Soon to be a Major Motion Picture starring Dame Judi Dench from director Stephen Frears, releasing September 22, 2017. History’s most unlikely friendship—this is the astonishing story of Queen Victoria and her dearestcompanion, the young Indian Munshi Abdul Karim. In the twilight years of her reign, after the devastating deaths of hertwo great loves—Prince Albert and John Brown—Queen Victoria meets tall and handsome Abdul Karim, a humble servant from Agra waiting tables at her Golden Jubilee. The two form an unlikely bond and within a year Abdul becomes a powerful figure at court, the Queen’s teacher, her counsel on Urdu and Indian affairs, and a friend close to her heart. This marked the beginning of the most scandalous decade in Queen Victoria’s long reign. As the royal household roiled with resentment, Victoria and Abdul’s devotion grew in defiance. Drawn from secrets closely guarded for more than a century, Victoria & Abdul is an extraordinary and intimate history of the last years of the nineteenth-century English court and an unforgettable view onto the passions of an aging Queen.
Author: Shrabani Basu
Publisher: The History Press
Release Date: 2011-04-11
The tall, handsome Abdul Karim was just twenty-four years old when he arrived in England from Agra to wait at tables during Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee. An assistant clerk at Agra Central Jail, he suddenly found himself a personal attendant to the Empress of India herself. Within a year, he was established as a powerful figure at court, becoming the queen's teacher, or Munshi, and instructing her in Urdu and Indian affairs. Devastated by the death of John Brown, her Scottish ghillie, the queen had a last found his replacement. But her intense and controversial relationship with the Munshi led to a near-revolt in the royal household. Victoria & Abdul examines how a young Indian Muslim came to play a central role at the heart of the empire, and his influence over the queen at a time when independence movements in the sub-continent were growing in force. Yet, at the heart, it is a tender love story between an ordinary Indian and his elderly queen, a relationship that survived the best attempts to destroy it.
Author: Raymond Lamont-Brown
Publisher: The History Press
Release Date: 2011-08-26
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
A century after Queen Victoria's death, debate still rages surrounding her relationship with her gillie, John Brown. Were they ever married? What was the extraordinary hold he had over her? This biography aims to shed new light on these questions and to discover the truth behind Brown's hold on his royal employer. Following the death of Prince Albert in 1861, the Queen found solace in the companionship of John Brown, who had commenced his royal employment as a stable hand. He became "The Queen's Highland Servant" in 1865 and rose to be the most influential member of the Scottish Royal Household. While the Queen could be brusque and petulant with her servants, family and ministers, she submitted to Brown's fussy organization of her domestic life, his bullying and familiarity without a murmur. Despite warnings of his unpopularity with her subjects by one Prime Minister, the Queen was adamant that Brown would not be sacked. The Queen's confidence was rewarded when Brown saved her from an assassination attempt, after which he was vaunted as a public hero. The author reveals the names of republicans and disaffected courtiers who related gossip about Queen Victoria and John Brown and their purported marriage and child, and identifies those who plotted to have Brown dismissed. Based on research in public, private and royal archives, as well as diaries and memoirs of those who knew Brown and interviews with his surviving relatives, this text analyzes the relationship between Queen Victoria and Brown.
A sensual tale of art, lust, and deception—now a major motion picture In 1630s Amsterdam, tulipomania has seized the populace. Everywhere men are seduced by the fantastic exotic flower. But for wealthy merchant Cornelis Sandvoort, it is his young and beautiful wife, Sophia, who stirs his soul. She is the prize he desires, the woman he hopes will bring him the joy that not even his considerable fortune can buy. Cornelis yearns for an heir, but so far he and Sophia have failed to produce one. In a bid for immortality, he commissions a portrait of them both by the talented young painter Jan van Loos. But as Van Loos begins to capture Sophia's likeness on canvas, a slow passion begins to burn between the beautiful young wife and the talented artist. As the portrait unfolds, so a slow dance is begun among the household’s inhabitants. Ambitions, desires, and dreams breed a grand deception—and as the lies multiply, events move toward a thrilling and tragic climax. In this richly imagined international bestseller, Deborah Moggach has created the rarest of novels—a lush, lyrical work of fiction that is also compulsively readable. Seldom has a novel so vividly evoked a time, a place, and a passion. Praise for Tulip Fever “Sumptuous prose . . . reads like a thriller.”—The New York Times Book Review “An artful novel in every sense of the word . . . deftly evokes seventeenth-century Amsterdam’s vibrant atmosphere.”—Los Angeles Times “Need a brief escape into a beautiful and faraway world? Deborah Moggach’s wonderful Tulip Fever can offer you that.”—New York Post “Taut with suspense and unexpected revelations.”—Entertainment Weekly “Elegantly absorbing.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer
Britain has become a nation of curryholics - there are more than 8000 curry restaurants in Britain, visited by two million people each week. Each year #2bn is spent in Indian restaurants - about #70 per second - while Marks and Spencers sells 18 tonnes of chicken tikka masala weekly. But how did Britain come to take curry so much to its heart? Where did the word "curry" originate? When did the first curry restaurants come to Britain? And when were the first recipes produced for those who wanted to concoct the flavoursome dishes in their home? This book traces the story of curry in Britain. The first recipe for curry powder recorded by the English was from Mrs Turnbull, who wrote down her recipes in manuscript in the mid-18th century at her home in Hyde Park, after returning from India; she also recorded how to make chutney, pilau and ginger candy. British ships went to India to find spices, and when the British returned from colonial India in the 18th century, they brought with them new tastes. Today, curry is one of the most widely available meals in Britain, produced at pubs nationwide, in supermarkets and in a plethora of restaurants to suit all purses and palates.
Author: Lee Hall
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Release Date: 2017-10-03
Genre: Performing Arts
Victoria & Abdul tells the extraordinary true story of Queen Victoria's relationship with Abdul Karim, her Muslim manservant, who travelled from India to present a ceremonial medal as part of the Queen's Golden Jubilee but within months became her personal teacher of Urdu and dedicated spiritual advisor. The unprecedented and unlikely friendship caused meltdown within the royal household, the ensuing battle royale pitting the Queen against the court and her entire family. Through the prism of a highly unusual love story, Lee Hall's Victoria & Abdul, based on the book by Shrabani Basu, explores race, religion, power and the farce of empire through the prism of a highly unusual love story.
The International Bestseller Now a major motion picture from Netflix, directed by Dee Rees, nominated in four categories for the Academy Awards. In Jordan's prize-winning debut, prejudice takes many forms, both subtle and brutal. It is 1946, and city-bred Laura McAllan is trying to raise her children on her husband's Mississippi Delta farm—a place she finds foreign and frightening. In the midst of the family's struggles, two young men return from the war to work the land. Jamie McAllan, Laura's brother-in-law, is everything her husband is not—charming, handsome, and haunted by his memories of combat. Ronsel Jackson, eldest son of the black sharecroppers who live on the McAllan farm, has come home with the shine of a war hero. But no matter his bravery in defense of his country, he is still considered less than a man in the Jim Crow South. It is the unlikely friendship of these brothers-in-arms that drives this powerful novel to its inexorable conclusion. The men and women of each family relate their versions of events and we are drawn into their lives as they become players in a tragedy on the grandest scale. As Barbara Kingsolver says of Hillary Jordan, "Her characters walked straight out of 1940s Mississippi and into the part of my brain where sympathy and anger and love reside, leaving my heart racing. They are with me still."
During her sixty-three-year reign, Queen Victoria gathered around herself a household dedicated to her service. For some, royal employment was the defining experience of their lives; for others it came as an unwelcome duty or as a prelude to greater things. Serving Victoria follows the lives of six members of her household, from the governess to the royal children, from her maid of honor to her chaplain and her personal physician. Drawing on their letters and diaries—many hitherto unpublished—Serving Victoria offers a unique insight into the Victorian court, with all its frustrations and absurdities, as well as the Queen herself, sitting squarely at its center. Seen through the eyes of her household as she traveled among Windsor, Osborne, and Balmoral, and to the French and Belgian courts, Victoria emerges as more vulnerable, more emotional, more selfish, more comical, than the austere figure depicted in her famous portraits. We see a woman who was prone to fits of giggles, who wept easily and often, who gobbled her food and shrank from confrontation but insisted on controlling the lives of those around her. We witness her extraordinary and debilitating grief at the death of her husband, Albert, and her sympathy toward the tragedies that afflicted her household. Witty, astute, and moving, Serving Victoria is a perfect foil to the pomp and circumstance—and prudery and conservatism—associated with Victoria's reign, and gives an unforgettable glimpse of what it meant to serve the Queen.
Over a million Indian soldiers fought in the First World War, the largest force from the colonies and dominions. Their contribution, however, has been largely forgotten. Many soldiers were illiterate and travelled from remote villages in India to fight in the muddy trenches in France and Flanders. Many went on to win the highest bravery awards. For King and another Country tells, for the first time, the personal stories of some of these Indians who went to the Western Front: from a grand turbanned Maharaja rearing to fight for Empire to a lowly sweeper who dies in a hospital in England, from a Pathan who wins the Victoria Cross to a young pilot barely out of school. Shrabani Basu delves into archives in Britain and narratives buried in villages in India and Pakistan to recreate the War through the eyes of the Indians who fought it. There are heroic tales of bravery as well as those of despair and desperation; there are accounts of the relationships that were forged between the Indians with their British officers and how curries reached the frontline. Above all, it is the great story of how the War changed India and led, ultimately, to the call for independence.
Author: Shrabani Basu
Publisher: The History Press
Release Date: 2011-04-11
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
This is the riveting story of Noor Inayat Khan, the descendant of an Indian Prince Tipu Sultan, the Tiger of Mysore, who became a British secret agent for SOE during World War II. Born into an illustrious Indian family in 1914 and brought up in the non-violent Sufi religion, Noor seemed an unlikely secret agent. Yet she became the first female radio operator to be landed in enemy-occupied France, and refused to abandon her post in Paris in 1943, continuing her work under extremely dangerous circumstances. Shrabani Basu tells the moving story of Noor's life from her birth in Moscow—where her father was a Sufi preacher—to her capture by the Germans. Noor was one of only three women SOE awarded the George Cross and, under torture, revealed nothing but her name—but not her real name, nor her code name, just the name she used to register at SOE: Nora Baker. Kept in solitary confinement, chained between hand and feet, and unable to walk upright, Noor existed on bowls of soup made from potato peelings. Ten months after she was captured, she was taken to Dachau and, on September 13, 1944, she was shot. Her last word was "Liberte."
Author: William Dalrymple
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA
Release Date: 2017-09-12
From the internationally acclaimed and bestselling historians William Dalrymple and Anita Anand, the first comprehensive and authoritative history of the Koh-i-Noor diamond, arguably the most celebrated jewel in the world. On March 29, 1849, the ten-year-old leader of the Sikh kingdom of the Punjab was ushered into the magnificent Mirrored Hall at the center of the British fort in Lahore, India. There, in a formal Act of Submission, the frightened but dignified child handed over to the British East India Company swathes of the richest land in India and the single most valuable object in the subcontinent: the celebrated Koh-i-Noor diamond, otherwise known as the Mountain of Light. To celebrate the acquisition, the British East India Company commissioned a history of the diamond woven together from the gossip of the Delhi Bazaars. From that moment forward, the Koh-i-Noor became the most famous and mythological diamond in history, with thousands of people coming to see it at the 1851 Great Exhibition and still more thousands repeating the largely fictitious account of its passage through history. Using original eyewitness accounts and chronicles never before translated into English, Dalrymple and Anand trace the true history of the diamond and disperse the myths and fantastic tales that have long surrounded this awe-inspiring jewel. The resulting history of south and central Asia tells a true tale of greed, conquest, murder, torture, colonialism, and appropriation that shaped a continent and the Koh-i-Noor itself.
Author: Kate Williams
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Release Date: 2015-11-15
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
A lively and poignant biography of the young princess who, at the impressionable age of eleven, found that she was now heiress to the throne, by the New York Times bestselling author of Becoming Queen Victoria. We can hardly imagine a Britain without Elizabeth II on the throne. It seems to be the job she was born for. And yet for much of her early life the young princess did not know the role that her future would hold. She was our accidental Queen. Elizabeth's determination to share in the struggles of her people marked her out from a young age. Her father initially refused to let her volunteer as a nurse during the Blitz, but relented when she was 18 and allowed her to work as a mechanic and truck driver for the Women's Auxiliary Territorial Service. It was her forward-thinking approach that ensured that her coronation was televised, against the advice of politicians at the time. Kate Williams reveals how the 25-year-old young queen carved out a lasting role for herself amid the changes of the 20th century. Her monarchy would be a very different one to that of her parents and grandparents, and its continuing popularity in the 21st century owes much to the intelligence and elusive personality of this remarkable woman.
Author: Stephen Harding
Publisher: Da Capo Press
Release Date: 2013-05-07
May 1945. Hitler is dead, and the Third Reich little more than smoking rubble. No GI wants to be the last man killed in action against the Nazis. But for cigar-chewing, rough-talking, hard-drinking, hard-charging Captain Jack Lee and his men, there is one more mission: rescue fourteen prominent French prisoners held in an SS-guarded castle high in the Austrian Alps. It’s a dangerous mission, but Lee has help from a decorated German Wehrmacht officer and his men, who voluntarily join the fight. Based on personal memoirs, author interviews, and official American, German, and French histories, The Last Battle is the nearly unbelievable story of the most improbable battle of World War II—a tale of unlikely allies, bravery, cowardice, and desperate combat between implacable enemies.
In 1972 Lorene Cary, a bright, ambitious black teenager from Philadelphia, was transplanted into the formerly all-white, all-male environs of the elite St. Paul's School in New Hampshire, where she became a scholarship student in a "boot camp" for future American leaders. Like any good student, she was determined to succeed. But Cary was also determined to succeed without selling out. This wonderfully frank and perceptive memoir describes the perils and ambiguities of that double role, in which failing calculus and winning a student election could both be interpreted as betrayals of one's skin. Black Ice is also a universally recognizable document of a woman's adolescence; it is, as Houston Baker says, "a journey into selfhood that resonates with sober reflection, intellignet passion, and joyous love." From the Trade Paperback edition.
NATIONAL BESTSELLER "Victoria is an absolutely captivating novel of youth, love, and the often painful transition from immaturity to adulthood. Daisy Goodwin breathes new life into Victoria's story, and does so with sensitivity, verve, and wit." – AMANDA FOREMAN Drawing on Queen Victoria’s diaries, which she first started reading when she was a student at Cambridge University, Daisy Goodwin—creator and writer of the new PBS Masterpiece drama Victoria and author of the bestselling novels The American Heiress and The Fortune Hunter—brings the young nineteenth-century monarch, who would go on to reign for 63 years, richly to life in this magnificent novel. Early one morning, less than a month after her eighteenth birthday, Alexandrina Victoria is roused from bed with the news that her uncle William IV has died and she is now Queen of England. The men who run the country have doubts about whether this sheltered young woman, who stands less than five feet tall, can rule the greatest nation in the world. Despite her age, however, the young queen is no puppet. She has very definite ideas about the kind of queen she wants to be, and the first thing is to choose her name. “I do not like the name Alexandrina,” she proclaims. “From now on I wish to be known only by my second name, Victoria.” Next, people say she must choose a husband. Everyone keeps telling her she’s destined to marry her first cousin, Prince Albert, but Victoria found him dull and priggish when they met three years ago. She is quite happy being queen with the help of her prime minister, Lord Melbourne, who may be old enough to be her father but is the first person to take her seriously. On June 19th, 1837, she was a teenager. On June 20th, 1837, she was a queen. Daisy Goodwin’s impeccably researched and vividly imagined new book brings readers Queen Victoria as they have never seen her before.