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4.2 out of 5
13
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  • 2 person found this review helpful

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    Now gives depth to my visits of this land

    Because of my work, I often go to India and Rajasthan in particular. Duva's "Faint Promise" allowed me to put in place what I have been seeing. The temples, however pretty, now have a depth behind them. The stone has a story. I now see an Adhira, a Girija, a Hari Dev, a Padmini when I look into the eyes of the folk I meet. Thank you Anjali for this exotic story which has made my travels so much more real. Gorgeous!
  • 1 person found this review helpful

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    Immersive India

    An ambitious story about a place/time that was new to me - exactly why I read historical fiction. Impressively researched and well written. In the latter half of the book the story of the relationships in the family takes center stage and the story really gains momentum. This is the first in a series of four books - much to look forward to.
  • 1 person found this review helpful

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    A Breathtaking and Gorgeous Book!

    The world of 16th century India was admittedly foreign to me before I read Duva's gorgeous novel. That mattered little, however, because she's a master of drawing the reader into the world of her characters, the dance, and the changing area near the citadel of Jaisalmer in Rajasthan. I can still picture the places--the temple, the modest home in which Adhira grows up, the desert camps, the market and citadel. The novel and everything that happens within it center around Adhira, a mystical child who was born into a family of Hindu temple dancers, called devadasi. Ahdira embodies the dance and what it represents, but is also subject to the hard lessons of being tied to a wealthy patron. The book transcends the story of the temple, wrapping the reader in a story of family and how, just as with families today, the relationships between family members are sometimes tenuous, complex and fraught with both love and drama. It's rare when I read a book that makes me care so deeply about so many characters. Faint Promise of Rain does that for me in spades. I felt Girija's worry and pain, Gandar's blind devotion and the folly of his choices, Hari Dev's struggle and his kind heart, Padmini's sadness and Mahendra's desire and disillusionment. I felt anger when bad things happened to the family, and deep conflict when they acted in ways that only hurt themselves. I wanted them to be loved, to succeed, to be happy. And Ahdira! I felt her magic weaving through me with every word. These are characters I will remember and think about for many years to come. Duva's debut novel speaks volumes about her talent. I can't wait to read her next book!
  • 1 person found this review helpful

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    Fantastic, lyrical read!

    From the first pages, the reader is transported back in time to a changing world - 16th century India. Though the history may be unfamiliar to many, the novel is so filled with sensory images that we cannot help but be swept up in it - our nostrils flare with the scents of the spice market; our skin tingles as we fill the drops of the first rain in months; our mouths taste the dust and heat of the desert; and we dance along with Adhira as she and her family navigate the complex and changing physical and emotional landscape. Truly a fascinating read; both heartbreaking and uplifting; gripping from beginning to end.
13

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