Friday, February 4, 2011

Book review: Small Acts of Amazing Courage by Gloria Whelan

Small Acts of Amazing Courage by Gloria Whelan (Published by Simon & Schuster, April 19, 2011)

Fifteen-year-old Rosalind was born in India to British parents. Unlike most British children in early 20th century India, she was not sent home to England to be educated, because her older brother died while at school in England and her mother couldn't bear to send another child away after that. Rosalind has had a lot of freedom the past couple of years, because her father, an army officer, was away fighting in World War I, and her mother has health problems and couldn't pay much attention to her. So she has been free to spend time with her best friend, Isha, who is Indian, and visit the bazaar in town.

But now that it is 1919, and the war is over and her father is home, he is unhappy that Rosalind was given so much freedom. He thinks she should only associate with other British people. He thinks anything else would be a bad influence on her, because he fears a rebellion now that the movement for Indian self-government is growing. Fearing that Rosalind has become too concerned with the plight of the Indian people, her father decides to send her to England where she will live with her two aunts and attend school. Rosalind doesn't want to leave India but she has no choice. How will she bear living so far away in a cold country with relatives she has never met? Will she ever be able to return to her beloved India?

Gloria Whelan has been one of my favorite writers of historical fiction for many years now. Her books always have really interesting and unique historical settings and wonderful characters. Small Acts of Amazing Courage is no exception. Rosalind was a very likable and sympathetic main character. She had a good heart and just wanted to help people, yet found herself in trouble with her strict father, who didn't understand why she would want to save an Indian baby, or hear the famous Gandhi speak, leading to her being sent away from everything she knew and loved. I highly recommend this book and others by Gloria Whelan to any reader who enjoys historical fiction.


Shweta said...

I haven't read any book by Gloria Whelan but your review of this one definitely makes me want to read the book.Also that it's set in India :)

Caroline Starr Rose said...

I am embarrassed to say I've never read any of Whelan's books. The reviews you've given here have been marvelous, the sort of books I would have loved to have discovered as a girl and am just as interested in now.

And her covers are always so beautiful!

Caroline Starr Rose said...

Scanning my libraries virtual shelves to discover I have read one: Homeless Bird. My word, this woman is talented.

Basya Samuels said...

I just discovered this book while reading for a school assignment, and absolutely fell in love with it! I'm looking forward to reading more of Whelan's works.

Dana Leeds said...

I just discovered this author a couple of months ago and am absolutely loving her stories. I just finished Listening for Lions which was wonderful. I'll have to seek out this book, too!

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