August 14th, 2017


Before the Rains, Dinah Jefferies

I’d already enjoyed two of Dinah Jefferies’ books so I was pleased to find Before the Rains at the library. All these books have very pretty covers. The Tea Planter’s Wife was set in Sri Lanka and The Silk Merchant’s Daughter in Vietnam. This one is set in British India in the 1930s. Eliza was born in India but returned to England with her mother and was educated there. Now widowed, she returns to India as a professional photographer with the job of photographing life in an Indian royal palace. Even before she starts work, she has enemies within the palace and feels spied upon. The clash of cultures between the British authorities and Indian traditions is confusing for her and everything is made more difficult when she falls in love with an Indian man, which is unacceptable to both the British and the Indians. There is also a mystery about her parents’ time in India which is still affecting Eliza and others. Can East and West meet? I found the ending a little too fairy tale. Although I enjoyed this book and its atmospheric descriptions of India, I liked The Silk Merchant’s Daughter better. It’s encouraging to know that Dinah Jefferies didn’t start writing novels until she was in her sixties. If you like romance and intrigue set in exotic places, her books are for you.