Doctor Margaret’s Sea Chest
A two-track story, Doctor Margaret’s Sea Chest tracks the life of Margaret Wallace and her quest to become a female doctor in the 1850s, and Dr. Wallidad Sharif, a male doctor in the 1960s, who is working in Delhi. At the end of his contract, Dr. Walli is asked to return an old sea chest to America that has been sitting abandoned in the hospital for one hundred years. Walli’s subsequent adventures in returning the chest provides a historical look at the Cold War era and the unraveling of Margaret’s story though her journals and family history provides an intriguing look at life in 1800s, particularly the 1857 Sepoy Mutiny and the place of women in that period.
Rabbani’s writing is evocative in many places and a pleasure to read. His details of India and the period bring it to life for modern readers, providing insights to the culture and events that shape modern India. The action-adventure part of the story, while entertaining, is more James Bond-ish than the rest of the book, and isn’t as compelling as Margaret’s tale of pursuing her medical dreams against opposition from her family and society. The theme of freedom resonates throughout, both at a national level – India and Canada’s pursuit of independence, the American slave trade, and Margaret’s personal search for freedom in her life. Well-crafted and first in a planned series.
|Page Count||436 pages|
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