Title: The Indian Emerald
Author: Archana Pathak
Publisher: APK Publishers
Genre: Historical Fiction
First Publication: 2021
Book Summary: The Indian Emerald by Archana Pathak
Two women at the opposite ends of a war, that will leave its footprints in the columns of history, find themselves thrown together by the circumstances.
1857 – The year of the great uprising, India’s first freedom struggle. Amidst the upheaval and chaos Adeline Campbell, wife of Captain George Campbell, along with her daughter, takes shelter in Kothi Gulnar. The mistress of Kothi Gulnar is the beautiful Bella Ali Khan, sister of Talukdar Haider Ali Khan.
2019 – Ava Appleton, a gemmologist living in London, is gifted an antique and valuable pendant called l’Esmé by her partner. The spectacular pendant along with its beauty possesses something else that is undefinable and mystifying. Ava starts experiencing some uncanny phenomena that propels her to embark on a quest of unravelling the mystery of l’Esmé, which brings her to India. She finds the ruins of Kothi Gulnar in Lucknow, India, with the remains of a woman in its basement, bringing to light a chilling tale of failed love, betrayal, deception and dark secrets.
Book Review: The Indian Emerald by Archana Pathak
The Indian Emerald is one of the most brilliant and inspired historical fiction books I have read recently. It’s a labyrinth of raw, all-consuming emotion that will cut your nerves down to the quick. Inside the excruciating suspense soaked pages, you’re given an inspirational story about two women fighting impossible odds. It’s an uplifting affirmation of the power of friendship, love, and sacrifice. Seamlessly told in a wonderfully engaging narrative, The Indian Emerald will make you fall in love with these beautifully flawed characters.
Set in both 1857 and 2019, Adeline Campbell and Ava Appleton’s lives are a giant interconnected jigsaw puzzle, the pieces brilliantly linked together over the course of two centuries. Adeline Campbell, wife of Captain George Campbell, takes shelter with her daughter in Kothi Gulnar amidst the chaos in 1857, the year of India’s first revolt against British rule. Bella Ali Khan, sister of Talukdar Haider Ali Khan, is the mistress of Kothi Gulnar.
In 2019, a London based gemmologist Ava Appleton received an antique pendant of great value, called l’Esmé, as a gift from her partner. Besides its beauty, the pendant possesses an unexplainable and mystifying quality. During this time, Ava experiences some mysterious phenomena that spurs her on a quest to unravel l’Esmé’s mystery, which ultimately leads her to India. Her investigation of the ruins of Kothi Gulnar in Lucknow, India, leads to the discovery of the remains of a woman in its basement, revealing the story of failed love, betrayal, and deception.
This book is composed of alternate past and present stories of these two exceptional women. One who has faced unimaginable devastation, and the other who has her own experiences and is trying valiantly to surface puzzle. The author manages to stir an emotional reaction to just about every scene and character in the plot. The prose is really good, devoid of sentimental fuzz. I enjoyed the author’s economy with words and her ability to use show don’t tell proficiently.
Adeline Campbell and Ava Appleton are the two perspectives introduced. Past and present storylines that eventually merge together. Both stories are vivid and beautifully-written. Adeline Campbell and Ava Appleton are fantastic characters, very realistic and unique. The Indian setting of 1857 is magnificently depicted and the research is impeccable and everything fits together perfectly. The period detail is top-notch: you can see, smell and feel all the things Archana Pathak describes in both time periods. There is a little thrill but there is also heartbreak and horror.
Author Archana does an amazing job bringing her characters and their stories to life. Her character development skill was exemplary. Both the main characters, Adeline Campbell and Ava Appleton, were captivating. We see so much change in both of them as the stories unfold. They are intelligent, resilient, and determined. And the plot, including all the subplots, intertwine and unravel subtly into an engaging tale of life, loss, family, heartbreak, betrayal, friendship, secrets, and love.
There is no doubt that Archana Pathak has embarked on a huge undertaking in terms of the research she has compiled to inform her novel. I was suitably impressed by the historical detail included in this novel and it is presented in a way that ensures the reader is not bogged down by dry facts. Instead, the historical storyline is authentic and convincing. Overall, The Indian Emerald is an uplifting, atmospheric, informative tale about taking chances, moving on, and discovering one’s true self. I highly recommend it to fans of historical fiction with dual timelines.