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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gem of a tale!, 28 April 2006
By 
S. Ahmed (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This is a must-read for anyone who likes a deeply engaging story against a fascinating historical backdrop- British India and the days of the Indian Mutiny in this case. M.M.Kaye is undoubtedly a gifted author who has a way of creating beautiful imagery and invoking the sounds, smells and sights that transport the reader into the world of her characters. Everytime i have read this book, i have longed with almost a childish longing to go back in time to see the India of that day and meet Winter and Alex, the two main characters of the novel despite the fact that they actually go through a gruesome experience of war and bloodshed.

This novel has been a refuge many a times when I have wanted to escape and lose myself in another world. M.M Kaye does not leave any charcter or situation half-baked and even though sometimes some of the minor characters such as English Mama's come across as stereotyped, they are very very real and one cannot help but form a strong bond with them, suffer, laugh, cry and rejoice with them.

I love this book!
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45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE..., 3 July 2004
By 
Lawyeraau (Balmoral Castle) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Shadow of the Moon (Hardcover)
This is a superlative work of beautifully written, well-researched historical fiction by the author of the best selling, sweeping epic, "The Far Pavilions". The author was born in India, where she lived most of her life. Her love of that country is evident in her loving, descriptive passages of the land of her birth. Her assessment of Anglo-Indian relations during the time of the British Raj is infused in the characters of her spellbinding novel. With exotic, mid-eighteenth century India as a backdrop for most of this engrossing story, the reader is swept away by its beautifully descriptive narrative. It is in India that the fate of a beautiful, young, Anglo-Spaniard heiress with the improbable name of Winter Ballasteros and that of Captain Alex Randall, a commissioned officer with the East India Company, are irrevocably intertwined.
Born in India and orphaned at an early age, Winter is brought up in England but is always longing for the land of her birth. The opportunity to return home to India presents itself when she is betrothed at a tender age to the debauched Conway Barton, the grasping Commissioner of Lunjore, who is many years her senior. Captain Randall, who is sent by the Commissioner to escort his betrothed to India, is loathe to do so, knowing the Commissioner to be no fit husband for a seventeen year old girl, Moreover, Captain Randall is keenly sensitive to the potentially dangerous feelings of unrest that seem to be sweeping India, as its native population begins to chafe under the insensitive rule of its colonial masters.
Once in India and against a backdrop of native unrest, Winter and Captain Randall slowly begin to develop a relationship. When the Sepoy Rebellion of 1957 occurs, Winter and Captain Randall are thrown together. They discover that they must struggle to survive the madness and bloodlust that is all around them, as they witness atrocities beyond comprehension. The author gives a vivid re-creation of the Siege of Delhi, as well as a plaintive telling of the massacre of women and children at Cawnpore, a horrific bloodbath from which even the natives themselves shrank. It is against this tumultuous, historical backdrop that the personal drama of Winter and Captain Randall is juxtaposed.
With a wonderful cast of Indian and Anglo characters, the author gives the reader a sense of the vastness of India with its many different religions and castes. She successfully depicts the colonialist attitudes that would serve to unite Indians whose paths might not ordinarily cross and galvanize them to take violent action in an attempt to break the oppressive, colonial yoke. The Sepoy Rebellion of 1857 would be a lesson that England would long remember.
This is a riveting novel that those who love well-written historical fiction will enjoy, as will those who simply love a well told tale. Bravo!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Star crossed lovers, the British Raj & India, what more can you want in a book?, 10 Mar. 2007
By 
Misfit (Seattle, WA USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Shadow of the Moon (Paperback)
This was just an amazing book. Once the author set up her characters and story line things just cooked along -- be prepared for the last 200 pages, because you will not surface for air until it's done!

We have Winter, a wealthy heiress born and orphaned in India and sent to England to be raised by mostly uncaring relatives(except for the great-grandfather). When her great-grandfather dies, she is sent at the age of 17 to join her fiancee under the care of Alex Randall, who unbeknownst to her is now a debauched, obese drunk. Alex does try to tell her, but she maintains her childhood image of her "hero" and will not listen, to her great regret.

Lots of trials and tribulations as our hero and heroine travel back to India, the meeting and marriage to Conway and the Sepoy rebellion, and vividly portrayed by an author who has a great knowledge and love of the country and it's history. This is not only a story of two lovers, but one of stubborn, bigoted officials hiding their heads in the sand, treachery, intrigue and the brutal way in which the rebellion played out against the British, even shocking some of their own people.

As with the Far Pavilions, it is shocking to see after 150 years not much of life and politics has changed in the Middle East, nor should the Europeans (or Americans now for that matter) be interfering in their life, culture and religion.

Highly recommended for any lover of historical fiction, India, or just a darn good book. This would make an awesome mini series, the sequences from the attack on the British and Alex and Winter's escape are just breathtaking. As a side note for those loooking for well written books for younger readers, this should be a good choice. Originally written in the 50's, the love scenes are quite chaste. Just be prepared for some gory, though accurate, portrayal of the violence aginst the British (including women and children) during the rebellion.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dramatic adventure story set against a troubled time in India, 10 Feb. 2010
By 
K. Culley "MrsHJ" (Devon) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Shadow of the Moon (Paperback)
Other reviewers have covered the story outline very well so I won't dwell on that. The love story is very gentle and you need to be interested in history/geography or politics to thoroughly enjoy this book. The development of the two main characters gives MM Kaye an excellent opportunity to tell the story of the Indian Mutiny (the term used in the book) of 1857.

As the tension builds in the book you can start to feel your heart beating faster because you know it is all about to go horribly wrong for the lead characters but you can't stop turning the pages. Fortunately there is a satisfying ending but some very gruesome scenes on the way and it gave me a real feel for the history of the period. Although MM Kaye was herself a product of colonial India she had a deep love of the country and a lot of sympathy with the local population. Actually some of the Indian characters are the best drawn in the book- Niaz and Kishan Prasad in particular are fascinating and one of my minor frustrations with the plot was that we didn't get a resolution to Kishan Prasad's onwards story at the end.

My favourite scenes involved the build of the tension towards the climax of the mutiny- spying in Malta, the sacrifice in the underground cave, the blowing up of the bridge. I also enjoyed all the scenes of rural Indian life. Some of the great people of the time also pass through the story- Lawrence, Canning, William Hodson and so on. This grounds the history very nicely and although the town of Lunjore where the main characters are based does not exist nearby Lucknow where the story ends played a central role in the mutiny.

Parts of the book that didn't work so well for me were the scenes about Winter's early life (skip the first 60 pages if you are struggling to get into the story) and Lord Carlyon who seemed an unecessary character serving a plot function for the romance. The romance worked well- the characters are beautifully matched and the book ends at a point where you can predict how things will end up and so is very satisfying. The characters recognise the need to focus on trying to prevent and then survive the mutiny and our hero puts his responsibilities and duties before romance. The love story is so subtle that my recommendation would be to watch their hands because that seems often to be the only expression of their feelings until the last few pages of the book.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A romance during the Indian Mutiny, 5 Aug. 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Shadow of the Moon (Paperback)
This book is an excellent story that I have read many times over the past twenty years. I first read it as a student and keep coming back to re-read it as the story has many layers that become more relevant to me as I move on through my life. It is the story of a young girl brought up in India for her early years, who moves to England where she is very unhappy. She becomes engaged to a man who will take her back to her beloved India, but this leads to many problems when she falls in love with the messanger he has sent to fetch her from England.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book, 16 Sept. 2012
This review is from: Shadow of the Moon (Paperback)
I first read this book many years ago and regularly re-read it when I want to escape to another place and time. As escape is also given as the motivation for re-reading the book by a couple of other reviewers, it clearly works for some of us. It is a well-written novel, historically accurate as far as I can tell, and with good characterisations. The central love story is moving, but what elevates the book above a run-of-the-mill historical romance is the context of the story, its detail and drama [you couldn't get more dramatic than the Indian Mutiny!]. The descriptions of the heat, dust, monsoon rains and landscape are evocative [I spent much of my childhood in the Far East]. I've read the Far Pavilions and did enjoy it, but I prefer the Shadow of the Moon. If you enjoy good writing, history and romance, I recommend this book to you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning., 26 Sept. 2013
This review is from: Shadow of the Moon (Paperback)
I've read this book dozens of times over the years, my first copy fell to bits and my second one is currently in two halves I've read it that much!
The other reviews have throughly explained the plot, and it is a brilliant read.
Winter and Alex are two of the best literary characters I have ever come across. Likable, but with their flaws, there is a lot of depth to them.
It is also a very good historical depiction of the Indian uprising and subsequent massacres, especially if reading text books are not for you.

I couldn't recommend this book more. 5 stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Epic...but not quite as epic as The Far Pavillions, 10 Jun. 2013
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This review is from: Shadow of the Moon (Paperback)
I found this story engaging and the backdrop richly created. For some reason, the characters didn't quite seem as vivid nor was there the same sense of vastness that I enjoyed so much in The Far Pavillions. Having said that, I still read this book in three days so I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it if you enjoy historical drama. There is perhaps slightly more emphasis on the 'historical' rather than the 'drama' but a compelling read regardless. I'm now on the quest for something similar, but a different author and region...?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most detailed and brilliantly written story of Victorian India I have ever read, 10 Aug. 2013
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I read shadow of the moon many years ago, and remained one of my all time favourites. A must keep book to read again and again.
It is a timeless story of romance,intrigue,adventure and the most in depth of Victorian India one could wish to indulge in. Full of intricate detail and knowledge. I can smell the India she is detailing, lost completely in another era. absolutely wonderful.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love, passion and history, 24 Oct. 2006
By 
Another epic story by M M Kaye who writes so well and brings her characters and their feelings to life. I couldn't stop reading and flicking the pages forward until I was satisfied that - at long last - Alex and Winter could be together.

There are so many obstacles in the way for Alex and Winter - including an Indian rebellion and the man Winter is betrothed to. The latter is an interesting take on the 'arranged marriage' theme and it's good to know it's not always an Asian phenomenon.

If you enjoy this, also read 'The Far Pavilions' by the same author.
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Shadow of the Moon
Shadow of the Moon by Mary Margaret Kaye (Paperback - 31 July 1980)
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