This wont be a very long wrap up post since once again I ended up reading not very many books this month (finished seven totally and only four for the theme, the fifth I’m still part-way in but will include a little about it in this post).
So my May theme was of course, Kings and Queens, and I picked various books from my TBR this month that featured Kings and Queens (as well as a knight or two). In these books, I met Kings and Queens real and fictional, in England, and Holland, and in India (three set in India, actually). Tudor England, Maratha and Mughal India, and parts of the Deccan were places I ‘visited’ this month, besides the realms of the Kings of Dragonaut and Unauwen in fictional country. There was adventure, and excitement, also courage, chivalry, deceit, and cunning–opulence and grandeur, but also battle and loss. There were knights but no damsels in distress, and a few rather strong female characters. Reviews for three of the four books I read are already on this page.
My first ‘theme’ read this month was Band of Soldiers by Sardidndu Bandhyppadhyay, and was also my ‘children’s book of the month’. This was all about Sadashiv a sixteen-year-old who finds he has to make his own way in the world and ends up joining Shivaji, the Maratha king, and his band, around the time that the latter was acquiring his kingdom. As part of Shivaji’s band, he undertakes several missions–from infiltrating enemy camps to delivering messages to enemy territory, there’s plenty of danger and excitement in all his adventures. Here is my review.
Then it was off on another adventure with another young man, seventeen-year-old Tiuri, about to be knighted by his king, the King of Dragonaut, who is thrown into adventure when a stranger approaches him for help. Breaking all the rules, Tiuri heads off to the kingdom of Unauwen, facing many dangers on the way, to complete the mission that a knight has tasked him with, and which he has promised to do. He may not have formally become a knight, but in his actions, he is truly one. My review.
The third book, once again set in India, tells the story of Prithvi Vallabh, the ruler of the region of Malwa, who falls captive to his enemy, King Tailap of Manyakhet (one he had defeated on sixteen or was it eighteen earlier occasions). But while Tailap may be king, Manyakhet is really ruled by his older sister Mrinalvati, who was widowed at a young age and leads an austere and joyless life, which she believes is the right way to life. She may not believe in giving way to her feelings (and doesn’t let anyone else in her kingdom do this either) but is keen to humble Prithvi Vallabh. But Prithvi Vallabh ends up teaching her a lesson or two, proving that he has managed to rise above emotions far more successfully than she ever has. My review.
Then I read Ruler of the World, the third of the Empire of the Moghul Series by Alex Rutherford. This takes us through the reign of the third Mughal emperor, Akbar, who found himself crowned king at thirteen, to his handing over the reins of the empire to his son Salim, who rules as Jahangir. Abkar is a person who expanded the Mughal empire and added much to its riches and grandeur, he was loved by his people, but his relationship with his family, including his sons remained difficult because of the treachery he had faced earlier in his life, which led to him not being able to trust any one, not even those close to him. On the other side, Salim faces the frustration of having to obey his father’s commands, whatever they may be but not being given any responsibility, however much he wants and is ready to take it. My review.
The last of my theme reads that I’ve started (but not yet finished) is Alison Weir’s The Six Wives of Henry VIII, and which is also my non-fiction read for May. This of course takes us through the stories of all six of Henry’s queens, and while I have read books about or featuring one or the other of them, this is the first ‘collective’ bio that I’m reading. So far I am enjoying it very much, and should be able to review it sometime next week.
Finally, my poetry post this month on Leigh Hunt’s ‘The Glove and the Lions‘ also fell pretty much within my Kings and Queens theme, while the author I wrote about this month, Emily Eden, also fit herself in by having made some quite wonderful portraits of Indian kings during her time in the country, of which she’s also written her memoirs.
While I didn’t end up reading all that many theme reads for May, I hope to do better in June and am once again setting out some elaborate plans. For my theme this month, I want to do some Light-hearted and Fun reads, and will be including Storm in the Village, Snobs, The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets, Summer Moonshine, and No Fond Return of Love. Of non-theme reads, I will be reading Bleak House over the next few months with a Goodreads group, and from NetGalley I have Isabelle of Angouleme. There will be a children’s book and non-fiction read, of course but also last month’s non-fiction review.
What are your reading plans this month? Happy reading month!