The Girl from the Tea Garden by Janet MacLeod Trotter
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Needless to say, I did not enjoy this book in the least.
Let me preface this review by saying that I am usually very picky with my historical fiction favorites. And this one let-me-down a lot, by dragging out the story to around 500 pages. So to explain, I don't know if this was the right time to read it, because I was in a mini reading slump because of this book. It was incredibly hard to find motivation to pick this book up, and the content didn't interest or compel me at all.
At the beginning, I didn't even know where this story was taking place. Maybe that's because I didn't read the first two books in a series (which I wasn't aware of). I knew that Adela and her family were mostly British, but I had no idea that they lived on an Indian plantation until late on in the book. I wish that Trotter could have made that more clearer, perhaps including some direct mention in the first chapter or so.
Alright, now what is this book about you may ask? It's about Adela, who starts out as a runaway wanna-be-actress in 1930s India. At first, I found her eleven year old self entertaining, I could even empathize with her. But alas, then when the romantic element came in and started dominated the story, that aspect ruined it for me. A trope that I hate the most was in here: insta-love and that almost completely put me off. Throughout 15 years, these two love interests see each-other just a couple of times, yet the plot-line is full of their longing and lust.
Honestly, I could never get on board with the relationship; because I found some parts of their relationship cringe-worth. What I didn't understand is why they acted the way that they did, almost like hiding from each other by playing a game of cat-and-mouse.
The ending was what I would call a "tie-the-ribbon" ending which I just can't bear. Here we are, on this emotional star-crossed journey and at the end it's just a quick tidying up. Why did this have to happen in such a short time? I thought that this book was all about being long drawn out romance that was slow burning. Just so uncharacteristic and inconsistent with the rest of the pace of the plot.
**Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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