Lush, green, fragrant: the Indian hills of Assam are full of promise. But eighteen-year-old Clarissa Belhaven is full of worry. The family tea plantation is suffering, and so is her father, still grieving over the untimely death of his wife, while Clarissa’s fragile sister, Olive, needs love and resourceful care.
Beautiful and headstrong, Clarissa soon attracts the attention of young, brash Wesley Robson, a rival tea planter. Yet before his intentions become fully clear, tragedy befalls the Belhavens and the sisters are wrenched from their beloved tea garden to the industrial streets of Tyneside.
A world away from the only home she has ever known, Clarissa must start again. Using all her means, she must endure not only poverty but jealousy and betrayal too. Will the reappearance of Wesley give her the link to her old life that she so desperately craves? Or will a fast-changing world and the advent of war extinguish hope forever?
I'm always a big fan of historical fiction that sweeps me away to more exotic locations. This novel definitely did just that. The two sisters in the story, Clarissa and Olive Belhaven, are raised in the lap of luxury on an Indian tea plantation. After the death of their mother, their father turns to the bottle to find solace. He becomes a recluse, a drunk, and the plantation ultimately begins to suffer. Enter the handsome Wesley Robson, a descendant of a family that has been long time enemies and rivals of the Belhavens. He is setting up a tea plantation in direct competition to theirs. His offer to buy the Belhaven plantation is rejected. That's when the trouble starts. Clarissa's father dies and Clarissa is forced to sell everything and move to England to live with a distant uncle. Once there, the girls find themselves living under great hardship as they are put to work as servants and treated shabbily with almost no pay. Clarissa then struggles to escape her dire circumstances.
Lush with description and a terrific storyline, I thoroughly loved this novel. From its stunning cover to the great tale of hardship, survival, and love, there is much to laud. I definitely and strongly recommend this for lovers of family sagas and Indian settings. A lovely read!
Thank you to the author and publisher. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for visiting my blog, http://greathistoricals.blogspot.ca, where the greatest historical fiction is reviewed! For fascinating women of history bios and women's fiction please visit http://www.historyandwomen.com.