Doctor Margaret's Sea Chest

1 star1 star1 star1 star1 star Adult
Book I of a trilogy covering India's freedom from the British Raj.
In 1965, Doctor Margaret's sea chest, containing her diaries, is discovered in a hospital in Delhi. Margaret, born in New Jersey, marries her Canadian cousin. They serve in the 1854 Crimean war. There they have to face not only hardships of battles, but also other conflicts, before Margaret can continue on her journey to India. More

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Published: July 04, 2009
Words: 164,620
Language: English
ISBN: 9781452304403
About Waheed Rabbani

Waheed Rabbani was born in India, close to Delhi, and was introduced to Victorian and other English novels, at a very young age, in his father’s library. Most of the large number of volumes, in the library, had been purchased by his father at ‘garage sales’ held, by departing British civil service officers and their families, in the last days of the Raj.

Waheed graduated from Loughborough University, Leicestershire, England, and received a Master’s degree from Concordia University, Montreal, Canada. While an engineer by profession, Waheed’s other love is reading and writing English literature. He also obtained a Certificate in Creative Writing from the McMaster University.

Waheed’s historical fiction novel, The Azadi Trilogy, Book I: Doctor Margaret’s Sea Chest, published by Youwriteon-Legend Press UK, is available at all Amazon, McNally Robinson, B&N and other Bookstores.

Waheed and his wife, Alexandra, are now settled on the shores of Lake Ontario in the historic town of Grimsby. More information is available on his website:
http://home.cogeco.ca/~wrabbani

Reviews

Review by: Francine L. Trevens on March 08, 2012 : star star star star star
This book fascinated from the first page. It recreated famous historical moments from a very personal perspective with warmth and excitement. You become part of the underground railroad from the U.S. to Canada. You cheer when Dr Margaret gets into a new medical school started for women. You float from the present to the past, from the Soviet Union to India on cloud 9. The charge of the ligh brigade becomes a realty instead of just a great poem. Waheed Rabbani has created worlds within worlds and you are delighted to be in them all. Can't wait for the sequal! Best of all, the book is written from the point of view of a male doctor who gets the mission to return an antique sea chest to the family of a woman doctor - and finds strands connecting him to her in many diretions, almost like a spider's web, and the novelist has woven tht web to keep the story with you many years after you finish this first book of the set. Terrific read for menor women.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Sharon E. Cathcart on March 01, 2012 : star star star star star
Overall score: 4.5/5 stars

Waheed Rabbani's novel, "Doctor Margaret's Sea Chest," brings us into several intriguing worlds: the Soviet Union of the 1960s, the wars in the Crimea during the 1850s, and the Sepoy Wars of India during the 1860s.

His protagonist, Dr. Walli Khan, is given a sea chest belonging to one Margaret Wallace ... along with the charge to get the belongings to her family. Through a variety of contacts and circumstances, he manages to do so. He also ends up with her diaries about being a physician in the Crimea and India.

Rabbani's research into the time periods and cultures is impeccable. I was drawn into Margaret's journals and experiences from the very first moment Walli and his wife start reading the stories and found myself a tiny bit frustrated when the book was over! The tale has a rather open ending, and I want to know what happens next!

The ePub edition, which I read, had some editorial problems in the last 20 percent or so, with double words and double letters within words appearing. It was a little distracting, but did not detract from my overall enjoyment of the book.

Lovers of historical fiction will find much to enjoy here.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: leela soma on July 26, 2010 : star star star star star
This is historical fiction at its best. Waheed Rabbani has woven a wonderful story set within two time frames that keep the reader hooked.The love story is interspersed with a tight plot of intrigue and conflict that makes this book a page turner. The characters come alive. I look forward to the next book in this 'Azad Trilogy'.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Faith L. Justice on June 15, 2010 : star star star star star
An epic adventure spanning generations and continents.

Doctor Margaret's Sea Chest is the first book in a sprawling epic trilogy by Waheed Rabbani. The story in this debut novel spans over a hundred years and half the world; from mid-1960's India to pre-Civil War America. But the story always returns to the themes of freedom—national, personal, and gender. We have national struggles for independence, slaves being transported along the "Underground Railroad" from the U.S. to Canada, and the struggle of one young woman to fulfill her destiny and become a doctor.

It starts with the story of Dr. Walidad Sharif, an American doctor living in Delhi for a year—"giving back" to his family's country for his good fortune. The reader gets a beautiful evocation of the city—its architecture, culture, history, poverty, and diversity—through Dr. Sharif's encounters with staff and his extended family. I loved the intimate details of different cultures: greetings, clothes, food. I could smell the curry and see the dancing girl at a family gathering. Dr Sharif learns of his own families' involvement in the famous Indian "Mutiny" of 1857 (also known as India's First War of Independence) through his grandfather's journal.

But at the heart of this visit is a mystery: an unopened sea chest belonging to an American lady doctor (it's unknown whether she's from the US or Canada) who was a missionary in India during the rebellion. She disappeared and no one knows her fate. Dr. Sharif is tasked with finding her heirs (if they exist) and returning the sea chest to them when he returns home. But the existence of the artifact has caught the attention of the Soviet KGB who attempt to steal it. And when he accomplishes his mission, Dr. Sharif gets a visit from the CIA.

The historical action then turns to the owner of the sea chest: Dr. Margaret Wallace. Through her diaries we follow her yearning as a girl and young woman to become a physician (against the wishes of her family and society), her romance with her handsome Canadian cousin (against the wishes of both their families), and her subsequent trip to India via the Crimea War and the Charge of the Light Brigade. By the end, some questions are answered, but not all, setting the reader up for the second book in the trilogy.

Waheed Rabbani brings his own international experience to this sweeping story: born in India; educated in Pakistan, England and Canada; he grew up reading Victorian and Edwardian literature; drawn to the stories of the British Raj and India's struggle for independence. His take on this story from India's point of view is refreshing and entertaining.

Reviewed by Faith L. Justice, author "Selene of Alexandria" available on Smashwords
(reviewed the day of purchase)

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