Bookish Witch

A Dangerous Affair – A British Raj Romance by Rubina Ramesh

Book blurb:

Charu…

She is a young girl of twenty who leads a well-protected life. But in 1947, when India is at the brink of getting her independence, who could remain innocent to death and loss? Charu is not spared either. Anger bubbles inside her, and she vows to avenge her loss. But to do so, she has to cross the path of Dev.

Dev…
He is the privileged son of the zamindar. He enjoys being a spoilt brat and has a Cassanova image. But his good looks and charming smile hide some deep secrets. Will he be able to bare his heart to a young girl who was much beneath his status?
They meet, and they clash. Falling in love was in their destiny. But would the same destiny send Charu to face her death? Or will Dev be able to save her on time?

Genre: Fiction/ Romantic Thriller

Pages: 211

Format: Kindle eBook

Price: 49 INR/$2.99

My Ratings: 4.5/5

Set in 1947, this is the story of Charu, a 20-year-old who has just lost her siblings in the freedom struggle. To avenge their deaths, she manages to employ herself as a scribe to the local Zamindar (landlord) who was responsible for the deaths of her siblings and many of her villagers. Here, she faces the Zamindar’s son, Dev, who interferes with her plans in every way possible. Though agitated by his flirting and doubting, she feels a strange familiarity with Dev. Will she be successful in her plans?

Love for the Nation vs Romance

What I liked about the book:

-> The story begins with a bang, drawing us in right away. The scene also makes us question how the plight of women has been the same across generations.

-> Charu’s character and how she turns from a beautiful, protected, young girl to a rebellious and passionate woman with a purpose.

-> The story takes us to a time when patriotism was running high and the feeling to die for the motherland was at its peak, thus leaving us questioning our beliefs and lifestyle in 2021, at many points.

->  The conversation between the characters that has dialects from Bengali, has been beautifully expressed and makes the story as well as the setting and plot, very authentic.

->Dev’s character which has so many layers to it; my favorite being the fact that he struggles to express his love for the motherland because of his upbringing and surrounding of an elite, especially with a father who is a worshipper of the Redcoats.

-> Towards the climax, I loved the character of Captain Butler’s wife, Nancy, who, despite being a Britisher, is shown to be a kind and compassionate woman.

-> The dialogue between Charu and Captain Butler in the climax, where they argue about whether or not the British Raj was good for India; I loved how Charu points out what some of us still fail to accept after 7 decades of Independence.

What I did not like about the book:

-> The big reveal that comes right before the climax was kind of predictable for me (but this could be just a ‘me’ thing because I have read so many romantic thrillers to gauge what’s coming next)

Quotable quotes:

-> Love is not about forcing your view on your other half. It’s about letting go. It’s about smiling at their success or giving a hand to pick up the pieces when needed.

-> It is useful to know what the enemies are thinking.

-> As a woman she could very well understand how dirty one felt when the lecherous eyes of a man fell on her.

->Life had suddenly become a burden that they had to carry on their shoulders. The dead were gone and the living were left behind lamenting.

-> One could fight the perpetrators but when the enemy resided inside your own house, it was like fighting a losing battle.

-> She had heard so many stories about the atrocities of the Zamindar, that associating happiness to a place which brought only sadness in the lives of other was unbelievable.

->A well-stocked library which no one used in the middle of a village where kids could hardly manage to have a full day’s meal. This showed how unjust was the distribution of wealth.

-> Why can’t we cherish every moment that we have now? Why cry over the future that we have not yet seen?

-> If you go to Calcutta and not eat the food there, what have you seen?

-> Revenge, especially for your loved ones, is a very powerful motivator.

-> He had loved her and lost her. But the journey between these two points defined his life.

->”I’m not a comedian,”, he growled, “I just have a better sense of humor than you.”

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