Book Review: ‘In Search of Amrit Kaur’ by Livia Manera Sambuy

Exploring the Enigma of Amrit Kaur: A Captivating Royal Odyssey


Book Title: In Search of Amrit Kaur
Author: Livia Manera Sambuy
Publisher: Chatto & Windus
Number of Pages: 352
ISBN: 978-1784741204
Date Published: Jan. 24, 2023
Price: INR 537

In Search of Amrit Kaur by Livia Manera Sambuy Book Cover

Book Review

In Search of Amrit Kaur” by Livia Manera Sambuy is a fascinating and engaging book that tells the story of the author’s quest to uncover the truth about a mysterious Indian princess.

Luxury, extravagance, and mystery — this potent blend creates an enduring fascination around royalty, captivating scholars, researchers, and the typical reader. “In Search of Amrit Kaur” possesses all the elements of a bittersweet tale of royalty, yet it is laden with numerous unexpected twists and intricate pathways.

In 2007, Livia Manera Sambuy, an Italian writer, stumbled upon a photograph of Amrit Kaur, the solitary daughter of the former Maharaja of Kapurthala, Jagatjit Singh, in a Mumbai museum. The accompanying caption narrated a remarkable account: Amrit Kaur, accused of selling her jewelry to aid Jews in escaping the clutches of occupied Paris, was arrested by the Gestapo. Subsequently, she was dispatched to a concentration camp, where she met her demise within a year.

The sheer incredibility of this narrative, coupled with its prolonged concealment, sparked Sambuy’s curiosity. Initiating an exploratory expedition, she uncovered many astonishing revelations along the way. Moreover, her path intertwined with enlightening encounters with Bubbles, Amrit Kaur’s octogenarian daughter. Ultimately, the author unveiled a truth that exceeded the boundaries of fiction.

Manera Sambuy is intrigued by this story and decides to find out if it is true. She travels to India, England, and France, tracking the princess’s family, friends, and acquaintances. She also delves into the history of the British Raj, the diamonds and sapphires of the twentieth-century aristocracy, and the lives of extraordinary figures: bankers, jewelers, explorers, and spies.

As Manera Sambuy’s investigation progresses, she uncovers a more complex and nuanced story than initially heard. The princess was not the simple heroine of the photograph caption. She was a tough woman with her flaws and contradictions. She was also a victim of the times in which she lived, a time of great upheaval and change.

In Search of Amrit Kaur” is a fascinating and well-written book that tells a compelling story. It is also a moving meditation on the nature of truth, memory, and history. Manera Sambuy is a gifted writer with a keen eye for detail. She brings the princess to life in all her complexity and paints a vivid picture of the world she inhabits.

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Manera Sambuy does an excellent job of balancing the personal and historical aspects of the story. She brings the princess to life through her interviews with her family and friends. Still, she also provides a detailed context for the princess’s life, setting it against the British Raj, World War II, and Indian nationalism. The book contains fascinating details about the princess’s life, from her childhood in a luxurious palace to her time in occupied Paris.

Manera Sambuy also does a great job of weaving together the different strands of the story, from the princess’s relationships to the more significant historical events that shaped her life. The book is also a moving meditation on the nature of truth, memory, and history. Manera Sambuy explores how we can ever know the truth about someone’s life, especially when that person is from a different time and culture. She also shows how our biases and desires can shape our memories of the past.

This book is a must-read for anyone interested in history, biography, or women’s stories. It is a beautifully written and deeply researched work that will stay with you long after reading it.

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