Review: The Hope of Shridula

 

Kay Marshall Strom’s The Hope of Shridula is book 2 in the Blessings in Indiaseries.

Life is unbearable for Ashish. Born into an untouchable family in India, he and his family have toiled for the high-caste Lal family for 48 years. Now as the struggle for independence from the British simmers to a boil, he fears for his daughter, Shridula. Will her name—which means “blessing”—bring her good fortune?
 

Man, India during the 1940’s was a mess! There’s tension all over the place! The Indians and the British are fighting,  the Muslims and the Hindus are fighting, the Christians are fighting the Caste system which is finally about to collapse thanks in part to Gandhi who is not fighting with anyone! Whew! The Hope of Shridula depicts these events from the inside point of view of Ashish and his family who are ‘untouchables.’ It’s a fascinating glimpse into the events and culture of 1940’s India.

Strom’s writing reminds me of Linda Chaikin’s exotic settings and historical details. Strom’s settings are grittier and involve the underbelly of society, while Chaikin’s stories are ususally about a character caught between the upper and the middle classes. Fans should also check out Strom’s Grace in Africa series, which follows Grace, the daughter of an African princess and a white slave trader, on her quest to find and free her enslaved husband.

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