279G: Girl living in Purdah has arranged marriage (Solved)

A story about a teen or pre-teen girl from  who lives in purdah (in India, I believe) who is being prepared for marriage.  She gets pierced (ears and nose I think) and undergoes other ceremonies that are apparently traditional for a girl her age.  She belongs to a well-off family, and her father has been indulgent and somewhat spoiled her up to this point, but now a young man has been selected for her, and she is expected to assume adult responsibilities and accept this inevitable fate maturely.  I think an older female relative (aunt, or grandmother) attempts to soothe her anxieties by breaking tradition and allowing her to meet the young man–chaperoned, of course–before the ceremony.  I seem to recall the book is rather open-ended, leaving the reader with a slightly optimistic feeling that the main character may face a happy future with her prospective spouse, despite her reluctance for the whole thing.  I have a vague feeling that there were some tiger cubs were involved somehow in the story (maybe one of the outrageous gifts her father had given her?)  I can’t remember the title, but I think it had the word “Time” in it, and the girl’s name, which for some reason nags at me as having started with the letter “Y”.

5 thoughts on “279G: Girl living in Purdah has arranged marriage (Solved)

  1. I remember this one too! I think the title was “I’m Eleven. It’s Time to Prepare for Marriage, Farquhut”.

    I’m not sure about the cat’s name, but that’s who she’s addressing. I’m not quite sure of her age, and I can’t remember the author, but I can picture the cover!

    I hope this helps.

    • One thing I remembered specifically about this book was the Afterword, where the author said that the story was based on a real person’s life, and that the real girl had been married to a cousin and, as expected, gone into purdah, but with cultural and political changes — probably after World Wars I and II — had emerged from purdah later in her life.

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