Randy’s Reviews: Chandra, by Catherine Coulter (Randyjw; July 9, 2017)
I still have two pages left to finish this book, which I hope to do later this evening — but, I thought I’d write and post this review beforehand, nevertheless. This is another of those well-timed messages that seem to pop-up out of nowhere, perfectly attuned to your own peculiar situation and personality, lending it great resonance to your life at the specific time. And so it was with me, with regards to this particular book.
Chandra, the main character about whom the novel revolves, is a teenaged girl growing up in a patrician world, where women are expected to willingly tend to all household duties in their arranged marriages to bridegrooms chosen by their fathers. But Chandra’s tomboy tendencies, indulged by her father, clearly clash with others’ expectations for her, especially of the man who wishes to wed her (who is, also, thank goodness, her father’s pre-arranged choice).
The novel is set in medieval England during a period of active monarchy and feudalism, with all its attendant treacheries amongst the knighthood — the backstabbing, the clannishness, the alliances of convenience, like marriage, as appropos as any war strategies to expand land holdings and power.
Chandra’s headstrong, feminist tendencies lead to many adventures, and some troubles, as she learns how to negotiate her way in a male-oriented world. I find her quandary as relevant today, as they were in the days, centuries ago, of the timeframe which this novel portrays. Some of the issues are very disturbing, and the content is aimed for a mature audience. Because of that, I almost did not do the review. The way the issues are presented is as if seen through the lens of the century in which it falls. For instance, child marriage is seen as a more commonplace occurence. Women treated as chattel like objects, through trafficking and slavery, placement in a harem, and subservient to men is also some treatment themes addressed throughout the book, as are stereotypical depictions of the Muslim rulers fought against during the Crusades, written about as through the English, Christian perspective taken here.
I found that the style of the written language lent itself to far greater civility than our present structural usage employs and was, indeed, quite lovely in its romantic interludes. There was a beautiful poem in this style, for which more I’d hoped to be scattered throughout the book. There were, additionally, some rather descriptive page lengths of love scenes written out that would have steamed up my glasses, had I been wearing them.
Author Catherine Coulter’s biographic pictorial photo and her character, Chandra, were well-relatable to me, and I appreciated her usage of the name, Chandra, for her heroine, as I feel it gives a tributary nod and thoughtful gesture — much needed — for a poor girl, Chandra Levy, murdered recently, as all murders are, under suspicious circumstances.