They say not to judge a book by its cover but there’s something quite alluring about book covers without a doubt. Some books catch my eye just by their cover and this was one such. And SSJ gifted it to me on our first meeting! That just makes it a bonus.
The blurb promises a tale rich with echoes of classical poetry and I think it delivers. The poetic prose has allure, and it just adds a further level of beauty to the novel. The story itself is about a poetess and her love for the Lord, who was abandon as a baby but found by Vishnuchittan & Arali, how her childhood and the surrounding aura of spirituality made a mark on her life itself. And how this is brought to the reader is quite lovely.
I enjoyed reading about Vishnuchittan and his customs and how his poetry won over royalty. This book in a way talks about traditions and expectations of women that perhaps still continue to exist, about fears. At some places I thought, this feels so familiar with current day of some women for sure (even though I would like to think that that’s changing towards a positive direction). I liked how Kodhai is portrayed as well.
I did think the language could have been a little less poetic. At times it felt a bit heavier than necessary. I don’t say it’s a point against the author’s style but it might have helped. The lore behind the poet is quite extensive I believe, so I would have liked to know more about the characters and their lives but the book is a short one split over chapters of varying sizes. But I must say, overall, I did like the book.
Title: The Queen of Jasmine Country
Author: Sharanya Manivannan
No. of Pages: 156
Publisher: Harper Collins
Rating: 8 out of 10