It’s 1930 in Darjeeling, India, and Charlotte Lawrence is excited to return home to Sundar, the family tea plantation, after many years away at school in England. She’s accompanied by Ada Eastman, engaged to local Darjeeling tea garden owner Harry Banning, as her chaperone, and the two young women become friends on the journey. But Charlotte’s joy on arrival is short-lived when she discovers her beloved father had passed away just a couple of days earlier.
She finds out she’s inherited Sundar, but there’s an expectation she will marry Andrew McAllister son, the younger son and something of a playboy, to consolidate the neighbouring properties. But Charlotte loves the business and wants to learn how the whole process works so is reluctant to name a wedding date.
Sundar’s assistant manager Dan Fitzgerald, who arrived during the years she was in England, is at first reluctant to help her, but recognizes her determination and love of Sundar. He begins to teach her all she’ll need to know to run the plantation.
As the personal situations of the characters become more complicated, the author shares a lot of information about the tea industry in Darjeeling in the 1930s, along with what the expectations were for women in that time and place.
Author Liz Harris has crafted an engaging story with well-developed characters and enough friction to keep the action moving along and the read most enjoyable.