2022 Longlist

The Last Queen


2022 Longlist

Daughter of the royal kennel keeper, the beautiful Jindan Kaur went on to become Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s youngest and last queen; his favourite. She became regent when her son Dalip, barely six years old, unexpectedly inherited the throne. Sharp-eyed, stubborn, passionate, and dedicated to protecting her son’s heritage, Jindan distrusted the British and fought hard to keep them from annexing Punjab. Defying tradition, she stepped out of the zenana, cast aside the veil and conducted state business in public. Addressing her Khalsa troops herself, she inspired her men in two wars against the ‘firangs’. Her power and influence were so formidable that the British, fearing an uprising, robbed the rebel queen of everything she had, including her son. She was imprisoned and exiled.

An exquisite love story of a king and a commoner, a cautionary tale about loyalty and betrayal, and a powerful parable of the indestructible bond between mother and child, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s unforgettable novel brings alive one of the most fearless women of the nineteenth century, an inspiration for our times.

About the Author/Translator

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is an award-winning and bestselling author, poet, activist and teacher of writing. Her work has been published widely, in magazines and anthologies, and her books have been translated into twenty-nine languages. Several of her works have been made into films and plays.

Librarian’s Comments

A historical novel depicting a girl of humble origin becoming the last and favourite wife of the Punjab king, then queen mother trying to defend her 6-year old son and king-to-be from local and British attacks to the throne. She loses everything but sets an example for women to step up and fight. An inspirational character, a real 19th century woman coming to life for the reader thanks to the rich imaginative style to which Divakaruni has treated her readers throughout her writing career. Biblioteca Nazionale “Vittorio Emanuele III” Napoli, Italy



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