> Skip to content

Book clubs  •  13 October 2017


The Tea Gardens book club notes

Absorb the heroism, heartache and healing of The Tea Gardens with your book club.

From England’s seaside town of Brighton to India’s slums of Calcutta and the breathtaking Himalayan mountains, Fiona McIntosh’s The Tea Gardens is a wildly exciting and heartbreaking story about the pursuit of passion.


Discussion points and questions:

  • Is The Tea Gardens a story of true love or devastating betrayal? 
  • Do you think Jove was kind, clever or cunning when he allowed Isla to follow her heart to India? Could you appreciate his motives? 
  • As a physician, Isla is driven by an intense need to save others. In what ways does she learn that this is not always possible? 
  • Matron tells Isla that rank is given but respect is earned. Do you think Isla earns respect during her time in India? 
  • Do you agree that faith is far stronger than medicine? 
  • In his letter, Jove tells Isla to ‘leave nothing behind’ in India. Was this good advice, in your view? 
  • ‘No one ever leaves Kangchenjunga unchanged.’ Discuss. 
  • What is the significance of the book’s remote location? 
  • Identify some of the many different ways in which tea is used throughout the novel.
  • Do you agree with Saxon when he says, ‘You can still make a good life even if you’re not with that person you truly love’?
  • How did Isla change through her experiences?
  • Do you find Saxon the hero or the villain of this story?
  • Is this a book about people maintaining control of their emotions – or losing control of them?
  • If you were Isla, would you have chosen Saxon or Jove? 

Feature Title

More features

See all
Book clubs
Foul Play book club questions

A heart-stopping jack Hawksworth novel to read with your book club.

Book clubs
The Sugar Palace book club questions

A heart-stopping romantic adventure to read with your book club.

Researching The Tea Gardens

Fiona McIntosh on studying 1930’s Britain and India in pursuit of the perfect setting for her latest novel.

Better Reading’s Top 100 books of 2024 announced

Penguin Random House is proud to have twenty-four titles on the list this year.

Penguin Noir is back with two events in 2024

Learn about two exciting Penguin Random House author showcases this August!

QUIZ: find your partner in crime this summer

Take this fun quiz to find out which crime novel you should read this summer.

The best book duos to gift for Christmas 2023

Perfect book pairings to give loved ones this holiday season.

The 10 bestselling fiction books of 2023

Check out our top-selling fiction books this year.

What book to gift Mum this Mother’s Day, based on her favourite flower

Find the perfect book based on the blooms she already loves.

Exclusive audiobook content that will inspire you to read more than ever before

Love audiobooks? They’re even better with extra content! Check out some of the audiobooks that include exclusive recorded content for even more enjoyment.

Authors were back on the road in 2022 - and we loved it!

Join us as we travel back in time through 2022 with the authors that hit the road this year.

This is how detective stories have withstood the test of time

Detective stories have been around for over a century, but their popularity persists. Find out who wrote the first detective story and discover a new novel for your ‘must read’ list.

Looking for more book club notes?

See all book club notes