“This prequel to TEATIME FOR THE FIREFLY validates Shona Patel as that rare novelist who is a born storyteller, as she brings to life an era that will forever change the face of India.” (Book Reporter Review)
“Beautifully written, this novel is sure to please fans of Khaled Hosseini and Jhumpa Lahiri.”(Library Journal Review)
“An unforgettable story of love and loss, hope and change” (Booklist starred review)
“This is escapism without guilt: a love story that educates us about a different time, place and social mores.” (Selected as one of Top Six picks for fall 2015 by Toronto Star)
BOOKLIST *Starred* Review In her latest gracefully written novel, Patel (Teatime for the Firefly, 2013) skillfully uses the culture and customs of late-nineteenth- and early twentieth-century India as a fascinating framework for an unforgettable story of love and loss, hope and change, family and friendship that will stay with readers long after they turn the last page.— John Charles
LIBRARY JOURNAL, May 15 issue Tradition and setting dominate this story of passion, politics, and love. The Indian countryside and village life play a big role, and the slow pace of writing matches the pace of change in India. Beautifully written, this novel is sure to please fans of Khaled Hosseini and Jhumpa Lahiri.
RT BOOK REVIEWS, July issue Readers fascinated by Biren Roy from Firefly will be thrilled to read this story. Patel enlivens her richly developed plot by deftly incorporating social and political issues, cultural differences and vivid descriptions of India’s food, flavors and flame tress into the novel. The drama and sadness of the era come to life alongside a beautiful romance. Patel knows her country and its struggles so well that readers feel a part of it as well.”4 Stars
LUXURY READING August 14 (Reviewed by Colleen Turner)Shona Patel’s writing is amongst the most beautiful I have come across and her abilities to bring to life a brightly colored world of beauty against the ugliness of this time and place in history (at least when it comes to the rights of women and an antiquated caste system) is unmatched in my reading.
READING THE PASTAugust 11 (Reviewed by Sarah Johnson) There are many moments of joy in Flame Tree Road, and others of abject sadness, all recounted with the flair of a natural storyteller as Patel brings us deeply into the life of an admirable man who dedicates himself to reshaping his world.
Beth Woodward, SERL Librarian Arizona : Patel writes a great tale which engages and keeps your interest. The reader is introduced to Indian culture, especially the caste system and its societal bases. Patel says she hopes to further explain it to Western audiences. The thought that “people arrive at inner peace and wisdom only by transcending great personal tragedy” is woven into the plot several times and allows the reader contemplate this maxim. Emerging feminism in both England and India are part of the plot and give this historical fiction book enough plot twists and romance to have you reading all night long.
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TORONTO STARThis is escapism without guilt: a love story that educates us about a different time, place and social mores.
I’ve ordered a copy and am looking forward to receiving it. 🙂
Thanks! Please give my love to DA#1 and DA#2. I enjoyed my saunter in the woods with them in your last post.xx
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I was so glad to meet you in person Tuesday evening. You are such a delight! What a turnout! With only one book, you already had a huge following. Just wait until everyone reads your second one. My book club girlfriends are all traveling and missed the book launch, so thank you, again, for Skyping with us. I’ll let you know my thoughts on Flame Tree Road. Thank you for being you.
Hi dear Bonnie,
It was lovely to meet you in person. Thank you for your love and support. xx Shona
I read you newest book Flame Tree Road, it was amazing and I loved it. I love that your writing is not just a love stories but a trip through the evolution of these peoples live, and the evolution of a country as well. Your books are addictive and I look forward to your next project.
What a sweet, inspiring note! It also comes at a time when I am thick in the throes of Book 3. Writing is not always easy and comments such as yours is what keeps me going. Thank you Michelle!
I just went on a wonderful journey! That is how I felt reading your book, Flame Tree Road. It was one of the best books I have ever had the pleasure of reading! I felt like I knew all of the characters and loved learning about India. I didn’t want the story to end! I will read Teatime for Firefly next. What will I do after that? You must write a third book! You have a great talent! You are a natural! I see that you live in Fountain Hills! I live in Phoenix! Thank you for this book-this gift!
Hi Dear Sue,
I am so happy you enjoyed FlameTree. I hope you like Teatime too. I am working on book#3 so please send me your blessings. I hope to see you at one of my events. I have a few coming up and try and keep my FB page updated. Check it out!
https://www.facebook.com/TeatimeFirefly/events xx Shona
I just finished reading Flame Tree Road. Being an Indian and Bengali by birth, I could identify with this this book. Though I have not visited the areas that you write about, I have heard many stories of East Bengal( or Bangladesh of today). As I was reading I could actually almost see the pictures in my mind. The characters are so lifelike. I work in a library and we do not have your first book here. But I am going to get it through inter library loan and read it too. Like your other fans, I too am waiting for your third book.
I am so happy Flametree rang some nostalgic notes for you. I would appreciate it very much if you could give me a review on Goodreads if possible. I hope you enjoy Teatime for the Firefly. Many thanks for visiting my blog. xx
I have read Teatime 3 times and love it. I lived in India, Mussoorie in Uttar Pradesh, and was happier there than any place I have ever lived. The people, the sounds, the colors, the flowers—Your book just resonated. Looking forward to the second.
THREE TIMES!! Oh my, the only book I have read three times (or more) is TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD! That means a lot. Thank you. I hope you enjoy Flametree. xx 🙂
I found your novel Teatime for the Fireflies extremely interesting. Aynakhal Tea Estate is well known to me not because I had been there but because I heard the name from my mother.
I was born in Sylhet and your novel evoked memories of my childhood. It’s unfortunate that your books are not available in Bangladesh or even in India. I procured Teatime through a friend who lives in the US. I’m looking forward to reading your new novel but don’t know how to get it.
Also I’m going to include Teatime in my my Diaspora Writing course from the Spring semester. Thank you.
Department of English and Humanities
University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh
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Dear Professor Chowdhury,
Many thanks for your kind words. I am writing to you in a separate email. Shona
Dear Professor Chowdhury,
I was surprised to learn about the University in Dhaka. I lived in Dhaka for a year 40 or so years ago and was unaware that the University existed. Or did it? Is it new? My husband was a physician at Shere Bangla Hospital and I taught primary school.
I think Dhaka must be much different now.
Best wishes, Raleyne Conner
Dear Raleyne, I am copying your comment to Professor Chowdhury in a separate email. I am sure it will be interesting for you both to compare notes. Best wishes, Shona
I had finished reading the two books written by you. I love them so much that I even cried so bitterly for some of the characters in the books. Something puzzled greatly after reading your books. Most writers wld have started with the characters when they were young but yours was a change from the norm. It is indeed refreshing! In fact, I started with the “Flame Tree Road” first as I had chanced upon the book before the debut novel. I found I was able to appreciate the characters better esp Rai aka Biren Roy. I had also got a glimpse of the historical facts abt Assam and how beautiful it must be.
The second novel only briefly mentioned that the relationship between Layla and Manik had changed after the latter took over as the GM of the tea plantation. ALso, will Biren Roy and Estelle finally get together. In addition, was Manik the son of Sammy Deb and nothing was mentioned of his family.
I really look forward with great anticipation of your upcoming third novel which I sincerely hope, will include mentioning more about my beloved characters mentioned earlier. Good luck to your writing! Eagerly, awaiting your next novel! Meantime, happy 2016
I am so glad you enjoyed both my books.
It’s sometimes difficult to flesh out every character in a book as my focus is primarily on one one aspect of the story. I tend to leave open thread and hint at answers but there should be no bothersome questions. Here’s my attempt to answer some of yours:
1) The change of dynamics in Layla and Manik’s relationship is not necessarily a “bad” thing. They just had to grow up having gone through their own traumatic and life threatening experiences. There is a saddening (perhaps ‘sobriety’ is a better word) that comes as a result. What they face is not a loss of love but a loss of innocence. Manik tightens up (much as a soldier would after his first real life combat) when he realizes his job as GM of Aynakhal is going to take more strength and vigilance than he had bargained for. It is his reality check.
2) Yes, Manik is the son of (that awful) Sammy Deb of Flame Tree Road. Sammy dies young (of gluttony, I would imagine) and Manik is raised by his Uncle Diju in England. All this is hinted at in both novels.
3) Biren and Estelle marry in their autumn years. Again this is hinted at his last letter from Cornwall in FTR.
In my third book you will meet some of familiar characters and some new ones. It is a sequel to Teatime.
Hopefully some day when my books are made into a Downton Abbey like series all the open threads of the story characters can be expanded into separate episodes. Now wouldn’t that be nice!
My love and best wishes to you for the New Year and thanks much for sharing your thoughts. I am glad I had a chance to address these questions as several readers have asked the same. Sometimes what is in my head does not necessarily make it to the page.
Dear Shona, I am an avid reader and really enjoyed “Teatime for the Firefly”. Looking forward to reading “Flame Tree Road”, and hope you keep writing more of these great stories.
I am a part time resident of Fountain Hills and walk a lot. Have I seen you jogging?
Thanks for your kind words. Jogging? NO!!! Walking lazily and leisurely and looking at ducks- more likely. Next time you think it’s me, come and say HI!
Dear Shona: I read your novel-Teatime for Firefly and was amazed by your storytelling in such a wonderful, intimate style. I felt completely immersed in the locale and characters. Your prose is beautiful and the story has offered the reader a realistic snapshot of life in that era of India.
So now I found your second novel-Flame Tree Road, which is equally amazing. You are a very gifted author, entertaining, educational and full of heart. You understand the human spirit and share it with your readers.
Thank you so very much for your creations. I hope you continue to gift others with your inspirational stories.
Lovely to hear from you Eva and your kind and generous words really made my day! Thank you for taking the time for dropping me this beautiful note. It’s only for readers like you, I write. Warm wishes, xx Shona
Thank you for your lovely response. I have shared your stories with many friends and I am looking forward to the publication of your next novel.
We are http://www.tsakafi.com. A bunch of tea (tsa) and coffee (kafi) lovers. Amongst us, we have over a 1000 hours of having, discussing, brewing, debating, experimenting and pairing these two beverages with other liquids, syrups, flavours and foods.
It is our endeavor to give people the best of the tea and coffee that’s grown and available in this country. We just people to move away from all the fluff and the hype around each of these products. It is no wonder that a lot of people are confused because of an overload of information. There are more than enough stories about the advantages and benefits of one drink versus the other. We are just urging customers to go back to the basics, to enjoy each cup the way it was meant to be. It is absolutely fine to enjoy the various infusions and flavours that go with tea or coffee respectively but we constantly rue the fact that these flavours mask the very basic nature and taste of the original brew.
Ah yes! We constantly are asking people to brew it and not cook it. And we are showing them options – providing infusers, steepers, filters, plungers and what not.
The less said about dehyderated instant coffee the better.
This is our attempt to reach out to the blogging community especially people who are passionate or remotely interested in these kind of things. We have published a few of our own blogs on our site and would be glad to invite review, critique and pretty much anything.
Wow! This was a blog from the past! So happy to receive it. Since buying Assam tea for my book club meeting years ago, I have seen it available a lot. I love a good cup of plain tea with milk or cream—no fancy flavors. I’m still waiting for another great book from Shona Patel. For now I am satisfied with watching The Indian Doctor on Prime. A gracious, soft-spoken couple who move from India to Wales.
I enjoyed meeting you at the book club meeting at Nancy’s house recently. I’m hosting a different book club at my home in FH in April and would love it if you could join us. Can you give me your contact info so I can discuss this with you? I’d like our group to read Teatime for Firefly. Thanks!
I absolutely loved Flame Tree Road and Teatime for the Fireflies. I’m eager to read anything else you may have written. Any other books or short stories?
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Thank you so much! My third book is in the works. Stay tuned.😊
June 16 the Afternoon Readers Group at Glendale Public Library, will discuss Teatime for the Firefly. I am looking to serve Assam tea but I am having difficulty finding it in Phoenix. Any ideas, Shona?
After ordering it from Amazon, I found it locally. I think it was at Cost Plus World Market or A.J.’s. I have a box with about 12 bags in it and you are welcome to it if you don’t find it. Let me know.
Joyce, Bonnie found the tea in Cost Plus it seems. Check that out. You won’t have to order on Amazon then. Good luck. Many thanks Bonnie!
Shona. After meeting you at the Tealet offices in Las Vegas, I went home to read Tea Time for the Firefly. I love it. It opens a window to a world that is very new to me. While I teach about tea in Assam, the background on tea planter culture was only vague for me. This has really helped to experience that life, if only for a short time. I love your writing style. I look forward to reading your other works…..and perhaps sampling your teas.
I am so glad to hear from you Susan and glad to know you enjoyed Teatime for the Firefly. I am finishing up with the third book which is again set in the tea plantains of Assam and about the life of a young tea planter. I am very excited about this one. The Firefly Tea Company (my brand of Assam Tea) is getting ready to launch. We will keep you in the loop. Please do keep in touch. Shona
Please do keep me in the loop. I’m opening a tea room. I would love to feature your tea, along with your books.
I just finished Flame Tree Road, and I’m rather sad – it was such a wonderful book!
You’ve an ability to transport the reader to the world you’ve created; thank you for sharing this with us.
Thank you for your kind words. They mean the world to me 😊💕