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“Last Queen” Review

“Last Queen” Review
on Jun 07, 2021
“Last Queen” Review
When you finish the book while reading the last page you go through mixed emotions. Where you feel very grateful to have read “Last Queen” by Chitra Banerjee, a story about Rani Jindan who was the last wife of Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Punjab, you are amazed to read about how a village girl having no clue about royalty becomes a queen just because of her intelligence, bravery and resilience. Even after the maharaja died, the village was in an uncertain position, was disturbed and not only that but Dalip Singh, the queen’s son was deprived of the throne by the British and was sent to England, Rani Jindan handled it well. Whereas you’re a little frustrated with the author by the time you complete the novel as the story could have been admirable but Chitra kept the character’s tone the same the entire novel. The author only captured the basic historical essence of Jindan’s rein and her psychology during that time. Although the novel is not incomplete, there is no doubt about that. It’s just that “Last Queen” could have had some tone to it but it’s just a basic, straightforward tale of a bright village girl becoming a queen but in the beginning, when her father sold her to the maharaja she could have been a frustrated woman, instead, she captured maharaja’s interest. When we say the story could have had a bit of tone to it is because the queen faced a lot when she sat on the throne during those times. The queen had to understand all the politics, learning to take charge of her own self and her state all this whilst coping with betrayals, exile, poverty and separation from her son, Dalip. The story of Rani Jindan is surely an epic story and a satisfactory one but the author did not tell the story the way it could have been told. “Last Queen” is told in a way that allows no perspective of anyone else other than that of the author. While reading the novel you’ll sense that there is no character development, she is poker-faced throughout the story. She is portrayed strong throughout but without the insights of the struggles she faced it seems all plain and simple. Not only that the author’s writing style lacks variety and interest, it’s repetitive because when you know the actual story and read the book you’ll notice that no matter Maharaja Ranjit’s death, the village being disturbed, the queen’s leadership, her separation from her son and reuniting with him after many years, she stays the same. “Last Queen” is less of a historical novel and more of a domestic tale making the novel frustrating to read.

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