BBC FILMS, FOCUS FEATURES, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE, SHRABANI BASU, UNIVERSAL PICTURES INTERNATIONAL, VINTAGE BOOKS, WORKING TITLE FILMS

Victoria & Abdul (Movie Tie-In): The True Story of the Queen’s Closest Confidant – by Shrabani Basu

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GRAPHIC COPYRIGHT – VINTAGE BOOKS, KNOPF DOUBLEDAY PUBLISHING GROUP, PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE

Category: Historical Figure Biographies & Memoirs | European World History | Domestic Politics

Paperback: 352 Pages | Vintage BooksKnopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Penguin Random House, Aug 29, 2017 | ISBN 9780525434412. Price | $16.00.

Reviewer: Miriam Jacob


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Sir Alexander Reid and Lady Michaela Reid gave Shrabani Basu complete access to the Reid Archives. Lady Michaela Reid , wife of the grandson of Sir James Reid (personal physician to Queen Victoria), discovered Sir James’ papers in the 1960s in Ellon Castle in Aberdeenshire. Her book, Ask Sir James, was critically acclaimed and reprinted by Eland Books


REVIEW

Among royal biographies, “Victoria and Abdul” stands out in distinction, different from all others, due to its revelations of the relationship between Queen Victoria and her Indian secretary, Munshi Abdul Karim. The true historical facts must be revealed to all those who care. Queen Victoria defined an entire era and etched her name into history by her dynamic personality.

Shrabani Basu creates a very humane portrait of the iconic monarch. The Queen’s irresistible sincerity, unaffected simplicity and transparent truthfulness shone in the spotlight of conscientious duty. Reigning from 1837 to 1901, she became the second longest reigning monarch in Britain, for over sixty-three years.

At the height of the British empire, a young Muslim influenced its sovereign, reverberating in shockwaves across the royal court. For Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887, Abdul Karim, a 24-year-old assistant clerk from India, arrived in England to be an attendant. The Queen, impressed with the tall, dignified young man, made him her Indian secretary, and most trusted confidant. Their discussions covered philosophical, political and practical issues.

The Queen titled Karim as ‘Munshi’ or teacher. In 1897, facing a near revolt in the Royal Household against Abdul Karim, the unprejudiced Queen Victoria backed Karim unconditionally, oblivious to all accusations against him. 

“Victoria & Abdul” is a stunning piece of historical work, a well researched chronicle of the English court. Unrecorded in the annals of history, the startling revelations of this great relationship story of all time, survived destruction, languishing in obscurity for a hundred years, until Shrabani Basu unraveled its complicated tangles.

This book is highly recommended for public edification about the last thirteen years of the life of Queen Victoria, who shaped the ‘Victorian Age’ for posterity, making it the most splendid era in the history of Britain.

Miriam Jacob


A Major Motion Picture, by BBC Films, Working Title Films & Universal Pictures International, releasing September 22, 2017, by Focus Features.

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Directed by Stephen Frears | Screenplay by Lee Hall | Based on “Victoria & Abdul” by Shrabani Basu | Production company: BBC Films; Working Title Films | Distributed by Focus Features


Release date | September 15, 2017 (United Kingdom) | September 22, 2017 (United States) | Running time | 106 minutes | Country: United Kingdom & United States


Victoria & Abdul is an upcoming British-American biographical drama film directed by Stephen Frears, written by Lee Hall, based on the book by Shrabani Basu, and on the real-life relationship between Queen Victoria and her Indian servant Abdul Karim. The film is scheduled to be screened at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival.


The film is co-produced by Working Title Films and BBC Films, and co-financed by BBC and Focus Features. Focus handles the domestic distribution rights while Universal Pictures International handles all the other countries. Principal photography on the film began on September 15, 2016, at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight in the United Kingdom.

WIKIPEDIA


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

basu
SHRABANI BASU

http://www.shrabanibasu.co.uk

Shrabani Basu was born in Kolkata and grew up in Dhaka, Kathmandu and Delhi. She moved to London in 1987 and is a correspondent for the Kolkata-based newspapers Ananda Bazar Patrika and The Telegraph. She is also the author of Curry: The Story of the Nation’s Favourite Dish and the critically acclaimed biography Spy Princess: The Life of Noor Inayat Khan. She lives in London.

 

BOOK REVIEWS, KAREN WHITE, NEW AMERICAN LIBRARY, PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE, PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE PUBLISHING GROUP

THE SOUND OF GLASS by Karen White

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NAL/Penguin Random House Publishing Group,

ISBN-13: 9780451470898

Published: May 12, 2015.

The Sound of Glass by Karen White reveals how discovering the life-shattering secrets of a Southern family changes Merritt Heyward who unearths them. Engulfed by guilt after her husband’s tragic death, Merritt hears that Cal’s family home is bequeathed to her. Facing an unpredictable life and an unforeseeable future, Merritt travels to find the hidden secrets of Cal’s past buried deep in the heart of his ancestral home. This mysterious legacy re-defines the priorities of Merritt’s life as she unravels the tangled threads of the family’s past to confront her own dumbfounded fears for the healing she desperately needs.

In this multilayered mystery of a multigenerational, multifamily saga with a multifaceted plot, Karen White, “the Queen of Women’s Fiction,” plumbs the subtle depths of humanity as she deals with the inexplicable facts of life and death intertwined with tragedy. Her sensitive, story-telling style and precise, to-the-point narrative is an intricate weaving of the ultimate triumph of good over evil. Her sweeping, commanding and powerful execution of the complex plot and storyline of this extraordinary classic is praiseworthy, right from the start to the poignant, heart-rending revelations at the end. Karen White paints a vivid, multifaceted portrait of a family rooted in strife with hidden secrets and enduring love that ultimately leads to courage and healing.

I like the precious words of wisdom in the story, with their rare power to illuminate and inspire the hearts of readers. Here are some of the brilliant facets of wisdom and knowledge, shining like the brightest jewels:

It is in utter darkness that we see the brightest light. We are tossed and turned in the fire of affliction by the turbulent waves and storms of life, bearing deep scars to show what we have suffered. With each scar we learn new lessons. We turn toward the light unflinchingly, unbelievably strong at the torn, jagged and broken places. We absorb the light and reflect it outward.

Our paths cross, our lives meander as the twisting rivers bring us back to the starting point. Nothing happens simply. Everything happens for a good reason. Life never gets any easier than this. We just get stronger as time goes by. We cross bridges in the heart of the storm. I will not be afraid any more. The heart bears a compass pointing toward home. The horizon trembles with new light. The darkness gives way to the light. I see the beauty and the good in unexpected places. And in ourselves.

Stars shine through the darkness to illuminate the hidden places. When you gaze at stars, you look back in time long gone. Starlight takes millions of years to reach the earth, so when you see the stars , you know how it looked like millions of years ago.

Courage is doing the one thing you think you cannot do. The glowing lights soften the darkness. It is never really dark. There is always light if you look hard enough. The darkness is illuminated by the soft glow of lights. A single light glows in the darkness. You are strongest at the broken places.

Complex, engrossing and emotionally rich, The Sound of Glass lingers in the heart long after the gripping, beautifully told story is over. An endearing must-read for all.

© Miriam Jacob