The Splendor of Silence

The Splendor of Silence

Book - 2007
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When Sam Hawthorne, a twenty-five-year-old U.S. Army captain, arrives at the princely state of Rudrakot in May of 1942, it is on a personal quest to find his missing brother. 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. And Mila, unexpectedly attracted to Sam, finds herself torn between loyalty to her family and the man she loves.

A sweeping and poignant story of forbidden love, The Splendor of Silence opens twenty-one years later with Olivia, Sam's daughter, receiving a trunk of treasures from India, along with an anonymous letter that finally fills the silences of her childhood. She finally learns the heartrending story of her parents' passionate and enduring love affair -- throwing them in the path of racial prejudice, nationalist intrigue, and the explosive circumstances of a country on the brink of independence from British rule.
Publisher: New York ; Toronto : Washington Square Press, 2007, c2006.
Edition: 1st Washington Square Press trade pbk. ed. --
ISBN: 9780743283687
0743283686
Characteristics: 403 p. --

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nelll
Mar 14, 2013

what a wonderful book - i can't wait to read her other books. A really intriging book

k
kaliko
Dec 05, 2011

Compelling, impeccably rich, and addictive read... highly recommended!

The historical, cultural and environmental references completely transport the reader into another time and place. Sundaresan makes you wish you could visit the small princely state of Rudrakot, the main setting in the novel. The detail never lacks, and yet, always finds a way to become interesting and fresh. All of that exotic imagery is balanced by a creatively-paced novel that leaves chapters constantly hanging, with unexpected twists and betrayals.

I think the best part of this novel is that its plot description on the jacket sleeve (and on this website) totally falls short of how immensely complex and captivating the multiple storylines are. This isn't just about a love story -- in fact, the romance is not much more than a light-hearted complement to the political and racial challenges of the time. There are far more interesting story twists to be explored and characters to meet in this novel.

That being said, the romance in the novel is fairy-tale-like at best. Don't expect to truly fall in love with the leading couple, because I feel they are intentionally exagerrated. I think Sundaresan did this on purpose... once you get to know the novel, you will begin to see how it almost has a 'fairy tale' feel... "Once upon a time in a land far far away... under impossible circumstances, this American soldier steals the resident's daughter away from the fair Prince. Asides from the racial motives to explore their relationship, I think Sundaresan wrote them this way because she constantly emphasizes the "magic of India" in the novel... at one point a character says 'In India, all legends are real'. So perhaps the relationship is supposed to feel magical. Despite the reality of war and political hardships for these characters, a nearly impossible love could exist.

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