If You Like….

If you like The Betrayal of the Blood Lily for its Indian setting, you’ll probably also like….

Sharpe’s Triumph and Sharpe’s Fortress, set in 1803, at Assaye and at Gawilghur;

— Thalassa Ali’s A Singular Hostage, set in the 1830s;

— M.M. Kaye’s Shadow of the Moon and The Far Pavilions, one set during, the other set after 1857;

— Valerie Fitzgerald’s Zemindar, also set during 1857;

— Katharine Gordon’s Peacock Quartet, if you can find it used (a sweeping saga set in late nineteenth century India that enthralled me when I was in my teens);

— Barbara Cleverly’s Joe Sandilands mysteries, set in 1920s India, starting with The Last Kashmiri Rose;

— Julia Gregson’s East of the Sun, also set in 1920s India;

— M.M. Kaye’s three part autobiography, chronicling her childhood in and return to India;

— the memoirs of the Maharini of Jaipur, A Princess Remembers;

— and the classics: A Passage to India and the Raj Quartet.

What are your favorite India-set novels?

(For non-fiction on colonial India, you can find some of the books I used to research Blood Lily listed here.)


  1. Joanne M. on September 12, 2011 at 9:53 am

    Thank you so much for this detailed list! I’m busy taking notes. I don’t have many to add as your list is pretty thorough; I enjoyed Deanna Raybourn’s Dark Road to Darjeeling and I have Elle Newmark’s The Sandalwood Tree on my TBR. I can highly recommend the M. M. Kaye books (fantastic) and Valerie Fitgerald’s Zemindar (one of my all-time favorites). While Trade Wind by M. M. Kaye is not an Indian setting, it’s still a lush, exotic setting that I think Blood Lily fans would enjoy.

  2. Tracie on September 12, 2011 at 10:38 am

    I can’t believe that I’ve never read any M.M. Kaye novels. I need to rectify that immediately!

    If we’re talking about romance/adventure stories set in India, then I feel I must recommend the wonderful Jodhaa Akbar (it’s a film, not a book.) It stars Bollywood superstars Aishwarya Rai and Hrithik Roshan, who are gorgeous to look at and have amazing chemistry.

    JA tells the story of a Mughal emperor and a Hindu princess in 16th-century India who are joined in a pre-arranged marriage and fall in love despite their many differences. It is a beautiful, epic story with stunning scenery and costumes. The film can be found at Netflix (it’s almost four hours long, so rent it on a night when you can turn off your phone, curl up with some popcorn, and lose yourself in this exotic, engrossing world.)

  3. Hannah on September 12, 2011 at 11:47 am

    The Duke of Shadows by Meredith Duran takes place partly in India.

  4. Nicole N on September 12, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    H. M. S. Surprise, Patrick O’Brian’s third Aubrey/Maturin novel, is set in India. I think any fans of Penelope would probably enjoy the character Diana Villiers.

  5. Georgia on September 12, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    Another good one is Dark Road to Darjeeling by Deanna Raybourn.

  6. Georgia on September 12, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    On a more modern India timeline, I love Rushdie’s India set books, and the musicality he infuses into his prose -Moor’s Last Sigh, Midnight’s Children, The Ground Beneath Her Feet.

  7. Julie L. on September 12, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    Two more: Olivia and Jai by Rebecca Ryman that takes place in late 1840’s India and Not Quite a Husband by Sherry Thomas, set in 1897 at the time of the Indian Mutiny in the Swat River Valley. Great story with some harrowing moments.

  8. Trinity on September 12, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    Shalimar by Rebecca Ryamn – it’s a great novel.

    Set in the late 19th century, in the remote northern outreaches of the British Indian empire, Shalimar is an epic love story set amidst the lush Kashmir mountains and the intrigue of the Great Game. Emma Wyncliffe is a disaffected, 23- year-old British woman living with her family in Dehli. She is fiercely independent, willful, and intelligent. It is not until her younger brother, a soldier in the Northern forces, suffers heavy debts, that Emma is forced into a marriage to Damien Granville, a man with dangerous secrets who is rumored to be a spy. It is Emma’s search for the truth, and Emma’s search for love, that comprise the narrative of this grand novel set along India’s fabled Silk Road — the trade route between the West and China.
    More »

  9. Sheila on September 12, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    I didn’t realize the Sharpe books are set at the same time. They are published out of chronological order, which can be most annoying, but I think done due to reader demand for more Sharpe. I’ll be thinking of this when I re=read.

  10. Suzanne on September 12, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    One of my favorite books of all-time is Victoria Holt’s The India Fan which is partially set in India during the Sepoy Rebellion.

  11. SusanN on September 12, 2011 at 9:01 pm

    I’ve read a number of the books you noted, but not all. Will have to follow up on the ones I wasn’t familiar with. I have a lot of books about India –fiction and non-fiction—in my TBR pile. There just never seems to be enough time!

    Zemindar must be my all-time favorite. I still have my hardcover I got from a book club (Literary Guild?) when it first came out many, many years ago. It made me want to read more on the Mutiny, including Christopher Hibbert’s highly readable The Great Mutiny.

    Also enjoyed Victoria Holt’s The India Fan and Meredith Duran’s The Duke of Shadows.

  12. Gillian on September 12, 2011 at 9:35 pm

    More in the YA genre, but the Iron Ring by Lloyd ALexander is a very favorite book set in India about a prince forced to go on a mysterious quest to save his kingdom and the girl he loves.

    I just picked up The Dark Road to Darjeeling by Deanna Raybourn, and can’t wait to start reading it. I also really enjoyed the Far Pavillions by M.M Kay,especially the old 80’s PBS movie version.

    Can’t wait to find out what the contest for the new ARC’s will be…?

  13. Leslie on September 13, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    Olivia & Jai is a fantastic book!
    The sequel is pretty good too, though I can’t remember the title. Does anyone know Rebecca Ryman’s true idenity?

  14. Liz C on September 14, 2011 at 2:03 am

    The Marriage Bureau for Rich People by Farahad Zama is set in contemporary Vizag (coast city near Hyderabad.) Think “No 1 Ladies Detective Agency”, but about a marriage bureau. Romantic, funny, really great characters. The first book is available in the US, but the next two books have only been published in the UK.

    Another great book is “The Englishman’s Cameo” by Madhulika Liddle, which was published in India, but can be tracked down online. Basically a mystery set in Delhi during the time of the Mughals. Tracie mentioned the film Jodhaa Akbar*, and this is set roughly in the same era.

    (*and really, anyone who likes romances and is interested Indian settings needs fill up their netflix queue with some Hindi-Tamil-Telugu flicks immediately.)

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