Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate, Young Adult
Author: Gloria Whelan
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Rosalind feels like she lives in two Indias: British India, the one her strict father upholds as a major in the British Indian army, and the India of her homeland, where the streets are full of poverty and followers of Gandhi surround her. As time goes on and her two worlds clash more and more, Rosalind finds herself sympathizing with Gandhi’s cause. When the Prince of Wales makes a state visit to Calcutta, India, Rosalind recognizes her chance to help the prince see the injustice she witnesses daily. But Rosalind doesn’t know if she’ll have the courage of her convictions when it comes down to it—to stand firm in her beliefs, or hold fast to the comfort of the life she has always known.
This book deftly weaves historical issues into a personal story about identity. It works as a standalone novel; readers will be able to connect with this story without having read the first in the series. However, the book has some problems with the pacing. Sometimes there is a play-by-play of exciting scenes, while at other times things are skimmed over and rushed into a very short summary. The ending is not very satisfying, as it leaves a lot of loose ends and doesn’t seem to give a solid resolution. Despite this, the book is gripping because of its excellent character development. Rosalind is a lovable and relatable girl who has very real flaws and grapples with the disparity between what her society has taught her to believe and what she actually witnesses. Additionally, the rich and detailed setting makes the reader feel as if they are actually in India. All in all, this book has some weaknesses, but it is a compelling story that unflinchingly faces civil rights issues.