[Women’s Fiction]


TFTF Cover

So without further ado,set back and enjoy your visit with


Capturing history in the strokes of a story

I spent two years gathering research for Teatime for the Firefly. Ultimately it was the history that shaped the story. My sister and I dug up tales about my parents. We chatted on Skype, exchanged photographs and anecdotes. We talked to their friends, and I contacted tea planters from all over the world.  At the end of the day I had massive folders of information, and the story of Teatime flowered from this fertile ground. I found interesting threads of research to weave into the plot and all my fictional characters reflect some aspect of the society of that time. The British colonial world of tea plantations is long gone. For all its good and bad, it is a crucial part of India’s rich cultural history. Perhaps my biggest challenge in writing Teatime for the Firefly was how to weave this history in the strokes of a story without sounding too academic or long-winded. That is the slippery slope of writing historical fiction: how much history do you include, how much do you leave out? I wanted to open the world of Assam tea to a broad spectrum of readers, which is why I chose the vehicle of a love story. Much of the history is captured in details, either in the dialogue, or the plot. My hope is engage my reader, either through the love story or an interest in tea or Indian history. Or perhaps all three.

Thank you Shona, for spending time with us and our readers today! What a pleasure to have you with us today…..Your “Teatime for the Firefly” is a great read~


TFTF CoverPublication Date: September 24, 2013


  • Genres: Fiction
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
  • ISBN-10: 0778315479
  • ISBN-13: 9780778315476

Shona Patel’s TEATIME FOR THE FIREFLY (Harlequin/MIRA; Sept 24, 2013)

Book Description


October 1, 2013

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.



Shona Author-1A bit about the author…..

Shona Patel, the daughter of an Assam tea planter, drew upon her personal observations and experiences to create the vivid characters and setting for TEATIME FOR THE FIREFLY. An honors graduate in English literature from Calcutta University, Ms. Patel has won several awards for creative writing and is a trained graphic and architectural designer. TEATIME FOR THE FIREFLY is her debut novel.






~For My Thoughts~




Thank you everyone for stopping by today and for your support. We hope you have enjoyed your visit with debut author, Shona Patel!!