New Book! Introducing Put Asunder: A Period Romance

When I was about twelve years old, there were two important developments in my literary life.

Firstly, my sister (who is five and a half years older than me) found herself amidst a bunch of classmates whose favourite reading consisted of romance novels. My sister, though she never warmed to them, borrowed several dozen, a couple at a time, and brought them home. We raced through them—how long does it take to read a Barbara Cartland, after all?—and I decided, privately, that while this wasn’t great literature, at least it was no-stress reading.

Secondly, my father’s office library became accessible to us children. Since Papa’s office was in one half of our house, this basically meant that we could pop in just about whenever we liked and borrow whatever we liked. There wasn’t a single romance novel here; the fiction consisted of books by popular writers like Alistair MacLean and Louis L’Amour (I’m sure there were others too, but I remember these two, because they were my favourites)—and there was a lot of non-fiction. Books on history, on war, on animals. The Reader’s Digest book, Mysteries of the Unexplained, which had me so engrossed that I read it from cover to cover several times, even though it was a large, heavy and unwieldy tome.

And there was a book called The World’s Most Fantastic Freaks. This one contained—with accompanying black-and-white photos—biographies of famous ‘freaks’, of people with genetic defects that gave them unique features. Like the man with two faces, back and front. The Elephant Man. And more. Today, I would be appalled that deformed people, probably in great pain (if not physical, at least psychological) could become a source of entertainment for people. It would, I know (I just tried reading ‘the Elephant Man’ Joseph Merrick’s biography on Wikipedia) distress me deeply that someone should have to go through life so.

Back then, I was just plain terrified. The photos were vivid, and they stayed in my head long after I finished reading the book. So long that they haunted me at night, not letting me sleep.

In desperation, to take my mind off the horror of what I’d read, I began thinking up stories—stories far removed from anything distressing. Considering what I’d been reading alongside, these ended up being romances. Beautiful heroines, handsome heroes. Historic settings (yes, even back then, I was fascinated by history). Assured happy endings. I thought up several novels in the course of many years—in fact, the thinking up of romance novels became, till a few years back, a standard practice for me to help go to sleep. Down to dialogues, chapter breaks, everything.

Then, a couple of years back, I thought: why not actually write one? Write it, self-publish it on Kindle, see how it’s received?

So here it is, the first of the War Brides series, about women who get married during times of turmoil. Put Asunder is set during the Peninsular War, and begins just after the Battle of Talavera de la Reina. An orphaned Spanish-Irish girl, Eva is hurriedly married off by her desperate grandmother to an English officer named Michael Rheese, on the condition that Michael will get Eva to safety in England, while Eva’s grandmother provides shelter and care to Michael’s badly wounded fellow soldiers.

But Eva is to be a bride for only a few hours. As they flee for the faraway coast, riding across the countryside, Eva and Michael run into a French patrol and Michael is shot. Eva, a widow before she can even be a wife, winds up in a convent.

… and discovers, six years later, that Michael is not dead after all. When she sets off to find him, Eva must battle her own fears (will he acknowledge her? Will he turn her out?), her own extreme poverty, as well as the fact that she is beginning to find her new friend, Mr Denborough, alarmingly attractive.

Do you read historical romances? If you do, please do buy Put Asunder and read, rate/review it! And even if you don’t read romance novels yourself, but know of someone who does, pass the word around.

Put Asunder can be bought and downloaded on Kindle at Amazon Worldwide, here. It’s also available on Amazon India, here. And, if you have an Amazon site in your country, you should be able to download it in your own currency too: just search for ‘Put Asunder’ and ‘Lynn Bishop’ (that’s the pseudonym I’ve adopted for this series).

Happy reading!


23 thoughts on “New Book! Introducing Put Asunder: A Period Romance

  1. Wow! and Congratulations! Looking forward to reading your new book, but first I have to finish my grieving today! Your book will definitely help me to take my mind off this feeling of doom and gloom that pervades this country today. Thanks, Madhu!


    • Yes, I can imagine a lot of sane Americans needing a good deal of cheering up right now. Not just Americans, I think the world has a good deal to worry about. :-(

      I hope you enjoy the book, Lalitha!


    • No, I’m afraid there’s no swashbuckling involved. :-(

      And, thank you! And, as for ‘Lynn Bishop’ – well, that was the result of a long and detailed discussion with myself, followed by a long and even more detailed discussion with the members of a group I’m part of on LinkedIn. You see, I realized that may target audience for this book would be very different from the target audience for the Muzaffar Jang books. Very likely, there’d be a large number of people (mostly women), non-Indian, who would be interested in reading this. Would they be likely to want to read a book, without a single Indian character in it, set in Spain and England, and written by an Indian? I knew I would approach that with trepidation, because I’d wonder if the author really knew enough or not. I know that is the way it often works for me – I’ve come across so many non-Indian writers making embarrassing gaffes about India in their books, now I steer clear of books like that.

      Therefore Lynn Bishop. :-) It’s not as if I’m totally hiding the fact that Madhulika Liddle is the author – it’s there at the end of the book, and on the copyright page – but I’m just (hopefully) opening the book to a larger audience.


      • No worries about the buckling and swash :-)

        Re: Lynn Bishop – I understand. It’s a sad fact of the world that someone with an English name can write novels set in any part or time on the planet, but readers will look askance at any non-English name daring to do so outside their own milieu.

        All the best!

        (Meanwhile, a somewhat related experience in Khan Market.)


        • On the flip side, though, I have had too many experiences with Western writers making horrible gaffes when it comes to writing about India (A Kashmiri named Chatterjee? Chandigarh, mentioned in a book set in the early 1920s? A bride and groom ‘dancing the pheras‘?)… that now, if I tend to come across a novel set in India and written by a Westerner, I tend to think twice about reading it.

          I shall check out that link. Curious…


  2. Wow! Congrats Madhu. Like many others in this part of the world, I badly need to distract my mind to something happier and stress-free. It looks like this book would be that perfect hiding place for me!


    • Thank you, Ashish – and I know. Both America and India need a good deal of distraction right now. The US more than us, I guess. This reminds me of how I felt when Modi came to power. All one can hope is that Trump the President will step more carefully than Trump the Presidential candidate – but the problem is that his behaviour till now serves to embolden all the hate-filled, bigoted morons around. Rather like it’s happened in India.

      Try the book. :-) It’s received good reviews on Goodreads, and I think it will be distracting enough for a few hours, at least.


  3. Congratulations, Madhu! This is an amazing accomplishment. How I wish I could read your book (like others I too am desperately seeking a diversion for my shell-shocked brain) but I’m a determined luddite when it comes to books and don’t have kindle. :-( Still, wish you boundless success.


    • Thank you, Shalini. :-) I don’t have a Kindle reader either (whenever I buy an ebook, I end up reading it either on my laptop or my iPad), but I can understand people being averse to ebooks of any kind. I have friends like that. No matter; as long as I have your wishes, that makes me happy! Thank you.


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