The Star of India will be published by Penguin Random House India, May 2020
The Star of India is based on the true-life romance of rising young actress Nancy Valentine (“the next Lana Turner”) and Cambridge-educated WW2 hero, the Maharaja of Cooch Behar.
After their fated meeting in postwar Hollywood, the dashing ruler sweeps Nancy back home during India’s tumultuous run-up to Independence. Amid the power struggles of every political, royal, and religious faction, Nancy is entangled in a whirlwind of intrigue, espionage, and attempted murder. The Maharaja, known as Bhaiya by family and friends, comes under great pressure from his elegant and formidable mother, Indira of Cooch Behar, who believes his marriage to a foreigner will weaken the family’s position with their people—and make them vulnerable to a government takeover.
Amid growing opposition to the couple’s union, the state’s fabled Mughal Ruby disappears, and an ancient prophecy will shadow them all.
“This elegant novel blends the Golden Age of Hollywood with the fiery last days of India under British rule. Diana Chambers envelops readers in a world of romance and intrigue with her lush evocation of place and multi-layered depiction of the passionate relationship between an American starlet and the forward-thinking maharaja whose love for her threatens to bring his kingdom crashing down. With shades of Isak Dinesen and E.M. Forster, The Star of India anchors an intimate story within one of the most fascinating eras of the 20th century.”
—Kim Fay, Edgar Finalist for Best First Novel, The Map of Lost Memories