This book has been on my reading list for a while. It was downloaded to my Kindle in the hopes of reading it on the plane to World Tea Expo but somehow that never happened. I am definitely glad that I finally had the chance to dive into it though.
In her debut novel, Shona Patel tells the story of Layla Roy, a young girl living in Assam during India’s struggle for independence. While it isn’t directly related to tea, a good portion of the plot takes place on a fictional tea plantation. The details are very historically accurate, particularly the relationships between plantation staff and the workforce.
The characters are exactly as I prefer them, flawed yet lovable at the same time. Although it could be technically categorized as a romance novel, it does not read like one. There is a love story but it’s a much more old fashioned affair than what you might expect. Part of that is due to the Hindu and Muslim cultures that play central roles in the storyline. I don’t consider that to be a bad thing at all. It was nice to read a book that doesn’t have a racy love scene added just to move more copies. You might remember that was my one complaint about The Teahouse Fire.
Overall I thought that it was an engaging and interesting read that would be enjoyed by anyone who loves tea. I finished it in seven days during my morning and evening commute to work. I must confess that I stayed up late to finish it because I just had to know how it ended.
You can find out more about this book here.