Teatime For the Firefly -- A Review

I both bought and finished my first book for this Summer Reading challenge in less than three days. I literally could not put the book down. I have read a bunch of really bummer reviews for it, especially on Goodreads, so I thought I would try my hand at a positive one here. This is my first ever book review not in report form -- so let me know what you think!
title :: Teatime for the Firefly
author :: Shona Patel
description from Goodreads :: "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."

my thoughts :: This story absolutely captivated me. I quite honestly could not put the book down. Layla describes India and her experience in beautiful, flowery words. I'll admit that at first it was a little difficult for me to get into due to all of the metaphors -- but once she delved into the story of her and Manik I started flying through the pages. I am an absolute sucker for anything historical fiction related and I loved how their love story developed through their letters. I feel like Layla is a strong character and even stronger woman for her culture during that time. The way the novel is narrated by the main character demonstrates her courage and sense of adventure. She leaves the village she grew up in and everything she has ever known to traipse through the jungle with her new husband. She also has such self confidence and self worth that when she overhears some of the other "tea wives" gossiping about her she doesn't get angry, simply thinks I feel sorry that they will never understand that type of true friendship. I would like to be a little more like Layla.

would I recommend this book? :: I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone with an interest in strong female characters, historical fiction, and/or wanderlust. Sadly, I bought the nook book, so I cannot share it. [sidebar -- why can you only share certain nook books? yet another con in the e-reader category.)

Also -- while we're on the summer reading challenge -- I found a book I couldn't [didn't..] finish the first time around. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn. It wasn't that I couldn't finish it so much as it was that I misplaced the book -- but cleaning for the surprise party I found it wrapped in a towel in my bathroom linen closet....... So now all I need is the book written by a blogger! You can see my whole list here! Now I'm off to the library to pick up the next book on my list!

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