When Sophie is suddenly orphaned at the age of six, she is taken from her parents’ tea plantation, the only home she has ever known, to be raised halfway across the world in Scotland.
As the years pass and her exotic childhood becomes a distant memory, adventurous Sophie finds refuge in her friendship with her kind, shy cousin, Tilly. It is no surprise when the girls follow each other to India to embark on new adventures, new lives and new loves.
But the reality of 1920s India is far removed from their dream: the jungles are too humid and the breathtaking tea gardens too remote. And amongst the stifling beauty, intrigue abounds; while Sophie struggles with affairs of the heart, Tilly, alone in a difficult world, delves into the mystery of Sophie’s parents’ deaths. As the past begins to darken their friendship, will long-held secrets shatter everything they’ve ever striven for?
Received this book from netgally and the publisher in exchange for an honest review this has in no way affected my opinion.
Really enjoyed reading this. It’s a well-written page turner with a good plot – romance, passion, adventure, suspense, tragedy, torn loyalties and misplaced assumptions. Some good characterisation too. You may even find yourself booing and hissing at one particularly ghastly character. And feeling just a little drawn to at least one of the young male characters. Not to mention wishing you had Tilly’s and Sophie’s sense of adventure and the nerve to head off into the unknown.
But it’s also an intelligent, vivid and well-researched (partly based on actual diaries and letters by JMT’s grandparents according to her website) look at what life was like for some of the British in India under the British Raj. Really captures some of the feel of the adventure and of the ups and downs of life. Some good descriptions too of both cities and countryside.
I also liked the bits set in Edinburgh and Newcastle and the glimpse into life for young men and women in the early 1920ies in post-war Britain.