Layla Roy has defied the fates.
Despite being born under an inauspicious horoscope, she is raised to be educated and independent by her eccentric grandfather, Dadamoshai. And, by cleverly manipulating the hand fortune has dealt her, she has even found love with Manik Deb - a man betrothed to another. All were minor miracles in India that spring of 1943, when young women's lives were predetermined - if not by the stars, then by centuries of family tradition and social order.
Layla's life as a newly married woman takes her away from home and into the jungles of Assam, where the world's finest tea thrives on plantations run by native labor and British efficiency. Fascinated by this culture of whiskey-soaked expats who seem fazed by neither earthquakes nor man-eating leopards, she struggles to find her place among the prickly English wives with whom she is expected to socialize, and the peculiar servants she now finds under her charge.
But navigating the tea-garden set will hardly be her biggest challenge. Layla's remote home is not safe from the powerful changes sweeping India on the heels of the Second World War. Their colonial society is at a tipping point, and Layla and Manik find themselves caught in a perilous racial divide that threatens their very lives.
©2013 Shona Patel (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
The story is captivating, sweet and very interesting. Patel's writing is very pictorial and poetic. I think I learned quite a bit about tea plantations, Assam, and social relation in that region during the post-war period. However, the narration is weak -- she pauses in all the wrong places -- leaving the listener waiting for the remainder of sentences, also her character voices are inconsistent, and the accents are not accurate.
I loved the story and the writing, both were excellent. I liked the narrators voice and clear diction and pronunciation, but she would pause in the middle of a sentence and this gave the narration a jarring disruption.
I cannot recommend this audible purchase at all.I listened to a little over 2 hours of this book today during my commute. I am almost certain that I will love the written version of this book but the narrator in this audible version is just horrible. She has made it painful for me to continue listening and I am thankful that I was able to purchase the book in a kindle daily deal. The narrator places emphasis on words in the wrong places. The reading is choppy. At times she had difficulty transitioning between the different characters. Listening to her today was painful. Her narration is such a distraction. I want to focus on the story, on the characters in the story. Instead I keep getting caught up in hearing the narrator make very blatant mistakes that detract from the story.
She detracts because she does not appear to be a professional narrator!
I will update my review after reading the written book.
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