Summary and book reviews of A Moment Comes by Jennifer Bradbury

A Moment Comes

by Jennifer Bradbury

A Moment Comes
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  • Published:
    Jun 2013, 288 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Heather A Phillips

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Book Summary

Against the backdrop of the nearly forgotten history of the partition of India, Jennifer Bradbury, as if with strands of silk, weaves together the heart-pounding tale of three teenagers on wildly different paths, on the verge of changing each other's lives forever.

Before India was divided, three teens, each from wildly different backgrounds, cross paths. And then, in one moment, their futures become irrevocably intertwined.

Tariq. Anupreet. Margaret. As different as their Muslim, Sikh, and British names. But in one moment, their futures become entirely dependent on one another's.

While the rest of India anxiously awaits the upcoming partition that will divide the country into two separate religious states, eighteen-year-old Tariq focuses on his own goal: to study at Oxford. But for a Muslim born and raised in India, there is no obvious path to England - until Tariq is offered a job translating for one of the British cartographers stationed in India, tasked with establishing the new borders.

Margaret, the cartographer's daughter, has only just arrived in India. But already she has discovered it to be hot, loud, and dull. She can't go anywhere alone for fear of the riots and violence. Eager for a distraction, she finds one in Tariq.

But it's Anupreet, another member of the staff, who has truly captured Tariq's eye. She's strikingly beautiful - but she's a Sikh, so not someone Tariq should even be caught looking at. And yet he's compelled t

Against the backdrop of the nearly forgotten history of the partition of India, Jennifer Bradbury, as if with strands of silk, weaves together the heart-pounding tale of three teenagers on wildly different paths, on the verge of changing each other's lives forever.

CHAPTER 1

Tariq
June 3, 1947

"I know you will make us proud, Tariq," Master Ahmed calls out to me as I step onto the dusty sidewalk outside the school gates.

I stop, press my palms together, bow. "Khuda hafiz,"

"And may He guard you as well," Master Ahmed replies. "Give my best to your parents." "Shukriya."

I speed up as I round the corner and the scrubby cricket pitch. It seems like longer than a year has passed since I sat for my examinations, since I enrolled at the college. Doing nothing has a way of slowing time. The college shut down after the professors got scared and quit teaching, when both the school and the faculty became easy targets for the Sikh mobs. And with no school, with nothing changing but the way people all over Punjab seem to have gone crazy, I've felt stuck. Trapped, even.

But now. Now there is hope.

My hand sneaks into the pocket of my churidhars, just to make sure the slip of paper is still there. I have already memorized the number ...

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Reviews

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It is a testament to Jennifer Bradbury’s writing that, even when characters' actions are unlikeable, their motivations for those actions never seem inexplicable...In addition, Bradbury’s incorporation of historical people and events, such as Lady Mountbatten and the train from Amritsar, into her fictionalized narrative, lends an air of reality to the book and facilitates the reader’s immersion in the narrative. Reading A Moment Comes is an evocative, compelling experience.   (Reviewed by Heather A Phillips).

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Bradbury's story, told from the alternating points of view of the three teens, does an excellent job of creating a setting that is at once vivid and dangerous. The ending is both abrupt and improbable, but the three characters invite sympathy and will hold readers' attention to the last page. An excellent book for classroom use.

Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review. Historical fiction that brings its history to bloody, poignant life: rare and notable.

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Beyond the Book

Sikhism

Sikhism is a monotheistic religion prevalent in the Punjab region of India and Pakistan where A Moment Comes takes place. One of the main characters in the book, Anupreet, is a Sikh.

Guru NanakSikhism was founded in the 16th century by Guru Nanak. Nanak's family were Hindus, but he studied both Hinduism and Islam. This deep study, as well as Nanak's innovative thinking and talents at poetry and philosophy, were the foundations of Sikhism. Three of his most radical beliefs were that there is only one God, that every person should and could have direct access that God, and that the caste system was wrong, that everyone, regardless of caste or gender, was equal. Nine gurus who followed Nanak also helped shape Sikhism. The tenth Guru, Guru Gobind ...

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