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Book Review: The Legend of Amrapali by Anurag Anand

Title: The Legend of Amrapali
Author: Anurag Anand
Paperback: 214 pages
Publisher: Srishti Publishers (January 2012)
Genre: Historical Fiction
Read: Paperback
Stars: ***/5
Buy On: Amazon | FlipKart
Summary: (Goodreads)
Amrapali – the Nagarvadhu of Vaishali!

The Legend of Amrapali is the story of mayhem and turmoil brought about by the obstinate desires of one man – a man blinded by the intoxication of power. It is a story of sinister plots and political wizardry, of chaste love and unbridled passion, of naked ambitions and dogged loyalties that lead to the transformation of an innocent young girl into one of the most revered, even worshipped, and occasionally feared personalities of her times.

My Review:

Note: Thanks to the guys at MySmartPrice for offering me “The Legend of Amrapali” to review :)

Cover: Garish, could have been more subtle.

Paper and font: Paper and font is good but I would have preferred a smaller book size.

Readability, language: Reads well with simple language.

Why did I choose this book: Amrapali is one of those women of legend, how could I miss it.

Amrapali is one those women from Indian Legend that stand out because they stood up to men. They were the first women to fight for equality and Amrapali has fascinated me since childhood. I remember reading about her in Amar Chitra Katha as a child and admiring the spunk.

I’ve had The Legend of Amrapali on my reading list for a while now and I’m glad I got down to it. This is the story of Amrapali, the events of her childhood and youth that shape her life, and how she learns to accept life and destiny on her own terms.

The cover is beautiful in choice of colour but the gold leaf around the cover kills it. I could have done with out so much gold. The blurb though is enticing, it kept the book on my to-read list all this time. :) The title set me up to expect a full story but at the end somehow I felt a little short-changed.

This the story of a baby found in a mango orchard, and brought up by a farmer couple. Amrapali grows up to be not only beautiful but also accomplished at all she does. She has a strength of moral character that is to be admired. Life throws a lot her way, the death of her mother, the killing of her fiancé and the lust of one man who is trying to ruin her world. Her spunk in facing it all head-on leaves you smiling in encouragement.

Set in Vaishali around 500 BC, Anand has done a good job of describing the city, the people, the politics and the life in those times.

This is Amrapali’s story and she takes centre stage but Anand also has a host of other characters that you associate with as you read. I found myself smiling at little Amrapali as she asked direct and baffling questions. As a young girl she broke my heart with the strength she showed. I felt sorry for her father Somdutt when he was helplessness. Anand has done a good job with introducing us to Amrapali – her childhood, her youth and her revenge.

Anand gives us a brief glimpse of Amrapali’s youth before the story starts of her as a baby. We watch her grow, lose the love of her life and then get nominated and voted Nagarvadhu. Finally coming full circle at a good pace back to the start; but here is where Anand disappointed me. I had expected to hear the whole story of Amrapali, not just of how she became Nagarvadhu. I was hoping to know more about her life as a Nagarvadhu. The end of the ‘Legend of Amrapali’ left me feeling incomplete.

At one point Anand introduces an unnamed man into the story who fascinates Amrapali and sparks an interesting her. But at the end Anand just drops that thread, and I was left wondering if Amrapali does find love? Hmm, maybe that’s book two.

The book is well written and has a good pace that keeps you constantly glued to the book. It’s a quick read and great of a rainy evening. If you love Indian Mythology and Folklore this book is definitely worth at least one read.

About the Author:
Anurag is a banker who wrote his first book ‘Pillars of Success’ at the age of 25. He currently has six published titles. See his other books on his website – www.anuraganand.in.

Buy On: Amazon | FlipKart

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