Book Review: Before the Rains by Dinah Jefferies

Today I review Historical Fiction Tale, Before the Rains: a romantic, heart-wrenching tale of love against the odds from the Number One Sunday Times bestselling author Dinah Jefferies. 

Title: Before the Rains
Author: Dinah Jefferies
Published: February 23rd 2017 by Penguin

Blurb: 1930, Rajputana, India. Since her husband's death, 28-year-old photojournalist Eliza's only companion has been her camera. When the British Government send her to an Indian princely state to photograph the royal family, she's determined to make a name for herself.

But when Eliza arrives at the palace she meets Jay, the Prince's handsome, brooding brother. While Eliza awakens Jay to the poverty of his people, he awakens her to the injustices of British rule. Soon Jay and Eliza find they have more in common than they think. But their families - and society - think otherwise. Eventually they will have to make a choice between doing what's expected, or following their hearts...

Review: Dinah Jefferies is one of my favourite historical fiction authors. Her stories are always so rich in detail and so interesting and thanks to her I always discover so much. With Before the Rains she takes us to India in the twenties. With her generous and mesmerising descriptions, it's easy to picture that era, with its rich royal families contrasting with the extreme poverty of its people. 

The story focuses on Eliza, a British photographer who is assigned by the British government to spend a year photographing one of the royal families for their archives. Eliza though is not new to India, she spent her childhood there until her father's death. So as soon as she arrives there, she instantly feels a connection to that land and tries to understand the people and its customs and traditions. Some of them are completely shocking and impossible to understand but it's difficult for her (and for us) not to fall in love with this place. 

The love story between Eliza and Jay, the younger brother of the Indian prince, plays a big role in the book. It's obvious from the beginning that there's something special between them but their fate is already decided by their different backgrounds and cultures. Nevertheless, you can't help but root for them. They both, as the other characters in the story, are complex and layered characters that I enjoyed getting to know immensely. Theirs is definitely a story I won't forget in a long time.

Before the Rains is not only a story about love though. There are many emotions key to the story and secrets and betrayals have a very important role in the story. The author certainly keeps some surprises in the store for us. 

As usual, I can only praise Dinah Jefferies' writing. The story unwraps at the right pace, giving us enough time to take all the little details in and keeps us wondering what is going to happen next. All in all, a very complete and mesmerising read.

Rating: 5 stars

I would like to thank the publishers for sending me a digital copy via NetGalley. This is my honest opinion. 

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