The Goddess and the Thief by Essie Fox: A Review!

Uprooted from her home in India, Alice is raised by her aunt, a spiritualist medium in Windsor. When the mysterious Mr Tilsbury enters their lives, Alice is drawn into a plot to steal the priceless Koh-i-Noor diamond, claimed by the British Empire at the end of the Anglo-Sikh wars.

Said to be both blessed and cursed, the sacred Indian stone exerts its power over all who encounter it: a handsome deposed maharajah determined to claim his rightful throne, a man hell-bent on discovering the secrets of eternity, and a widowed queen who hopes the jewel can draw her husband's spirit back.


In the midst of all this madness, Alice must discover a way to regain control of her life and fate... 

Maharajah Duleep Singh outside Osbourne House

Remember, death is but a charade, a thinly veiled door to enlightened lives where we are reborn and joined in bliss with those who have passed to The Other Side. The material and immaterial are never truly parted but bound by an invisible cord, delicate but immutable, linking the realms of the living and dead...those souls who exist in both Heaven and Earth.

Do you believe in other worlds, of lives ever after, of heavens on earth? My ayah did, and from her lips, there dripped such honeyed promises. One tale there was she used to tell, and I heard it so often that, even now, I recall her every word by heart... 


Far, far away, my heart's dearest, is a palace atop of Mount Kailash where Shiva lives in perfect bliss with his goddess bride, Parvati. But, there was a time, long years before, when Shiva loved another:  a woman made of mortal flesh whose name was Sati, Perfect wife.

 Sati adored Lord Shiva. She worshipped the ground on which he walked. But her happiness was blighted when her father refused to accept the fact that his daughter, a lady of radiant beauty, should have wed the god who was uncouth, with his long braided hair which was never combed, and his dirty flesh so often clothed in nothing but stinking animal skins.

 
 Essie Fox

Essie Fox divides her time between Windsor and Bow in the East End of London. Before taking up writing, Essie worked as an illustrator-designing greetings cards, gift wrap and decorative ceramics. Before that she worked in a Dickensian office in Bloomsbury’s Museum Street, as an editorial assistant by the publishers, George Allen & Unwin. 

 Her debut novel, The Somnambulist, was selected for the Channel 4 Book Club and was shortlisted in the New Writer of the Year category of the 2012 National Book Awards. Her follow-up was Elijah's Mermaid a novel in keeping with her dark Victorian Gothic theme. Now, she gives us her third and latest, 'The Goddess and the Thief.'

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Woven within the pages of 'The Goddess and the Thief' is the mysticism of Hindu Mythology juxtaposing the spirituality of the essence of reincarnation for Alice, her Aunt Mercy, and Mr. Lucian Tilsbury. Those are the main characters you will meet almost immediately through the letters of Alice's dead mother and through the thoughts of Alice herself. One of the aspects that makes 'The Goddess and the Thief' not only unique by its nature of the storyline and the plot are the written thoughts of Hindu Goddess Shiva and Pravati cleverly placed throughout this two-part gem of a masterpiece!  Background characters are always there as well taking up space in the ether to support the subplot; thus, making for mesmerizing reading. 

'The Goddess and the Thief' begins in 1843 India to the Great Exhibition in London, England, in 1851 with appearances throughout by Prince Albert and Queen Victoria, as well as Maharajah Duleep Singh. It wouldn't be Victorian Britain without her majesty Queen Victoria now would it?  I found these chapters to be some of my favorites learning about the friendship between Victoria and the maharajah.  The beautiful love between Shiva and Pravati was new to me and I really enjoyed reading the underlying aspects of reincarnation the author weaves into Alice's storyline. Always a wonderful occurrence to come upon an aspect of a novel where you find yourself curious to learn more about another culture.

Already well familiar with Essie Fox's novels, having read the first two: The Somnambulist and Elijah's Mermaid, I was not prepared to become so entwined in every aspect of  'The Goddess and the Thief.' Author, Essie Fox, has once again chosen a part of her research that sparks an interest and pursues it with abundance. Luckily for her readers.  Focusing on a well-known jewel the Koh-i-nor Diamond, a few s√©ances, two troubled families and a few secrets they would prefer left hidden, I cannot urge you enough to read  'The Goddess and the Thief' for yourself.  This is a surreal and spiritual story so beautifully written and told so cleverly that you will not be able to put it down!

Thank you so much to Orion Publishing and Essie Fox for providing me with an uncorrected proof. 
 The Goddess and the Thief by Essie Fox is due out in the U.K. on 5 December, 2013 by Orion Publishing. 

It is available on Amazon UK 

For Essie Fox's author page go to Orion Publishing

Essie runs a gorgeous blog as well, http://virtualvictorian.blogspot.com/

Comments

Pamela Britley said…
What a fascinating book. Thank you for a wonderful review. You make it very intriguing! I just found your blog and love the Victorian era.
Kimberly Eve said…
Hi Pamela,
Welcome, I hope you enjoy The Goddess and the Thief as much as I did! Thanks for stopping by and commenting.