The Prince And The Nightingale was immersive, touching and realistic historical romance set in India that had much more than just romance and great historical aspects with royalty falling for commoner arc.
The Prince And The Nightingale by Abhishek Bhatt
Publication Date : May 1st 2021
Publisher : HarperCollins India
Genre : Historical Romance
Pages : 272
On the eve of India’s Independence, Maharaja Uday Singh, the King of Ranakpour, urges his children to find their place in the new India as their 800-year rule on the princely state comes to an end. Stripped of his royal status, Uday Singh’s middle son, Abhimanyu, lands in Bombay to follow his passion – cricket.
While the young prince tries to adapt to life in the metropolis as a commoner, he meets Meera Apte, a struggling, working class singer with an angelic voice, and they bond over their common interest: Indian classical music.
Soon, Abhimanyu finds himself torn between familial duties and his growing passion for Meera.
Finally, the lovers make a choice that will change their destinies forever.
*** Disclaimer : I received this book from the author, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to author. ***
The Prince And The Nightingale was immersive historical romance that revolved around the story of Abhimanyu, Prince of Ranakopour, and Meera, the commoner and amazing singer of Mumbai.
The story was about independent India, political impact on royal family, finding place in world, adapting life without privilege, ambitions, family duty, struggle, friendship, heartbreak, and love.
Writing was easy to follow, enchanting, beautiful, and steady paced. Story was written in third person omniscient narrative. The setting of India just after independence, Mumbai, and Ranakopour palace made Abhimanyu and Meera story even more powerful. Cultural references were great. There was some Hindi words and poetry as well.
It started with King of Ranakopour, Uday Singh, announcing merger of his kingdom to Independent India and how that would bring end to his rule. Eldest son, Ajay, joined Indian military, youngest, Vihaan, went off to London, daughter joined politics with her father but middle son, Abhimanyu, decided to go to Bombay to turn his fate, make name for himself in Indian cricket.
On arriving in Mumbai, he realised what’s it like to be stripped off title and privilege, saw beauty in struggle with people like a commoner, made friends and met a friend’s sister, Meera- a struggling middle class singer. Soon, their friendship turned to love but when family intervened, he had to choose between family duty and love. A choice he made and unfortunate event changed their life.
It was interesting read if Abhimanyu would go against his family and choose love or it would break them apart, would their love survive the test of time and where life would take them.
Characters were realistic and relatable. Secondary characters weren’t much described. Author kept focus on main characters and I loved both of them. They both were strong and yet vulnerable and I loved how they both brought out best in each other.
Abhimanyu was gentleman, his passion for cricket was infectious. I loved how he treated people, royalty and commoner alike and dreamed of bringing them together in independent India through sport. His feelings were relatable. I could understand his dilemma and feel his pain when his dream shattered and had to take toughest decision. I enjoyed how he developed throughout the book and respected Meera’s decision and feelings at the end.
Meera was mature, fiery, and brave yet her family’s history affected her confidence. I liked how throughout the book she fought to change that history and keep her principle and dignity intact. I admired how she moved on in life, not harbouring ill feeling, making name for herself in patriarchal country, and making things work out on her own terms.
The best part of the book was small stories withing story- history of Ranakopour and Abhimanyu’s ancestor, Meera’s family history, and partition story of a project Meera was working on. I enjoyed how author interwoven historical aspect with Abhimanyu and Meera’ story. Formation of Congress party, Sardar Patel and his men working on merger of all kingdoms in India and its impact, partition, death of Gandhi, riots and many other small events that happened from 1947 to 1992. Throughout the book art and sport specifically cricket was at the heart of the story.
Romance was touching and tragic. I enjoy royalty falling for commoner trope. I liked romance and lovely moments between Abhimanyu and Meera in first few chapters but what I liked most was focus on their individual life in middle part. Chemistry between Abhimanyu and Meera was great. I could feel it even when both were apart. I liked what they decided in climax and how they loved till the end. It made story more realistic.
Twist and turns were great. I thought I knew where the story was going or at least when it came to romance but I wasn’t entirely right. Author managed to surprise me few times. Climax was unexpected and surprising. By this time I almost lost hope of both main characters ever being together but I loved how that changed at this point. I enjoyed everything happened from climax till end. Epilogue was another lovely surprise.
Overall, The Prince And The Nightingale was beautiful, touching and realistic historical romance that had much more than just romance and had great historical aspects. If you love to read books set in India with culture, history and sport, great character development and romance, I highly recommend this book.
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