Cover Image: Darjeeling Inheritance

Darjeeling Inheritance

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I love Darjeeling: it's one of my favourite places on earth. From my favourite hotel room, I can see both the Planters' Club and Keventers so reading 'Darjeeling Inheritance' was like a trip to a familiar place.  Yes, it's true that I know it 80+ years after the book is set, but it's easy to recognise the location and the atmosphere.

Charlotte is fresh back from boarding school in the UK, chaperoned on her voyage by Ada, an older woman travelling to India to marry a dull but dependable tea plantation owner. On arrival, Charlotte finds her father has just died, she has inherited his tea plantation, and her mother wants her to marry the son of the neighbouring plantation owner.  Can Charlotte take time to discover who she is and what she wants before 'settling' for life as a tea-wife?

There is absolutely nothing in this book that I couldn't have predicted after the first few pages. The plot plays out exactly as I expected, but oddly, I'm not too bothered about that. Great literature it's not, but it's a pleasant jaunt through simpler times when British plantation owners held sway and feared the influx of well-to-do Indian folk spoiling the exclusivity of their bolt-hole, and when men were men and women were supposed to be grateful. Did I entirely believe young Charlotte wanted to learn the tea making process (when she was terrified of snakes and leeches)? Not entirely, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.  And I was more than satisfied with the predicted ending.
Was this review helpful?
Set in one of my favourite time frames of modern history, the colonial Raj era in India, I was looking forward to reading the work, set in Darjeeling rather than Simla...where many tea plantation stories are set. The romance of the small hillcountry train and the steamy monsoon season bodes well.

"Darjeeling Inheritance" is really a story about family. The passing on of a legacy, loyalty amongst family set against the secrets carried between families. And how an outsider can upset this fine balance.

In 1930 Charlotte, with Ada, her chaperone, sails from England, where she has being at boarding school most of her life, back to India. Upon her arrival at the family tea plantation, she finds her beloved father, has died just a couple of days earlier. Charlotte and her father were  linked in a deep way by their love of the tea plantation. Therefore, she finds she has inherited the estate. Sadly her mother is desperate to return to England...now she is free of her husbands bond to Darjeeling. But the only way she can do this is by marrying Charlotte off to the son of the neighbouring plantation owner...or the unthinkable scenario of selling up. Poor Charlotte is between a rock and hard place.

Meanwhile Ada is not who she seems to be....now married to a steady, sensible and reliable plantation owner, who thinks he is the luckiest man in the world, she creates havoc with people's emotions and sneakily finds out their darkest secrets - then holding people to ransom with threat of exposing those secrets.

I did enjoy the picture Liz Harris painted of the natural environment....noisey birds, creepy crawlies and the constant damp of humidity, sapping energy. 

Will Charlotte follow her parents wishes or will she find her own way and truth? Is true love better than building love from friendship, based on expectation rather than passion?

At times I found the book too wordy....to full of peoples thoughts and inner narrative....I guess I was just looking for more action.  Undertones of deceit did leave me in anticipation of how the cards would finally fall and I was left guessing to the end in this respect.

I would love to read a follow up of how life progresses form Charlotte within the changing Raj era.

Thanks to NetGalley, Liz Harris and Heywood Press for the free copy in return for my opinion.
Was this review helpful?
Like all children of the British who lived and worked in India in the days of British rule, Charlotte Lawrence is sent back to England for schooling. She doesn't see her beloved home, Sundar in Darjeeling, or her parents for eleven years. She is accompanied on the ship home by a young woman a little older than herself, Ada Eastmann, who is coming to marry a local planter she met when he was visiting England. Charlotte's anticipation at getting home is crushed when she realizes her father has died just prior to her return home.

Charlotte learns from her mother, as well as her father's estate manager, Dan Fitzgerald, that her future has already been decided. Her father was hoping for her to marry Andrew McAllister, younger son (and a bit of a bounder) of Douglas McAllister, who owns an adjoining tea estate. Marriage would bind the two tea estates together, making them both stronger. Charlotte, still heavy with grief, is surprised at this development, yet her love for her late father means she must seriously consider his wishes. She reaches an agreement to slowly get to know Andrew, while she also learns all she can about the running of a tea estate from Dan. He finds her a lively and interested pupil in everything to do with the tea plantation.

Charlotte's mother puts up with this grudgingly. Why can't Charlotte marry, run the house, and have babies, as women in 1930 India are expected to do? It is interesting to hear about the social life in Darjeeling, and love's path does not go as expected.  I enjoyed this immersion into life in Darjeeling on a tea plantation in the waning days of British rule. 

Thank you to NetGalley, author Liz Harris, and publisher for allowing me to read an ARC in exchange for an honest opinion.
Was this review helpful?
1930s Darjeeling. The era was an interesting one. The British are firmly in control and intend things to stay
that way. A more liberal minded Britisher would think that giving some kind of liberty to the Indians is on
the cards but the majority do believe, very sincerely that they are a superior race and it is their views and
their opinions that count. The tide is turning however and with Gandhi on the horizon things are never going
to be the same for the British Raj.

In Darjeeling Charlotte returns from her extended boarding school stay in England to find her father dead and
her mother determined to leave India on the next boat. Persuading her mother to stay so that she will get married
and take over the reins of Sundar, the tea property bequeathed to her by her father was no easy task. Charlotte
persuades her mother that she is willing to keep an open mind to marry Andrew, because that was the wish of her
late father who wanted to join the two properties together.

What no one accounted for was that Charlotte though young and very inexperienced in life had a mind of her own and 
was determined to make her own way in Darjeeling.

The complications of the newly married Mrs. Banning making a play for Andrew, Charlotte's intended was a spoke in
the wheel for the smooth courtship that was envisaged.

The story meanders through the daily workings of a remote tea plantation with an insular tight knit community, where
gossip is rife because there is nothing else to do. Everyone's business is known if not to the other, by their
servants who pick up all the information very fast. It was a good life, an interesting one but only if you liked
the country, the flora, the fauna and the weather. Otherwise it was devastating with also a major loss of life
especially of children. 

This was a very descriptive read one of the history, then the geography of Darjeeling in the 1930s. The description
of the daily lives of both the Britishers and the Indians added a lot of interest to the story.
Was this review helpful?
1930, Charlotte returns to Darjeeling after years in boarding school and finds her father has just passed away, leaving the tea plantation and business to her. But this comes with some particular wishes her father has expressed with respect to her life. But she may have different plans...
The love Charlotte has for Darjeeling comes through in all the beautiful  and evocative descriptions of sceneries, atmospheres, seasons, scents. We learn about the tea growing, the running of the plantation, social customs through the seasons and the way of life in the 30s in this part of the world, especially for women. 
I enjoyed the atmosphere of the book and found the characters interesting and well portrayed. I found myself digging for information to go further about the tea growing and history of Darjeeling, because both are very interesting. I would have loved to find more of that information brought into this story as it would have given it an extra depth. Although the book is, in my personal opinion, more a romance than a historical fiction, it is a very enjoyable read.
Was this review helpful?
I love a period book to get lost in but I haven’t read many based in the India Tea Gardens. This book is everything you could hope for; rich scenery to immerse yourself in, well rounded, believable characters to both like and dislike and a nicely flowing story. 

Once I saw that this will be a starting point for more books by Liz Harris written in the same period I was really excited. I’ll be downloading the others.
Was this review helpful?
When Charlotte Lawrence returns to India after 11 years away at school and to Sundar in Darjeeling, the family owned tea plantation she finds that her beloved father has died and that she is now to inherit the plantation. She also learns that Andrew McAlister the younger son of the neighbouring plantation is her late Father's choice of husband, so that the two tea gardens could be merged. But this is the 1930s when women had a minor role and were meant to marry and have children! Charlotte who has really never been free to enjoy normal life outside school postphones the engagement until after the monsoon in the hope that she will be more ready for marriage all to her mother's anger as she hopes to escape India that she hates. As an only child she followed her father about the tea garden and helped him in his work so she is keen to learn about the workings of a plantation from the Assistant Manager Dan Fitzgerald, who her father had faith in and who has saved to one day set up his own tea garden. 
The feeling of the Raj and the secrets, jealousies and blackmail that exsists in this community is carefully crafted into the story. Andrew is a play boy who women adore and the newly married Ada Banning nee Eastman becomes a conquest or is she a conqueror.  Ada was Charlotte's companion on the voyage and uses Charlotte's innocence to get her own way in the situation. How the story plays out and how the "invisible" servants and drivers who live on each plantation become essential to the plot is beautifully crafted by Liz Harris. Life in the 1930s which is very different to 2021 is at the centre of the tale. A fascinating read.
Was this review helpful?
The problem with this book is that the putative villain of the story is actually rather sympathetic. She behaves badly and is clearly a mess, but she's a very understandable mess and far more interesting than the actual female lead who is just as colorless as multiple characters point out. From the synopsis, I initially thought the FL was going to be fierce and a rule breaker but actually, she just subsides into the role the ML imagines for her. In so many of these stories, misogyny walks in lockstep with the racism and it is no different here. Each of the women characters, dead or alive (or offstage and voiceless as in the case of the Indian one), is at the mercy of a patriarchal system of barter - and the male lead is a clear proponent of it which might be true to the age but certainly doesn't endear him to me as a reader.

The story itself moves at a good clip and is atmospheric - if you've never been to Darjeeling and would like a sense of what the town is like, this book is a pretty good representation of it as it lives today - Keventer's stands at the same spot as does the Planter's Club and Tiger Hill and the monastery at Ghoom and so on. It wasn't clear whether the author had ever actually been to Darjeeling though and I'll say that it does lean heavily into the "insects and snakes" trope of India which is not only outdated but also largely exaggerated.
Was this review helpful?
I received Darjeeling Inheritance from Net Galley to review. This is an epic set on the tea plantations of Darjeeling during the 1930s where British families were unconcerned about the unrest bubbling in other parts of India. This page-turning story concerns three planter families, betrayal, loss and love. Seventeen year old Charlotte returns to India from her education in England to discover her father has suddenly died and her likeable but controlling mother really wants to return to England. Her father had a hope that Charlotte would marry handsome though secretly loose-living Andrew McAllister in order to merge their estates. Charlotte delays this possible engagement until after the monsoon rains whilst she learns to run her newly inherited tea estate from estate manager Dan Fitzgerald. Also she wants to know Andrew better first. The stage is set for an absorbing story. Ada who was Charlotte’s chaperone came to India to marry Harry owner of the third tea plantation in this story. Ada has a history and she is not content to become a bridge playing memsahib at The Planters’ Club. She is also lonely and capable of betrayal.
 
The novel contains great characters and lush descriptions of the Darjeeling area. Characters do make a story for this reader and she was not disappointed. Charlotte’s mother is drawn brilliantly and she, too, has her own particular motivation for pushing Charlotte and Andrew together. Andrew grows as a responsible personality whilst Ada reminds me of a schemer from a dark fairy-tale. Again she is very well drawn. I enjoyed the servants too, the drivers and house stewards who were always watching and have their own significant role within the story. As for Charlotte, the book’s heroine. She is determined to be independent and run a tea estate. Some of her dialogue with her mother made me laugh out loud. Dan as a foil to the initially indolent Andrew is hardworking, likeable, upstanding and very patient. I loved the way motivations are explained by a character’s past, one that lies outside the novel’s narrative but which we become gradually privy to. There is, in fact, a  secret in this novel, one that remains unrevealed until the final chapter. It is a credit to the author’s plotting that I never guessed ‘who’. To conclude, this is a meticulously plotted and characterful story incredibly well researched. It’s an excellent read.
Was this review helpful?
India 1930

18-years old Charlotte returned her home in India from England where she had been studying for 11 years in the school. She discovered that her father died two days ago, leaving her the estate with a tea garden. 
She have to decide how to dispose of the inheritance. Which way she would choose, will she sell it, or will she marry a neighbor man so that he can continue to manage the estate, or will she manage it herself?
It is a nice love story, that has a little slow beginning but interesting plot and nice characters, except Charlotte's friend Ada (she really annoyed me)
I would recommend it to everyone who like reading love stories.

Thanks to Liz Harris and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book!
Was this review helpful?
It’s Darjeeling in 1930 and 18 year old Charlotte Lawrence returns to Sundar, her family’s tea garden after being schooled in England. After learning about her father’s death just days before she arrives home, Charlotte discovers she has been left the family estate. She also learns that it was her father’s wish for her to marry Andrew McAllister, the good-looking younger son from a neighbouring plantation.

However, Charlotte wants to learn about the running of the business before she settles down to married life, and convinces Dan Fitzgerald, the assistant manager of the estate, to show her the ropes while she gets to know Andrew. 

Charlotte’s chaperone and friend, who accompanied her on the journey from England, Ada Eastman, is set to marry Harry who owns a neighbouring tea garden, but Ada has left a secret behind in England and is determined to become a loyal and faithful wife to Harry and friend to Charlotte.

I loved this book- the setting was absolutely beautiful and was written in a way that it was like watching a movie in my mind -I could see the mists rolling in, smell the earth after the monsoon and hear the birds and monkeys chattering in the trees.

I started off loving Ada and thought she was wonderful and ended up absolutely hating her she was such a well written character.

Although you could sense where the romantic side of the story was going, it didn’t feel obvious…everything about this book just felt right!

I absolutely loved it and whole heartedly recommend it.
Was this review helpful?
Darjeeling Inheritance by Liz Harris

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
_________________________________________________________________________________________
Story Notes

Liz Harris invites readers into the world of Indian Tea Plantations that is rife with secrets, jealousy, blackmail as well as an unexpected chance for love for a tea heiress. 

This was an interesting story that drew me in fairly quickly. I loved reading about the tea plantation and all the things that go into making one successful. There was not too much information provided to make it boring but enough to help readers understand the lives of the characters. Charlotte was a good main character, though I did find her to be a little too prone to naivete. She wasn't dumb, just ridiculously unobservant of others. She was also waaaaayyyy to trusting of people she didn't know very well and that was a bit annoying. Dan was a good opposite for Charlotte, helping her in more ways that she really knew. I just wish he had been more intentional about pursuing her. He could have at least said something to her about how he felt and given her another option before the end of the story. That would have made me like him better I think but he was still the best man in the story. Andrew was a stupid jerk that I didnt like from the first. I just knew he was going to be a problem from his first shown conversation with Ralph. Add to him Ada Banning and you got a really awful situation. She was despicable and I was so mad that Charlotte didn't see through her thinly veiled insults and manipulation. Ugh, she was terrible. And her lack of morality was also very off-putting, which was the author point in having her in the story. The whole story was pretty well done and I did enjoy it. Though I will say that the instances of the affair being described wasn't necessary and could have been left out with no loss to the story. I can't recommend it fully to others given that inclusion but will say that I will recommend it with a warning to those I know that might enjoy the rest of the story. Definitely a unique telling and topic that was very interesting to read. 

I received this temporary complimentary E-Book from Heywood Press via NetGalley. I am not required to provide a review for this story but am pleased to do so. I will receive no fiscal compensation for this review and the opinions expressed herein are entirely my own.
Was this review helpful?
On the one hand, I think Harris did a wonderful job of creating Sundar as a setting- evocative and sweeping, the plantation felt like its own character. 

However, I think that in 2021, we should not be romanticising colonisers without any sort of consideration for the colonised. For well over a century, people have romanticised the colonies of the British Empire without regard for the people who have been oppressed. I was really excited for this book, and I kept reading on hoping for something, but alas, no luck.
Was this review helpful?
It was 1930 when Charlotte Lawrence returned to the family tea plantation in India, Sundar, after eleven years virtually imprisoned at the boarding school in England, looking forward to catching up with her beloved father and mother. But Sundar seemed empty when she arrived and it was when she saw the estate's assistant manager, Dan Fitzgerald, that she received a terrible shock. Her father, Charles, had died only two days before her arrival. Charlotte was devastated, and then shocked to learn her father had left Sundar to her. He had also arranged for her to marry the son of the adjoining plantation, Andrew McAllister, so the two plantations could be combined.

Beside herself with grief, she was not ready for marriage, and Andrew was prepared to wait. Charlotte wanted to learn the life of the tea plantation as she’d loved working by her father’s side when she was young. So Dan proceeded to teach her the detailed and many facets of the tea making.

When Charlotte had sailed for India, she’d had an English woman, Ada Eastman as her chaperone. Ada was travelling to Darjeeling to marry Harry Banning, giving her a new start to her life. But Ada hadn’t changed, much as she thought she could and would…

Darjeeling Inheritance by Liz Harris started off well – a historical fiction novel which is up there with my favourite genres. It was interesting with descriptions of tea making as Charlotte was learning, of the small township of Darjeeling and the many tea plantations in the area. But around the halfway mark the book started to deteriorate – into a steamy, wild sex romp – and that’s not what I signed up for! So consequently, I was disappointed.

With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my digital ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
DNF @ 25% 

After reading a book set in India during the British colonial period, I was looking for more books about it and how it impacted the country. This book held so much promise as a historic romance set in Darjeeling on a tea plantation. The British fought over the land surrounding Darjeeling to have a foothold in the Himalayas between Bhutan and Nepal. Later, they found the climate suitable for tea so they converted it to tea gardens aka tea plantation where locals worked for low wages to support the East India Co. Unfortunately I had to go learn this on my own as I read this book rather than from this book itself.

There was so much promise in the premise of this novel and I enjoyed the descriptions of walking the lands of the tea garden. Liz Harris's descriptions were gorgeous but the book fell short for me. I ultimately had high expectations for the historic fiction aspects when this book is more a romance with historic elements (a woman must be married rather than run a tea plantation!). In the first 25% of this book, it failed to touch on deeper topics on how British colonialism impacted Darjeeling and its inhabitants. As a read I was left feeling like Darjeeling and the tea plantation was a convenient setting for a novel that chose not to recognize the trauma created by tea plantations that still exist today. I think this was not the book for me and will look for some type of history book on this region instead.
Was this review helpful?
What could be more romantic than being an heiress to a family tea plantation in India, at the age of 18, and getting ready to your arranged marriage to the most handsome man in the neighbourhood?

A great book with the right amount of romance, a bit of intrigue and a chance to peep into the secrets of tea growing. The exotic location and the engaging writing style make this an unputdownable read even if it's not full of action. The first book of the Colonials series has absolutely convinced me to watch out for Liz Harris' other books.

My thanks to NetGalley and Haywood Press for this Advance Reading Copy.
Was this review helpful?
This is the first book by this author that I have read. I was attracted by the setting, life in India on a tea plantation set in the 1930s. It was an interesting read about how tea is grown and processed but I found the story although well written with wonderful characters a bit slow. I found it too full of explanation and not enough action. It could have been condensed down by half and made a nice quick read. I received this as an ARC from netgalley and freely give my review.
Was this review helpful?
I really enjoyed this book. It's more of a romance novel than an historical novel, but it was a good story with compelling characters and a nice plot. A young woman, Charlotte,  inherits a tea garden in India, and she's expected to marry the handsome heir to the tea garden next door.  A wrench is thrown in the works by the chaperone who accompanied Charlotte back to India, a sultry older woman who has left England in disgrace. Passions ignite, and everyone ends up in a different bed than expected. This is great light reading for pure entertainment, but I also learned a lot about growing tea in the process.
Was this review helpful?
Sundar

An enchanting story set in the foothills of the Himalayas, the tea region of Darjeeling in the country of India a young girl discovering life and love in her childhood home of Sundar. It tells of the beauty of the Sunrise, the majesty of the tea gardens and the interesting history of how the tea is processed.

Charlotte grew up on the tea plantation in India, then as a young girl she was sent to school in England. After her father dies she returns to Darjeeling and the tea garden of Sundar. She finds she has inherited Sundar and that her father's wishes were for her to marry the son of the McAllister's and merge their tea gardens together. Her mother is anxious for her to marry so she can return to England as she has never liked India. Charlotte is not sure about any of it.

The story is that of Charlotte, how she learns about Sundar and how tea is processed. It is about her learning about life and her feelings and what she wishes in life as opposed to what other's have planned for her. Will she follow her father's wishes, or will she find her own way.

The book is filled with love, romance, beauty, but also betrayal and family secrets long left alone. In a small place where the servants know more about the family than their own family and where rumor is common and customs are rich we follow along with the Lawrence and McAllister families as the drama plays out.

It was an interesting read and I enjoyed reading it. I would recommend it.

Thanks to Liz Harris, Heywood Press, and NetGalley for providing me with a complimentary copy of the book for my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Darjeeling inheritance is a historical romance, emphasis on the romance. In my twenties I would have loved this book. The more the romance the better, if there was an historical setting that was a bonus. Today in my sixties I find my reading tastes have done a 180. While enjoying some romance in a book,I’m looking for more historical detail and depth then this book offers. This is not said to slam the book, simply to point out a fact that may bias my review.
The book is a simple story, simply told. The main character is an 18 year old woman, Charlotte who has returned to India after an absence of 11 years during which she attended school in England. Upon her return she finds her much loved father died two days prior, leaving her the family’s tea garden as her inheritance. Being 1930’s India she is told she will not be able to successfully run the business because she a female. She is left with two choices sell the garden or marry a neighbors’ son and merge the two farms. She cannot imagine selling so she chooses the later BUT can she go through with marriage to a man she does not love or is love possible? This is the dilemma Charlotte faces.
Of course my summary does not include the twists and turns present of which there are quite a few. Unfortunately I was able to predict them at about a quarter of the way through. The writing in general, with the exception of a few run on sentences, was nicely done. The main characters were adequately developed and the pacing of the book was even with each scene moving the plot forward.
I cannot recommend this book for readers like myself who are looking for more complex themes and storylines. However if a simple nicely told romance is what your looking for this just might be the book for you. 

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher, Heywood Press, through net galley. This fact in no way influenced my review.
Was this review helpful?