Today is Julia Clockhouse's twenty-fifth birthday. Her long-suffering Hindu servants are frantically trying to organise a party for her, but it's hard to do so amid the havoc wreaked by her wild spirit. They think she is possessed. Daughters of colonial tea-planters shouldn't have souls that escape their bodies, move objects with their minds, hear tongueless yogis speak. Julia Clockhouse does.
As the day passes and the chaos mounts in the kitchen, Julia listens desperately for the return of her husband. Ben may have married her on the orders of her domineering father, but he had come to love her; together they had found the happiness they missed in childhood. But by the time the party guests are tumbling in from the rising fury of the monsoon Ben has still not come.
Sara Banerji narrates the events of an extraordinary birthday with deft humour and haunting eloquence, weaving into Julia's story a picture of an isolated tea-plantation and all those who live there. The Tea-Planter's Daughter is a captivating flight of the imagination firmly rooted in the reality of the South Indian hills.