Shadow of the Swords: An Epic Novel of the Crusades – Kamran Pasha
An epic saga of love and war, Shadow of the Swords tells the story of the Crusades—from the Muslim perspective.
Saladin, a Muslim sultan, finds himself pitted against King Richard the Lionheart as Islam and Christianity clash against each other, launching a conflict that still echoes today.
In the midst of a brutal and unforgiving war, Saladin finds forbidden love in the arms of Miriam, a beautiful Jewish girl with a tragic past. But when King Richard captures Miriam, the two most powerful men on Earth must face each other in a personal battle that will determine the future of the woman they both love—and of all civilization.
Mistress of the Throne – Ruchir Gupta
1631. The Empress of India Mumtaz Mahal has died. Yet, rather than anoint one of his several other wives to take her place as Empress of India, Mughal King Shah Jahan anoints his seventeen-year-old daughter Jahanara as the next Queen of India.
Bearing an almost identical resemblance to her mother, Jahanara is the first ever daughter of a sitting Mughal King to be anointed queen. She is reluctant to accept this title but does so in hopes of averting the storm approaching her family and Mughal India. Her younger siblings harbor extreme personalities from a liberal multiculturalist (who views religion as an agent of evil) to an orthodox Muslim (who views razing non-Muslim buildings as divine will).
Meanwhile, Jahanara struggles to come to terms with her own dark reality: as the daughter of a sitting King, she is forbidden to marry. Thus, while she lives in the shadow of her parents’ unflinching love story, she is devastated by the harsh reality that she is forbidden to share such a romance with another.
To Love a Sunburnt Country – Jackie French
The year is 1942 and the world is at war. Nancy Clancy is 16 and left school to spend a year droving, just like her grandfather Clancy of the Overflow was famed for. Now Nancy’s family has sent her to Malaya to bring home her sister-in-law Moira and baby Gavin. Moira is British and married to Nancy’s brother Ben, who is now a soldier. Malaya is under threat from the Japanese, but despite the warnings, Moira has resisted leaving as she wants to stay near her husband.
When Malaya is invaded, Nancy, Moira and Gavin are fortunate to get out before Singapore falls. When their ship is bombed they end up stranded on an island where they, and some other colonial women, are captured. There begins the nightmare and horror of internment in a Japanese camp. Back home at Gibber’s Creek families are doing their bit for the war. They worry constantly about their men who are fighting – and now those who are missing after Singapore falls. Powerful, compelling and confronting, this is a book that pulls no punches.
The Silk Thief – Deborah Challinor
1830s Sydney Town – blackmail, friendship, bar brawls, romance, tattoos, gin and much more – is brought vividly to life as feisty prostitute Friday, naive seamstress Harrie and cunning thief Sarah try to make their way as transported convict women.
1831: Assigned to a good family in Sydney Town and now learning the art of tattoo, convict girl Harrie Clarke is still haunted by the horror of the brutal murder she and friends Friday Woolfe and Sarah Morgan committed the previous year.
Powerful and vindictive criminal Bella Jackson continues to demand money in exchange for her silence regarding their crime. And just when it seems that Harrie and her fervent and long-time admirer James Downey might finally be united, an act of pure nastiness severely threatens their chances – and Harrie’s life.
When things go from bad to much, much worse for Harrie, everyone who loves her must do their utmost to save her. But Friday, in love, at last, is battling demons of her own, and Sarah is forced to lie low for fear of attracting the attention of the police. Who will be the one to rescue Harrie?
The Secret Children – Alison McQueen
Assam, 1925. James MacDonald is a son of the empire who has no yearning for England. Running a tea plantation, he loves India and is reluctant to choose a British bride from the eager crowds sent over. But when he takes a beautiful young Indian woman as his courtesan, he can little imagine what he has begun.
So starts the story of Mary and Serafina. Born of two worlds, accepted by neither. Growing up beloved but hidden away, their childhood is one of contradiction. It is only as the shadow of war falls and the turmoil of Indian partition begins, that the girls must face the truth about their parents and begin the search for somewhere to belong.
It will be a journey full of forbidden questions, hidden answers, heartbreak and determination. As Serafina and Mary grow into women, they must risk everything and make choices with a legacy that will last a lifetime, and beyond.