Read Goddess of Fire by Bharti Kirchner Online


A remarkable novel of a humble village girl who became one of the most powerful women in India.Rampore, India, 1684. About to be burned alive on her late husband’s funeral pyre, 17-year-old widow Moorti is rescued from a gruesome fate by a passing British merchant. Thus begins an extraordinary love story and incredible journey as the humble village girl Moorti transforms hA remarkable novel of a humble village girl who became one of the most powerful women in India.Rampore, India, 1684. About to be burned alive on her late husband’s funeral pyre, 17-year-old widow Moorti is rescued from a gruesome fate by a passing British merchant. Thus begins an extraordinary love story and incredible journey as the humble village girl Moorti transforms herself into Maria, becoming one of the most powerful women in India.Starting a new life as a lowly kitchen maid, she relies on her wits and resourcefulness to rise through the ranks of the British East India Company to eventually become founder of the great city then known as Calcutta, the first city of the British Empire.A tale of adventure, danger, hardship and heartbreak, excitement and romance, this is the enthralling tale of a truly remarkable woman, where fiction meets fact....

Title : Goddess of Fire
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780727885500
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 288 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Goddess of Fire Reviews

  • WhiskeyintheJar/Kyraryker
    2019-03-09 06:36

    3.5 stars****Full Review****I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.In 1600s India, Moorti has some contentious beliefs, starting with how she doesn't think she should be burned on the pyre with her husband. Job Charnock, an Englishman with the East India Company, steps in to rescue her and changes the course of Moorti's life. Given a new name, Maria, she sees it as a rebirth and works to better her life and protect her homeland and people. It's a tumultuous time but Maria's inner strength will build bridges, create a family, and found a city. Goddess of Fire is a fictional account of real life characters and events. Job Charnock was a real historical figure who worked for the East India Company and is thought to have founded Calcutta (now known as Kolkata). He was also married to a Hindu widow, who he allegedly saved from a funeral pyre and renamed Maria. The story's foundation is these truths but changes the known narrative and instead is told from Maria's point of view, a view unknown by history. The author's artistic license takes the reader on a journey of racism, classism, redemption, and humanity at its best and worst.  "The day after my husband died, my brother-in-law and his son came to my door. They dodged the copper bowl I had thrown at them and dragged me by the wrists to the funeral pyre." We are introduced to our heroine when she is only 17 yrs old; she hasn't left her village and as a consequence is very naïve about people and the world in general. When Job, her rescuer, renames her Maria, it is obvious she has some misgivings about losing her identity, especially with Anglicizing her name but goes along with it as she sees it as a chance to better herself; a theme that continues throughout the book. There is always a drive and desire in Maria but as she gains age and experience, she starts to push more and take her feelings about right and wrong more seriously. It's a humbling look at the innocence and excitement of youth and the greed and cynicism of the real world mashed together. The author uses Maria's inexperience to get explanations from secondary characters that really are cleverly described to help the reader but it also clogged the story at times, as focusing closer on characters would have been more intimate but you do get a broader, expansive look at 1600s India. "They get so much from here, but they treat us like…" Job Charnook or as he is referred to mostly in the story, Job Shaib, is for the most part a non-entity, until the last 30%, in the story. Maria's feelings for him are clearly hero worship and they have very few and very far in-between interactions, their relationship doesn't truly get going until around the 60% mark. This story is about Maria growing up, navigating the world, and trying to create a harmonious relationship between the East India Company and her people. Maria forms close relationships with the male kitchen crew she works with and a fellow servant Teema. Through these interactions we witness her optimism with working with the English and how the other characters with their life experience try to warn her about how the English really view them. Job rescued her and embraces some of her culture but towards the end of the story, Maria begins to see that some of her hero worship is misplaced, life experience.  "I wanted to shout out about the injustice, but a woman wasn't allowed to express her feelings publicly." The writing is lush with its description of India's landscape, people, and culture but also slips into unnecessary recitation at times that slowed the pace down. Most of the story's pace was moderate as we follow Maria through her everyday struggles but the last 30% of the story moved at an incredibly quick speed, skipping months and years; it left the story feeling unbalanced. From the title, to the cover, and the way the reader follows Maria, I thought and for the most part, this felt and was a capable narrative on a woman's struggle, survival, and journey to the top. It starts with Moorti rejecting the custom of widows burning with their husbands and ends with Maria becoming second in command for the East India Company in Calcutta. However, when Maria goes back to her village to visit her family she finds her mother and father dead and her brothers kidnapped and sold into virtual slavery (we later learn their horrific fate), due to reasons associated with her rejecting the pyre. All of her family's misfortune seems to be linked to her rejecting the "natural" order of things and sends a very mixed message, whether this was intended or not, and one I wasn't comfortable with.  Overall, this story definitely had its compelling moments and even though there is only a sprinkling of true historical accounts throughout, more stories from women's point of views and cultures outside of western need to be told more often. Seeing the first spark of Maria's inner fire and watching her finally be able to set it ablaze was an engaging journey.

  • Jeannie Zelos
    2019-03-21 05:14

    Goddess of Fire , Bharti KirchnerReview from Jeannie Zelos book reviewsGenre:  Romance, Historical, Women’s fiction,  I love books that reveal the minutiae of daily life of other cultures, and those set in historical times and here I got a good dose of both. I really enjoyed this story, fictional but based around real events and people. It kept me engrossed to the end, feeling for Moorti right from the start and just hoping things went her way in the end. Moorti, just seventeen and about to be burned as per traditions at the time, when wives were burned alive along with their dead husbands. Its a horrible thought, Moorti hadn’t wanted to be married, and certainly didn’t want to die and yet seemed to have no way out. Just as the fire is lit though and she’s crying out for help the ship Job is on arrives and he rescues her. He takes her back to the Factory, the English trading post he runs. He’s fervently loyal to the English and yet has taken to India really well, encompassing himself in the culture where possible. He had a fascinating story that resulted in him coming to India. He arranges employment for Moorti, and changes her name to Maria. Of course he’s her hero, tall and handsome and her saviour, how could he be anything else? She desperately wants to help him succeed and she longs to be closer to him, and to be more than just another servant. She’s clever and ambitious and starts to pick up the English language. Job arranges for her to have lessons, and from there the journey that will end with them together begins. Its not a smooth journey, there are dangers, things they both have to learn and adapt to and Job isn’t always an easy person to be with. When the English shipping Fleet – single ladies looking for husbands – arrives I so felt for her. She’s got little personal belongings, worn plain saris, no beautiful adornments, and of course she’s simply a servant, regarded by most of the English as a kind of necessary but unwanted presence....set against the English ladies with their silks and jewels she thinks how can she compete? She’s scared Job will be swept up by one of them and I so felt for her here.Its a fascinating read, mixing facts with fiction to give the reader a story that feels so real. I love the day to day events, the people we met, the way things aren’t prettied up and we see how hard daily life is for so many of the Indians, how their lives are changed by the foreigners, how their beliefs fit into what they do each day. India is in a time of change and we know what happened now, but at the time they could only guess, and do what they thought they could to protect themselves. In reality with the regions controlled by Princes there wasn’t much the average person could do expect hope. I enjoyed seeing the way both the English and the Indians looked upon the events and of course once Maria is with Job her views are torn. She works for the English and yet she sees her countrymen suffering, and she’s so incredible that she forges a way forward to try to help both sides, at personal risk to herself much of the time. Towards the end there are some events that were heart-breaking and I really really felt for her. It seemed all her help, all her love, all the things she’d worked so hard for were for nothing. Still, there’s a twist of course, and I was fooled.  Stars: Five, a wonderful look into history and India.  ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

  • Nelda Brangwin
    2019-03-04 07:26

    I had trouble connecting with the story line of this story. It just seemed so implausible that a poor widow could become so important to a British leader of the British East India company. But if you aren’t familiar with the Indian custom of sati, the widow being burned along with her dead husband, you’ll have your eyes opened in this book. While the story seems contrived, Kirchner has used the story line to highlight the challenges faced by Indian employees in the 1700’s when Britain took control of India.

  • Viviane Crystal
    2019-03-01 04:27

    As Indian custom dictates, 17 year-old Moorti awaits being forced to join her husband’s funeral pyre in the practice commonly known as Sati. There she will be burned. If she were to refuse, she would literally be considered a “non-person,” dead to all. Moorti’s young blood and intelligence know better but how does one breach the custom and tradition of thousands of years? In a vividly frightening scene, Moorti is placed on the pyre with her husband and the fire is added to her area. Before she can realize what is happening, she sees a white man approaching. Not only does he approach, but he actually forces his way toward her and rescues her from the funeral pyre. Imagine her reaction. Then imagine her fear when she realizes she has defied tradition and is truly a woman without a home or respect.Job Charnock takes Moorti to safety, where she lives as a servant amid the English traders. Although she’s certainly grateful, she is bored and develops an interest in learning English. In the meantime, Job shows Moorti nothing but respect and affection, even at times stopping others from abusing her. This then is the story of two momentous happenings, both very gradually evolving. The first is that Job and Moorti fall in love with each other. This at first must not be publically shown, for it would place Job’s job in jeopardy. At the same time, he knows that Moorti is a useful peer in their job of obtaining trade deals in the middle of what is fierce competition. But how will she be accepted by the Indian trade leaders?Goddess of Fire is based on real characters, especially Job Charnock. The novel reflects the prejudices and fierce conflicts between Indians and white traders, while at the same time profiting from each other. It is only the latter bond that keeps the white traders alive but treachery and extinction are also possible from their own people. The beginning of one transaction that could change everything for Job is smoothed into reality by the bargaining and language skills that have made Moorti into the respected and equal partner in the trading world. Money and trade do rule the day! The romance side of this story is compelling reading as well!Nicely told historical fiction, Bharti Kirchner!

  • Mirella
    2019-03-24 10:25

    One of the most reprehensible customs of old India is the practice of Sati. This is where a widow, no matter the age, is forced by family (usually the deceased husband's relatives) to throw herself upon the burning pyre while her husband is being cremated. This is how GODDESS OF FIRE opens. As 17 year-old Moorti is about to be placed upon her husband's funeral pyre, she is rescued by an Englishman named Job, an English trader. They escape the village and Moorti enters a new life, one that is filled with hard work and poor surroundings. She is passionate about learning English and son, Job falls in love with her, and she enters a new, more exciting, more privileged life. But this too, brings great risk for the couple because of racial and cultural prejudices. The best part about this book is that Goddess of Fire is based on real characters. It makes a strong statement about the prejudices and turmoil between the English and Indians while giving readers a detailed glimpse into the more exotic India of old as the nation and its people must come to terms with tumultuous changes set aflame by English traders. Thank you to the author and publisher. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  • Verse
    2019-03-17 04:22

    Kirchner deals with the Sati issue in this book. Although, her characters are partly true and partly imaginary, the writer manages to bring an amount of honesty in the narrative. It is possible to imagine the horrors suffered by a widow in those times. Job Charnock may or may not have founded Calcutta as some accounts have recently claimed but his characterization as a dour man, who rescued a young widow from her husband's pyre, is fascinating.An East India Company employee, Charnock, married the young widow and adapted himself to local customs. History supports that account.For those interested in reading about the Sati issue and other events at that time, Goddess of Fire makes an interesting read.

  • Elizabeth Bober
    2019-03-16 10:22

    The stakes and the story are fascinating - the rise of a young woman saved from a religiously decreed death to a powerful woman in India on the edge of colonialism. Unfortunately, the writing is dispassionate and clunky which makes the story slow going. I'd be willing to give this author another shot with one of her future novels. Her ability to build a story and weave plot is phenomenal.

  • Cris
    2019-03-22 08:21

    I picked up this book because the description sounded interesting. I did not, sadly, find the actual book interesting.It may have been personal taste, but I found the writing style to be off-putting and strangely dispassionate considering the story is told in first-person and opens in a life-and-death situation.

  • Robin
    2019-03-02 02:21

    Wonderful novel. Set in 1600's India. A romanticized story of one of India's most powerful women of history. Defied custom, gender roles and expectations Moorti grows from one considered worthless by custom to a place of honor, respect and love.

  • Marianne Peksa
    2019-03-22 10:26

    I enjoyed the book much more than expected. The story took you to the time when India was being discovered by the Dutch and English Trading Companies. It was interesting to read about the customs at that time period.

  • Samurdhi
    2019-03-02 06:34

    Loved the portrayal of the main character and her character development from the Sati to being the 'Goddess'. An amazing read into the history of the colonial India, it's politics, society and culture with a love story of two individuals who both demand equality and nothing less.

  • Tuscany Bernier
    2019-03-26 02:09

    I loved this book! It was a great book of fiction that regularly featured the idea of Bangla and the story of the guy in charge of the British East Indian Company. It was vibrant and interesting. Can't wait for her next book!

  • Kookie
    2019-03-06 03:31

    3.5. Some of the plot devices were dumb and obvious but the story was solid and the characters were compelling.

  • Gerrie
    2019-03-08 02:09

    3.5 out of 5 stars

  • Raju Rao
    2019-03-10 04:15

    Well written and interesting .