> 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? 

The Tea Gardens Fiona McIntosh

A heartbreaking story about the pursuit of passion by the bestselling author of The Chocolate Tin.

Buy now
Buy now

More features

See all
Book clubs
The Spy's Wife book club notes

Much loved author Fiona McIntosh is back with an historical adventure to enjoy with your book club.

Book clubs
Mirror Man book club notes

Ponder whether one life is worth more than another with Fiona McIntosh's latest thriller.

Book clubs
The Champagne War book club notes

Sweep your book club off to the sun-kissed vineyards of rural France.

Book clubs
The Diamond Hunter book club notes

Fiona McIntosh's new historical blockbuster is sure to spark an engaging book club conversation. 

Researching The Tea Gardens

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

Fiona McIntosh on writing a 'fish out of water' tale

The much-loved author chats to us about researching The Spy's Wife on the cusp of the pandemic starting, studying 1930s German history and baking cherry cakes.

Fiona McIntosh on DCI Jack Hawksworth

The bestselling author discusses tapping back into Jack's world, twisty-turny stories and her favourite crime dramas.

Let us tell you a story

Australian authors and personalities read some of our favourite picture books.

A Champagne sojourn

Fiona McIntosh shares five surprising facts she learned while researching The Champagne War.

What you should read next based on your fave Netflix shows

Done binging the latest TV sensation? Pick up a book and keep the good times rolling. 

Growing up in Ghana

Fiona McIntosh on her colourful childhood in Africa and how this influenced The Diamond Hunter. 

Diamonds, De Beers and diggers

We sat down with Fiona McIntosh to hear all about bringing the 1870s to life in The Diamond Hunter.

Looking for more book club notes?

See all book club notes