The Secrets of the Tea Garden

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 06 Dec 2018

Member Reviews

really enjoyed this. it made a change from my always reading the same genre books. although i haven't read any of the other books in the series i manged to keep up.; it is not needed to read the others but i personally would.
great story. praise to author
Was this review helpful?
I have loved this series of books. by Janet MacLeod Trotter. So when The Secrets of the Tea Garden
came available to read I just had to read it. 
WoW..........Just beautifully written throughout and you feel like you're living the story. These books are full of great interesting characters and wonderful places. Plus, great for a holiday read.

I highly recommend this wonderful author and looking for to and hoping to read another book in this series.

5 big Stars 

Big Thank you to Netgalley for letting me read this wonderful book.........I loved it.
Was this review helpful?
I've loved all the books in this series and this one did not dissapoint. I highly recommend this author to fans of historical fiction especially having to do with the British occupation of India. 

I would like to thank Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book free of charge. This is my honest and unbiased opinion of it.
Was this review helpful?
I loved this book. My expectations were pretty low, but the author did a phenomenal job of writing an historical novel with decent character development. I can't say I loved all the characters...I wanted more, but the events and wondering where it would all land kept me engaged.
Was this review helpful?
“Libby watched the golden liquid being poured into the china cups which she helped hand around. She picked up hers and inhaled the steamy scent. The tea smelled of mango and papaya. Libby closed her eyes and sipped. Instantly, the heat and vivid colours of the tea garden were conjured up ..”

I thoroughly enjoyed this sojourn to India - wonderful historical fiction. Although listed as part of a series, I have not previously read any and found it to be fine as a standalone read. Of course, some characters are carried over and many other reviewers enjoyed visiting ‘old’ friends, so it may be worth investigating. The series involves families who were either born in India or had roots back in England. This particular volume revolves around the partition of India in 1947. 

In the dying days of colonial rule, this book portrays the vestiges of the British Empire in India with a small smattering of white opinions set against the new and revolutionary thoughts and actions for independence. This, I found, to be the strongest aspect of the book, the turbulent political situation, was well researched, being rich in historical detail. 

The writing provides in depth accounts of place and people - sometimes a little too much detail. In my opinion, there are certain passages that went on for too long and became repetitive - there was definite room for more editing with regards to personal character plotlines and development. That being said, the larger overarching themes of Anglo-Indian relations was well done, particularly those of mixed heritage who found themselves not really belonging to either side. Even those ex-pats who had spent the majority of their life living and working in India - their struggles were likewise well portrayed. 

The exotic settings were definitely well captured and presented, particularly Calcutta and the tea growing regions of Assam. Tied in with this is a study of the type of person who could adjust to such remote living. There is an array of characters that you will have to get your head around - who belongs to which family (this may be perhaps where reading previous books in the series would be an advantage). Overall, I enjoyed the historical background of this period, the time leading up to separation and independence. 

‘What’s a real Indian, Ghulam?’ she demanded hotly. ‘Shouldn’t that include all the minorities here? Or don’t you want to think about the inconvenient ones –the Anglo-Indians like Flowers or my cousin Adela –or even the Indian-born Europeans like myself? Are we not pure enough for the new India?’
 ‘That’s not what I meant—’
‘’Cause if that’s your attitude then you are no better than the Hindu extremists who want to rid India of the Muslims and Sikhs. Because once you start excluding one group then where do you stop?’



This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.
Was this review helpful?
I have grown to love this genre in recent months and find the settings and the historical factors of the stories are just sublime.

Set in India, our main character Libby has left England and finds herself caught up in India's Independence and the racial divides of the times. 

This story is just delightful. It is a tale of love, family and all the complexities both bring
Was this review helpful?
Excellent book. I really enjoyed it. Set in the UK and in India at the time the British quit India, a dual plot line follows a group of Brits who struggle to find their ways as their home countries undergo vast change in the years immediately after WWII. In one plot line, a young woman who grew up in India returns there to re-connect with her father and urge him to return home to Britain. In a parallel plot line, a young couple newly arrived in Britain from India struggle to put past issues to rest and heal their marriage. 

This book has strong, well-developed characters and lush, well described settings. Unlike many books and television series set at this time, these British characters seem at home and comfortable living among the Hindu and Muslim Indians. The book chronicles the lives of Brits in India who genuinely loved the country and the people and struggle to find their roles and places in the country as British occupation of the country ends. The plot lines were strong and keep you guessing what will happen until the end. This is the last in a series of books, but this novel stood quite well on its own. The characters and story lines from previous books actually added depth to this book. 

Highly recommended, especially for those who liked "Indian Summers" on Amazon Prime/PBS.
Was this review helpful?
This novel's review will be published in the February 2019 issue of the Historical Novels Review (HNR) magazine. It will be updated here following publication in the HNR.
Was this review helpful?
I am very partial to a tea estate story. We have a small  tea property and have heard stories of those far off days when the British ruled our estates and the lifestyle and how they did things is engrained in Sri Lankan history. The British gave us tea estates, coffee estates, railways, an administrative system, roads all over the country, the Protestant faith and most importantly English!

The fact that I do have a McLeod amongst my relations who was a tea planter as it is called here added to my interest in this story.

I loved the story, the ramifications of its setting - the coming of Independence in India was huge, and marred by strife, death and partition of the country. Sri Lanka was nothing like this. The setting alone of Libby and Ghulam set against both religious and racial divides was huge in that era. Mixed marriages were few and far between. The story of Logan and the way he treated the local women is a commonplace issue and the heartbreak of the woman was a very sad one. Added to that the saga of the entire Robson, Logan clans amidst the other characters of the story was beautifully told.

The descriptiveness of the Assam region where the tea estates were, seemed idyllic and the lifestyle took a certain kind of woman or man to adapt to the loneliness, the insularity of the communities and knowing the rigid barriers that were in place. That some adapted and some did not, and returning to their home country did not solve their woes is also taken into account. Decades spent on an estate and then moving to Newcastle did not go down well with some. It did bode well for others.

Reading the book was nostalgic for me personally and I loved the read.
Was this review helpful?
At the end of the Great War, Libby Robson is a strong willed young woman living in Britain with her mother and brothers.  Her father James lives is India running a tea plantation.  Libby so wants to go to India and back to her childhood and her father.  Things are changing drastically in India, they are fighting for independence and want to get away from British rule. As Libby starts for her childhood home, she meets many fun, and exciting people that will challenge how she thinks and feels, especially the rugged yet handsome Ghulum Khan.  Once Libby makes it to see James she finds her father not in the best of health and comes to find he has been keeping a secret that has caused him much grief. 

Janet MacLeod Trotter has written a wonderful story of struggle and perseverance. It’s a story of family, old friends and new.  It’s a story of love and loss and how each person in the story dealt with those emotions. There is also a story within the story of the extended friends and family of the Robson’s that kept the story interesting. 

I truly enjoyed The Secrets Of The Tea Garden.  I couldn’t help but feel what each of the characters were going through and continued to hope for the best for each one. I look forward to reading another of Janet’s books.
Was this review helpful?
This was a great book that captivated me from page one.  I will definitely be reading more by this author!
Was this review helpful?
Terrific story.  Libby returns to India which she has in many ways mythologizes, just as the winds of partition are blowing in 1947.  What she finds is not what she left but there's a lot here to learn- and love to find.  This is a family story that's been winding its way here through several novels but you don't need to have read those to thoroughly enjoy this one.  You'll learn a bit about this tumultuous period - not in depth by any means and from a privileged perspective- but that to me was an added bonus.  Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.  For fans of historical fiction.
Was this review helpful?
An unusual story, set in post-WWII India, The Secrets of the Tea Garden is very sweet. 
Many thanks to NetGalley, the publisher, and the author. All opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
Amazing book. Loved it from beginning to end. 
Well written which kept me captivated throughout. 
I will definitely be reading other books by this author
Was this review helpful?
Following the life of Libby in post Second World War England, who is desperate to return to her father, who is a tea planter in India. The novel follows Libby as she arrives in India and becomes friends with activists who are supporting freedom for India. A great read with interesting historical aspects! Can't wait to read the rest of the series!
Was this review helpful?
Although this is book number 4, I've not read any of the other books in the series, which didn't affect me enjoying this one. Well researched and strong characters
Was this review helpful?
There is always something to learn when reading historical fiction and this book was no exception.  Taking place in India after WWII the stage is set for the British to leave India, the crown jewel in the Commonwealth.  It was a time of cultural and religious difference between the Hindus and the Muslims, with neither side giving an inch.  In the midst of this background we find two protagonists, Adela and Libby, with Adela living in Newcastle, England having returned from India and her cousin Libby leaving Newcastle and returning to India after an absence of so many years wanting to reunite with her father.  I have read the other books in this series, and for some reason this particular novel was so overrun with characters, I simply didn't enjoy what should have been a good read.  The background and the setting in India was more intriguing to me than the lives of Libby and Adela.  The research was impeccable and for that I praise the author.  My thanks to Netgalley for this advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
The British in India prior to and after World War II. The struggles for the Indian people for the independence amid violence among their own people and their religions. Many love stories and relationships are interwoven. I found too many characters were woven together. It was partially based on a true. Not one of my favourites.
Was this review helpful?
Great tale about the British Raj, fabulous for Paul Scott fans. Gives a real insight into the times when the British were in India, and the complexities of relationships between the Brits and Indian society.
Was this review helpful?
I absolutely loved this book. Fourth in the series, it might as well have been standalone for me as it's such a while since I've read any of the Tea series (and I think the Tea Planter's Daughter was the first book that I read on kindle!)

This is the saga of a family in India (with roots in Newcastle) - book #4 is set at the time of partition (1947). It provided me with good insights into the struggles and challenges faced by India and West and East Pakistan (now Pakistan and Bangladesh)

A strong cast of characters is lead by Libby and Adela who both have their reasons for leaving (Newcastle to return to India and vice versa). Their stories intertwine and overlap with those of their parents and friends and family. We are (re)introduced to other characters whose stories are explored in the other books in the series. But no matter, as the author is able to link the stories together (and referring to past events without labouring the stories).

An unreserved 5* from me... I was thrilled to discover this book with its insights into India, tea plantations, partitions, struggles at home and abroad and many layers of family complexity. 

I look forward to reading many more by this author.
Was this review helpful?