The Girl from the Tea Garden

Written by Janet MacLeod Trotter
Review by Rebecca Cochran

This third book in the India Tea Series explores the life of Adela Robson, daughter to Clarrie and Wesley (from Book 1). While reading the first two is not necessary to enjoy this story, the backstory from those helps to understand character development and relationships here. The story begins in 1933 India, when Adela, an Anglo-Indian teenage girl, runs away from her Indian boarding school. She is determined to explore her passion for acting. Years pass and it is soon 1936; Adela is all grown up. During the summer, she goes to Simla, the summer seat of the Raj government, and is thrown into a life of glitz, glamour, and at long last, a budding acting career. But, when she catches the eye of a handsome, playboy prince, Adela’s life is irrevocably changed. Adela winds up in England, and when the Second World War breaks out, her passion towards acting turns into desperate need to find a way home to India.

By now, fans of Trotter will recognize a familiar pattern with the plotline: an ambitious but naive heroine makes shameful mistakes and learns about life the hard way. But, in the end, love and family win out. Again, Trotter does a wonderful job highlighting the changes in India at the time, the political upheaval, and the cultural identity issues Adela faces as both an Indian and English woman. Recommended.