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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A FASCINATING TRIP DOWN THE MEMORY LANE, 10 Jan. 2015
It is a frequent journey from the past to the present and back to the past-as if done by a time machine.
Sepoy mutiny may have been dubbed in history as a failed ploy to reinstate the lost glory of the great Mughals, but there is no denying the fact that the sheer zeal of getting freed from the colonial rule was the root cause of the great mutiny. Themed on the rebellion, this novel is an absorbing tale that correlates the past with the present.
The story unfolds in a dramatic manner-the narrator of the story visualizing some pictures from the past, in his dreams- he is in a role to save the Queen of Jhansi from the British chasing her.

Doctor Walliadad- the narrator, and a visiting doctor to India from John Hopkins Hospital U.S.A was entrusted to return an old sea chest, more than 100 years old -belonging to doctor Margaret- one of the first North American doctors, lying long in the possession of the hospital, to her acquiesces. Like searching a needle in pile of hay-he had to locate and trace down the relative of the doctor! From that moment strange things started to happen- somebody was after the sea chest. So, it was not just one junk old sea chest after all-far more valuable than it. What was inside it?
Mystery thickens page after page,chapter after chapter.......
The grandfather of the narrator was among the rank and files of the last of the great Mughals-Bahadur Shah Jaffar. What wonder can his memoir behold to the protagonist? Are there any invisible connection between the lady doctor and the grandfather?
In a quest of tracing down the relatives of the doctor, he finally succeeds after a gap of two years from the time the duty was first entrusted to him! The trunk was finally opened, and what was inside it?
A piece of history and a memoir of the lady doctor-that takes us to a fascinating journey of love, conflict, conspiracy - taking us down back memory lane, revealing before us many shades of human emotions! True, the writer has assimilated tons of information into this wonderfully crafted novel that is a mirror reflection of the 1850's -but it is not just dry history. Reader can well visualize the war cries of soldiers, the humiliation of the last Mughal Empire, the lynching of helpless Mughal princes-like the decade coming alive. Suspense and twist at every corner of the story makes it really palatable. Contemporary matters like Crimean war, to the publication of origin of species-all found their way in this period piece, which is a neat deception of the Victorian era.

A Russian connection has added up spice to the flavour of the story.
What I also do like is a beautiful picturisation of Delhi-with its past glory and the present aroma!
I am confused whether it is more crispy to me as a historical novel or as a thriller-but one thing is clear, if you start it ,you have to finish it in one go, otherwise tension may kill you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rich in detail, epic in scope, 21 Dec. 2014
By 
AJ (Victoria) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Doctor Margaret's Sea Chest (The Azadi Series Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
From its lyrical opening (“The full moon hung in a cloudless sky like a lantern held by an invisible force”), to its myriad plot twists, romantic entanglements, and action sequences, this historical novel will immerse you in a tale that keeps you turning the pages. The story begins in 1965 when an American doctor working in India, Walidad (“Walli”) Sharif, learns of a tantalizing mystery: a locked trunk belonging to a pioneering female American doctor has gone unclaimed for the past 100 years. Walli is enlisted to search out the North American descendants of “Doctor Margaret” and deliver to them the ancient sea chest. A seemingly straightforward quest soon plunges Walli into Cold War intrigue, complex family ties and a deepening secret: what became of Doctor Margaret?

Author Waheed Rabbani alternates between the recent past and the Victorian era, eventually illuminating more and more of Doctor Margaret’s fate. And it is the romantic and ambitious Margaret who ultimately wins the reader’s heart. She must overcome her parents’ opposition to her choice of profession, her Aunt’s objection to the blossoming romance with her cousin, Robert, and the widespread discrimination encountered by women of that era. Margaret’s resilience, including a memorable scene aboard a sea-going ship where she must physically repel unwanted overtures, proves her an estimable heroine.
As we follow Margaret’s saga, the narrative transports us from the U.S. and Canada to England, Turkey and ultimately the Crimean Peninsula. Over that span, we bear witness to indelible scenes ranging from the Underground Railroad to the tragic charge of the Light Brigade. The challenge of depicting so many diverse historic settings, customs and events clearly delights Rabbani—he does not shy away from historical vernacular or accent in his dialogue. When Margaret’s ship sails upon the Thames on its way to London, we are utterly convinced. The story is rendered in meticulous period detail.

Doctor Margaret’s Sea Chest, the first in a trilogy, is a delight for readers in search of an epic historical voyage.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love, mystery and intrique intertwined, 5 Dec. 2011
By 
Pauline Hager (La Jolla, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Although Doctor Margaret's Sea Chest is well-written and easy to read, an inordinate amount of information requires a reader's undivided attention to absorb all the inner intricacies of this epic historical novel. Indian born, American Doctor Walidad (Walli) Sharif is on contract with a Delhi hospital for one year and is given the task of returning a sea chest, well over 100 years old and left at the hospital, to the owner's rightful relatives. The owner is believed to be an American woman doctor, Margaret Wallace. Unfortunately, no one knows who or where the relatives live. When eventually Dr. Sharif returns to his home in Grimsby, Ontario, he and his wife locate the relatives and are given permission to open the chest. Inside, Dr. Margaret's diary is found. Expecting to read a day-by-day account of life in a hospital, instead a complicated plot unfolds. The reader is immediately transported from the present (1965) to the past, over a 100-year span, starting with Delhi during India's struggle for freedom from the British Raj, on to Canada and Elizabeth, New Jersey (Margaret's home town.) Doctor Margaret travels to Central Asia, Turkey, Russia and Afghanistan. She witnesses the famous battle of The Charge of the Light Brigade, where her husband is killed. As a child, she sees her parents in the act of illegally transporting slave children to freedom to Canada. Echoes of freedom ring throughout this tale. However, this story is mainly about Margaret, a strong, compassionate woman, who from early childhood dreams of becoming a medical doctor, unheard of in the middle 19th century. Against strong objections from her parents, she enrolls in a medical college for women and upon graduation she begins her journey in life, starting with love, marriage, children to wars, mystery and intrique in countries far away.
The characters in this novel are well-developed, and although the plot is complicated, the story is believable. It is obvious the author, Waheed Rabbani, did his research. I would have assumed Doctor Margaret's Sea Chest was writen by a woman because of Mr. Rabbbani's understanding of women's struggle for equality and the strong character of Margaret Wallace. I look forward to his next tale in "The Azaadi Trilogy". Mr. Rabbani is a master storyteller.

Pauline Hager, author of
Giorgi's Greek Tragedy,
a historical novel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History, suspense and intrigues, 7 Aug. 2012
"Doctor Margaret's Sea Chest" - Book I of "The Azadi Trilogy"
Reading this book is an experience in history, suspense and intrigues.
The novel portrays the extraordinary life of an American woman doctor, who, due to her upbringing, family ties and chosen profession finds herself in the heart of significant historical events of the time.
Dr. Margaret's possessions, discovered in a dusty basement of the rural hospital, in Delhi, hold the clues of the turbulent events in Indian history. The importance of the discovery resonates to the present days, and not everyone is keen to expose the historical truth.
The book makes us understand the past events through the feelings and experiences of the heroine. This is what literature is all about. In fact, the author has visited and lived in most of the places that he vividly described in the book, and this adds the authenticity to the portrayal of the historical settings. Artful and delightful narration!
Read this fascinated book and discover the richness of plot and colorful details of life in faraway places. The book is extremely interesting and educational, true to the chronological events and locations. Ending of Book I of the Trilogy prepares the reader for the excitement of the unfolding mystery, conflicts and anticipation of more thrilling actions.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A whale of a story, 24 Sept. 2009
By 
Paul Svendsen "author" (Reno, NV) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Waheed Rabbini is a serious author and Doctor Margaret's Sea Chest is a well-researched, serious novel crammed full of intrigue, suspense, odd situations, interesting geographical locations and more. There is a little bit of paranormal action, in that some of the main characters have dreams that are disturbingly real. The main action in the present takes place in Delhi, India We are led through Canada., the Crimea, Russia and most importantly the mid-19th century and the Sepoy rebellion The sea chest itself belongs to Doctor Margaret and contains her revealing journals that go in large part toward explaining the mystery. A good read and well-worth further perusal.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The heart cries freedom, 7 Feb. 2009
By 
Jennifer Pittam "Maythorn" (Hertfordshire, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
I took this historical novel on a long train journey to Devon, and it did not disappoint. The story is set in two periods - Delhi 1965 and Canada, Russia and India 1865, and follows the story of one of North America's first women doctors. However, the real motivation for this story is clearly India's struggle for freedom - Azadi.

The book provides a fascinating and poignant history and would appeal to anyone interested in that beautiful continent, or in a nation's struggle for independence.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Good Read, 3 Aug. 2009
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This is historical fiction at its best. Waheed Rabbani has woven a wonderful story set within two time frames that keep the reader hooked.The love story is interspersed with a tight plot of intrigue and conflict that makes this book a page turner. The characters come alive. I look forward to the next book in this 'Azad Trilogy'.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read!, 3 Sept. 2013
Just started reading this book and can't put it down.
A work of fiction, based on history. A must read.
Well done!!!

30th Nov. Update...

Just finished reading this book. Very interesting story, well written and absorbing.
Had to take it to work and read it on my breaks. Great work Waheed!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wealth of historical detail, 4 April 2011
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This is historical fiction which has a truly astonishing wealth of detail and a very strong sense of place. Set in two different time frames, 100 years apart, one story is about Dr Margaret who becomes one of America's first wooman doctors determined to serve humanit. The second is set in 1965 and recounts the adventures of Dr Walli who has been asked to find and return Dr Margaret's sea chest to any living relatives.
Dr Margaret's journals recount her journey to work in the Crimea and offer a fascinating glimpse into life and conditions.
The sections set in India have such wonderful descriptions bringing the country to life so the reader feels he or she is there. The author certainly knows his subject.
The plot twists and turns and moves at a cracking pace. It is a huge story.
Reviewed by Mary Smith No More Mulberries
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