Maybe it just wasn’t my cup of tea…
There are so many flavors of tea in world, just as there are writers and stories. Even if you like a particular type of tea, how it is made can affect its strength and flavor. That’s the best way I can think to describe The Tea Planter’s Daughter by Janet MacLeod Trotter. It was readable and interesting but kind of bland.
The Tea Planter’s Daughter starts out in the tea country of late 1800’s India and is the first book in The India Tea Series. Janet writes in colorful prose as she paints vivid pictures of colonial India and the world leading up to WWI in this historical fiction work. Her intricate story telling specifically follows the lives of Clarissa Belhaven and her fragile, younger sister, Olive as their world is turned upside down after the death of their father. Unable to keep the tea garden they must turn to family in England to survive.
The Tea Planter’s Daughter is not a terrible book but it also doesn’t stand out in any particular way. Initially, I thought I just needed to give the story time to develop, which it did through the historical accuracy of the quickly changing, modernizing world of that time. It’s also very readable and flows nicely. Ultimately, it wasn’t Janet’s writing style, setting or story telling that disappointed me but her characters. They were predictable in many ways and the little sister, Olive, while more sickly than Clarissa, was really a spoiled baby, even when she was grown. The attraction and supposed romance between Clarissa and Wesley at first seemed too canned. Then it got so lost in the story that I thought this wasn’t actually a historical romance piece but a historical fiction work. It did come eventually back to the romance and made the ending feel complete.
I think The Tea Planter’s Daughter is worth reading it’s just that I like my cup of tea a little more flavorful!