Before the Rains (Spoiler Free!) Review

“Closer to their destination she raised her eyes to see a fortress stretching across the mountain top, dreamlike. A hundred birds swooped across the lilac horizon, threads of pink cloud tracing delicate patterns high above them. Almost drugged by the heat, she struggled not to fall victim to the enchantment; she was here to work, after all.”

-Dinah Jefferies, Before the Rains 

Hey guys! Not too long ago I buddy read The Tea Planter’s Wife with my bestie Alex and we really loved it so I was thrilled when Penguin sent me a copy of Before the Rains! And then we buddy read that one too. Naturally.


Set in 1930 India, Before the Rains follows main character Eliza, widow at 29, and her journey to Rajputana to photograph the royal family for the British Government. She’s brave and ambitious; determined to make a name for herself. To become a professional photographer, despite the reservations of her late husband and mother. Despite the attitude towards women in the 1930s. But when she arrives, she meets Jay. Jay is the prince’s brother and the attraction between him and Eliza is as compelling as it is forbidden…

I really enjoyed the romance in this book-I love a good, forbidden romance and Dinah Jefferies wrote this one so well! But more than that, Before the Rains takes a wider look at many of the injustices and issues in India and Britain in this era. Through Eliza’s point of view, we witness the stark realities of poverty, and, in several harrowing passages, the outlawed practice of widow burning. This is nicely counterbalanced with Jay’s point of view, in which he awakens Eliza to the problematic nature and unfairness of British rule.

My favourite aspect of this book has to be Jefferies’ writing style. I adore it! It lushly evokes the setting of her books as well as the time period and is gorgeously evocative. If you’re a fan of being wooed with beautiful descriptions, then this is the book for you!

Before the Rains is a very enjoyable book and flows nicely while you’re reading it. I found it easy to get into and quite addictive! There was a good dash of intrigue and family secrets to uncover as the plot developed, as well as following Eliza and Jay’s developing attraction to each other. It was a tad predictable at times, I saw a lot of the little twists coming, but that didn’t detract from my enjoyment. Overall, it was a beautifully satisfying read that I’d give 4/5 stars to and I’d definitely recommend it to fans of historical fiction!

Thanks very much to the lovely Elke at Penguin Books for sending a copy my way!

Has anyone else read this one? What did you think? Who else is a fan of historical fiction?

“The sun rose in the sky and for the first time Eliza experienced the matchless perfection of life: each moment, each fragment of joy to be savoured, and when sorrow came, as it surely must, she would face it with an open heart, and know she would survive.”

-Dinah Jefferies, Before the Rains 


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