queen Victoria and Ali Fazal as Abdul Karim. Thus,the cover is a scene taken from the movie in which Queen and Abdul are talking while walking in the garden. The cover is really attractive having really nice colours.


Victoria & Abdul The true Story of Queen's Closest Confidant by Shrabani Basu is a charming tale revolving around Queen Victoria and Abdul Karim. The book is very well researched having mentions about Abdul Karim's and Queen Victoria's own writings. The author has specially mentioned in the foreword about her visits to various places and collecting documents before writing this edition of the book. The writing style of the book is very simple and fluent and all the events are described really well even the minute details such as the dresses that the Indian Maharajas and The Maharanis wore when they visited Queen.The book itself is a historical piece of writing giving so much details about Queen and Abdul. The book is not a piece of fiction rather is fact but the way author has written is so interesting and engrossing. I read the book after watching the movie and I was so much able to visualize the events which made me reading easy and making my journey of reading memorable. I  learnt a lot from this book about the Royal Court and the British India. The way the emotional instances are mentioned is marvelous. I loved the Queen's eagerness towards knowing about India and learning Urdu language from Abdul who was known as 'Munshi'. In the middle of the book, a special booklet is given which is having portraits of Abdul Karim, Queen Victoria, Durbar hall etc. in Black and White and even there is Queen Victoria's family tree, maps, Queen's journal and various other pictures. Overall, a beautiful,fascinating and a  charismatic read, which will have a special role in my heart and library because it is real and it not only made me smile but also cry at some points. 
I would highly recommend this book to those who are really interested in knowing about Queen Victoria and the British India and most importantly the beautiful bond between Queen Victoria and Abdul Karim.

Image result for 4.25/5 stars

About the Author

Shrabani Basu

Shrabani Basu graduated in History from St.Stephens College, Delhi and completed her Masters from Delhi University. In 1983, she began her career as a training journalist in The Times Of India in Bombay. She is the author of "Curry: The Story Of the Nation's Favourite Dish" , "Spy Princess: The Life of Noor Innayat Khan" and "Victoria & Abdul The true Story of Queen's Closest Confidant". 

* I received a copy of the book from Bloomsbury India in exchange of a review. Thank You. 

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Happy Reading! 

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