19 March 2009


The Princess of Pushkar
by Judith A. Simpson

black dog books. Australian, Young Adult. Paperback rrp $16.99

I had to wait in the car for over an hour for one of my children’s many commitments and started to read In The Shadow Of The Palace. It was the quickest hour of my life and I couldn’t wait to get home, eat dinner, tuck myself into bed and finish the book. In fact within two hours the book was read and I was begging for more!

Set in 13th century India it is the tale of three princesses who are kidnapped by Queen Kriti so they can marry her dying son. The story is mainly about Rani, the middle sister who is 13 years of age. When the princesses are kidnapped they believe their father and Rani’s twin brother, Ranjit, will come and rescue them.

Rani tries to encourage her other sisters to escape but they believe, and hope that they will soon be rescued. In the end Rani escapes with the help of a dark slave girl and her brother, who is an officer in the army. Rani soon learns that she is more than a pampered princess and she may be the answer to saving herself and her sisters.

As Rani’s eyes open to the real world around her, she changes from an indulgent, spoilt princess to a caring and intelligent heroine.

Simpson has brought to life India - the conditions and way of life in palaces and servants quarters. Unfortunately, the story abruptly ends with one of the sisters, after being rescued only to be carried off again by kidnappers. Book two better come out fast – I have another free hour coming up soon in which I would like to be carried off into the ancient times of an Indian princess.

Although the target audience is young adult, any reader who loves a story about someone overcoming their adversities to triumph with just a hint of a romance and a lot of danger will love this.

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