Brief synopsis from the book cover: Ceylon, 1803. In the royal city of Kandy, a daughter is born to the king’s elephant keeper—an esteemed position in the court reserved only for males. To ensure the line of succession, Phera’s parents raise her as a boy. As she bonds with her elephant companion, Siddhi, Phera grows into a confident, fiercely independent woman torn between the expectations of her family and her desire to live life on her own terms. Only when British colonists invade is she allowed to live her true identity, but when the conquerors commit unspeakable violence against her people, Phera must add survival to the list of freedoms for which she’s willing to fight. Possessed by thoughts of revenge yet drawn into an unexpected romance with a kindly British physician, the elephant keeper’s daughter faces a choice: Love or hatred, forgiveness or retribution?
Story: 4 out of 5 stars Writing: 4 out of 5 stars Character development: 4 out of 5 stars Overall: 4 out of 5 stars
Review: The story is well told and gives you an idea what live would have been like for local population in Sri Lanka during colonial times. The story is full of intrigue and it tells of the story of a young girl who is forced to grow up as a boy because of her parent’s deception to the king. It’s hard to live with the consequences her parent’s deceit but it also means having tremendous freedoms she wouldn’t have had as a girl one of which is being able to care for her loyal elephant Siddhi. When the British invade and the king is overthrown she can finally be herself. The cruel events that happen during colonial rule forge Phera and she turns into a tremendously independent strong woman. Who despite everything is still able to love. The characters are realistic; you feel their love, pain, torment, and anguish. It felt like I was there in the jungle with Phera and her elephant. The writing was so vivid you smell the flowers, the pungent aroma of food being cooked, the moist odours of the jungle after the rains. You hear the chirping of the birds and the sounds of animals moving through the undergrowth. Overall this is a great story set in an interesting location and time. , I would recommend it for fans of historical fiction and woman’s fiction. Fans of Renita D’Silva will also like it.
Review copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for a honest review