First of all, I want to say that Catherine Palmer is my favourite christian author. Both in historical and contemporary fiction. Her books are always scented with the spicy perfumes of exotic lands, like Africa and India, like this one. They are sparkling with the most delightful romance, like this book does. And they are filled with deep and wise spiritual insight, and this book is no exception.
That said, I will try to give you a few more glimpses into this delightful book. It brings to life the most amazing adventure of discovery, faith and redemption and the most complex and realistic characters.
There is a woman with a past, who is now a mother and a widow. She herself thinks that she hates changes and she desires a safe, if boring existence. But the truth is she is strong and adventurous inside.
There is her daughter, a young woman, whose amazing spirit has lead her to the ends of the world and back. She has now to face the greatest adventure of her life, however, which sometimes brings to the surface her selfish and immature nature. But in spite of her failings, through it all, her close personal relationship with Jesus doesn't fail to touch and change everyone about her. I really envied and admired her for that.
There is a young man who is a bit rough around the edges but really sweet and romantic at heart. He becomes drawn to the Lord with such force that it will take your breath away. And he makes a declaration that might put even Mr. Darcy's (first) proposal to Elizabeth to shame.
There is a God who is shown in this book to be caring and faithful through all our mistakes and faults. He is just waiting for the moment when we will eventually come back to Him, to forgive us and guide us into a new life. He is a God of details and "coincidences". He is the God who works all things to good for those who love Him.
And of course, there is tea. Tea in beautiful rose-decorated teacups, tea in misty plantations on a mountain, tea in a hot steaming cup in a London pub. The leaves of hope are litarally tea leaves.
I was truly blessed and inspired by this book about relationships and the Lord's guidance in our lives and about faith. It is one of the few books in which I really can't say who I identified with the most: Beth or her mother. I related to them both and felt as if I was in their shoes the whole time I was reading. A Catherine Palmer book can do that to you.....
I just finished reading this book for the second time. Need I say more?