I read this book precisely 10 years ago. Ever since Lakshman and Priscilla Hart remained with me. It was 10 years after I thought of reading this book again for I knew I would be able to understand the underlying emotions much better now. Why did Priscilla Hart , a 24 year old American girl die? Was she at the wrong place at the wrong time? Though there is the element of ' Who dunnit?', it has been portrayed not with the shrewd eyes of a sleuth but with a heart with full of emotions.
Priscilla came to India when she was a little girl. Her dad was a Coco Cola executive. Though she had to leave India after some time, she left her heart and soul there only to return after a couple of years. She volunteered a population control programme in Zalilgarh in Uttarpradesh, a place completely marred by the riots. She gets acquainted with the District Magistrate Lakshman and slowly the acquaintance leads to love. Their love blossomed and they romantic encounters progressed in an abandoned Kotli.
But Lakshman was married and was in charge of the riot marred city. He could not leave his wife ( though he knew that he was not in love with her) and his little daughter. But he knew that Priscilla is the love of his life – with whom his life again bloomed. But he could not leave his daughter whom he loved the most.
But ending everything Priscilla was about to leave for her country, the fate struck its hardest blow. Her name was included among the eight people who were killed in the riot that broke out in Zalilgarh. She was found dead in the same Kotli where she loved her Lakshman. The story slowly unravels the mystery of her death. Apart from narrating a beautiful story, Tharoor has portrayed true India. Hence it is a beautiful love story told in the backdrop of the history of riot -torn country.
My rating is 4/5