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Olivia And Jai (Olivia and Jai #1)

4.11  ·  Rating Details  ·  850 Ratings  ·  86 Reviews
Set in 1840s India, this tale of star-crossed lovers packs a powerful punch. When Olivia, a forthright young American, comes to live with her very proper British relatives, she falls headlong into love with angry, half-caste Jai. Olivia believes nothing will ever diminish her love for Jai, but can it withstand the terrible revenge he is planning to take on the people who b ...more
Hardcover, 644 pages
Published April 29th 1993 (first published January 1st 1990)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,513)
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I have a big problem with novels set in colonial India: they all have to measure up, whether I will it or no, to the arch-famous “The Far Pavilions,” that by virtue of reading it first as much as its author’s craftiness, is the golden standard for me personally. That has resulted in my experience reading all the other books with the same setting less enjoyable in some way. Novel X is inferior even if by the same author, Novel Y is too much of a wannabe and a poorer copy at that, Novel Z has a ch ...more
What a weird, twisted book. Wow, I can't believe how much I hate this! And yet I still read 300 pages in hopes that I was mistaken, in hopes that Jai wasn't a psychopath and Olivia really did have a brain in her head ...nope

OK, I read my share of misunderstood heroes. But this nut case really takes the cake! Jai is constantly berating, criticizing, scorning and snubbing Olivia and the more abusive he is, the more she swoons over him.

Example:(view spoiler)
Rating: 4.5 stars

Screwed-up brooding badboys make my heart and loins a-flutter, and Jai is one hell of a tortured soul. Born in 19th century India to an Indian serving girl and an unknown Englishman, he belongs to neither community and has spent his life enraged and embittered. He's ruthlessly built up his business empire, and just as ruthlessly has built a barrier around himself. He cares for nothing or no-one, his black heart angry and alone. Yum.

Olivia is a feisty young American, sent to li
Aug 20, 2008 Misfit rated it it was amazing
A fabulous tale of star crossed lovers in 19C India. The story begins in Calcutta in 1848 as Olivia O'Rourke arrives from California to spend time with her mother's sister, Lady Bridget Templewood. Used to the freer life she shared with her father, Olivia chafes under the rigid morals of British Society, but then she accidentally meets a man reviled by her family, Jai Ravenstone. Jai is a Eurasian with a mysterious past who against all odds built up a successful shipping empire.

Despite her fami
Olivia & Jai is one of those books with a slight old fashioned feeling that left a wonderful impression the first time I read it a couple years ago. I wanted to reread it and see if the magic still worked.

We first meet Olivia O’Rourke, a 23 years old American with an unusual education and lots of character, during her stay in India where she spends a year with her maternal aunt, Lady Bridget Templewood, and her family. The young woman is completely in love for this new land and its culture.
Dec 21, 2009 Laura rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Laura by: Misfit
How to describe such magnificent book except by saying that : it MUST be read. It is not a love story in the strictu sensu, on the contrary, it shows how love is close to hate. The plot engages us into the story of India still under British rule where a lot of social conventions and prejudice among other factors. The end still brings big and unexpected surprises, I won't spoil this fabulous end. There is sequel to this book, The Veil of Illusion.
Sep 18, 2012 Sherron rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: keeper, india
Loved Loved Loved it!! Why can't all books be this good. My only complaint is I wish it had an epilogue. I read some mixed reviews on the sequel and I'm not sure that I should read it.
Historical Tapestry
Dec 19, 2009 Historical Tapestry rated it it was amazing
Shelves: alex-reviews, 2009
Olivia & Jai is one of those books with a slight old fashioned feeling that left a wonderful impression the first time I read it a couple years ago. After writing my Why I Love...Historical Fiction set in India, I wanted to reread it and see if the magic still worked.

We first meet Olivia O’Rourke, a 23 years old American with an unusual education and lots of character, during her stay in India where she spends a year with her maternal aunt, Lady Bridget Templewood, and her family. The young
Book 1 of 2. Great Book & Great love story. Ends with a cliffhanger not knowing if the Hero survives. I wish this author had done a series type book like Diana Gabaldon did with Outlander series. So many possibilities.....but unfortunately, she doesn't and the next book is so depressing and sad that I can't recommend this book to anyone.
Proudly added to my "favorites" shelf! Move over, Trade Wind and Zemindar, and make room for Olivia and Jai!
Apr 29, 2012 Dinjolina rated it really liked it
Weird, horrible, dark….but also thrilling.
Lies, deceit, but also love. And forgiveness.
Whole lifetimes of unhappiness, but a bitter sweet hope that last.

It hurt me, it draqined me, but I still loved it!
Jul 21, 2012 Linda rated it really liked it
Rebecca Ryman, or Asha Bhanjdeo as her real name was, was brilliant at describing emotions, and people's reactions and behavior, and was very convincing in her writing.
I like these kind of books, where the present can only be described by the past, where people are products of a dark society and how they finally break through this barrier of hate they have developed. I have seen them before, Heathcliff, Mr De Winter, Jean Valjean are examples, and they are very well crafted. So are Jai Raventhor
Mar 03, 2015 Susanne rated it it was ok
I like a good romance from time to time and a romance set in an exotic locale is an added plus -- but I expect the setting and time-frame to feel authentic. I object STRONGLY to 600 plus pages of overblown melodrama supposedly set in the 1840s in British India with characters that speak and act as if it were 1950. How in the world can a character like Estelle, cosseted young miss from a prominent British family exclaim: "I say, wasn't old Lady B an absolute scream this afternoon? As for your fac ...more
Sep 13, 2012 Erin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, romance
This book was just delightful. The setting is just breathtaking and made me wish I could go back in time to India in the 1850s. Olivia is an American visiting her British aunt in India. While at a party, she steps outside, tired of the insipid revelers and she meets Jai Raventhorne, a man with a HUGE chip in his shoulder, and it is the beginning of the end for pretty much her entire family. Of course, the title makes it pretty clear that these two characters are going to fall besottedly in love ...more
May 28, 2013 Patty rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Tendré cuidado de no destripar demasiado, ya que lo que vale la pena son los giros, sorpresas de la trama y las sensaciones que deja atrás, esta historia debo aceptar en un principio no me cautivaba demasiado (en las primeras páginas) pero rápidamente me sumergí en la India colonial, para ser más precisos, en Calcuta a mitad del siglo XIX, donde los ingleses eran los amos y señores de aquellas tierras bastas y exóticas, donde como grandes conquistadores intentaban imponer su hegemonía sobre el p ...more
Apr 12, 2016 Sherri rated it it was amazing
I first read Olivia and Jai years ago and I've read probably thousands of books since, but I have never forgotten this book or the dynamic main characters, Olivia and Jai. There are also a number of very well developed and interesting secondary characters. Rebecca Ryman is a master of characterization and rarely have I read a book where the characters and the setting come alive to this degree. There are so many layers to the characters and to the plot that each revelation throughout its perfectl ...more
Feb 07, 2014 Nova rated it it was amazing
Shelves: years-story
Amazing stories about love and life with a lot of secret and hatred in it.

Olivia O'rourke datang ke Calcutta untuk tinggal selama setahun bersama keluarga bibinya. Kehidupan keluarga Inggris di Calcutta dirasanya membosankan apalagi sang bibi selalu melarangnya mendekati kehidupan orang-orang asli India yang justru terlihat menarik di mata Olivia.

Sampai ia bertemu Jai Raventhorne suatu malam. Laki-laki native misterius, sinis, ditakuti sekaligus dibenci mayoritas orang asing di Calcutta. Laki-la
Oct 14, 2014 Grace rated it it was amazing
Wow!!! How will I ever do without Olivia and Jai? Reading this story set in India is exciting because it is so different from the U.S. I was engaged very quickly as the premise of the story is a great on! I dived right in and was intrigued quickly as the descriptions, colors, smells and people were described in beautiful detail. I could picture myself there very easily and was thoroughly mesmerized by the story and it's lavishness! Oh wow! Jai! What a creature! To study his character and pain, a ...more
Feb 01, 2014 LCW rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This story is set in India some 20 or so years before the Sepoy rebellion. Olivia is an American who is in India for an extended visit with her Aunt, who is married to a British tea merchant. One day while trying to escape a boring ball she goes outside for some air and privacy. Ending up down by the river, she crosses paths with Jai Raventhorne, a dark, brooding, and mysterious Eurasian. For reasons unknown to them they are drawn to each other with an intensity that is both exhilarating and fri ...more
☮ mary
This novel was a fascinating but painful love story, it unfolded among betrayals and heartache ... Jai and Olivia were doomed from the start but the readers cannot help but hope they can overcome everthing and find solace with each other !! The author crafted a multi-layered, emotional romance worth investing in; the eighties, dramatic compelling plot grabs our attention and tugs at our heartstrings !! read it people :) cheers
Jan 31, 2009 Clara rated it really liked it
Recommended to Clara by: Mom, Margaret
Olivia and Jai... it took me a while to like the book. For the longest time, I couldn't relate to any of the characters, didn't care what happened to any of them, etc. It's a very long book and was hard to get through maybe even the first half. But as it went on and the romance of Olivia and Jai progressed, I began to enjoy it. It's kind of a combination cheap romance novel and epic tale.
Elaine Kimery
Jun 24, 2014 Elaine Kimery rated it it was amazing
I read this book years ago, but I just had to add this to my books here. It is a huge book, but it doesn't feel like one when you are reading it. This is another one of my all time favorite books!!!! It is a love story, but it is storytelling at it's best,..I wanted to visit India after reading this, and I did not want the book to end, even as huge as it was. I am not one for reading books a second or third time, unless they bring back such wonderful memories of reading it, and this one does. I ...more
Oct 18, 2011 Tiff rated it it was amazing
This book is absolutely amazing. It has ruined me for so many other books that would have been decent, had I not experienced what a REAL book/story is all about! I recommend this to all book lovers.
Mar 07, 2010 Danny rated it it was amazing
A must-read for everyone who loves dark mysterious man and Jai is exactly that and enjoys a big epic love story! Gosh, Jai is awesome!!!
Michelle Pickett
One of my all time favorite books. I read it at least once a year.
Jan 20, 2012 Marg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Really enjoyable read.
Sep 03, 2015 Nikki rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Those who enjoy an old-time style novel in the vein of Gone With The Wind
This novel was well-written and written in a style that would make one believe it was actually written around the time the events in the novel occurred. However, it was not done in a stuffy, dull sort of way as so many novels from the era have been written. The characters immediately grab you and make you want to read more about their lives and about what is to come.

The first half of the novel I would call the Indian Gone With The Wind. It definitely had the feel of that novel and the characters
Jan 22, 2013 Heather rated it liked it
I started this book on a recommendation from a friend, and it took for-ev-er for me to get into it. This is not the kind of book I usually pick out for myself, so I think that is why I was reluctant to read it. Until about 200 pages into it I just didn't care too much about what was going on. Jai is one of those brooding, tormented types that women tend to swoon over, and I knew Olivia would fall in love with him just because he was dark and forbidden. (For some reason I have an issue with the w ...more
Sep 22, 2012 Elif rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Meine Meinung
„Wer Liebe verspricht“ hielt ich anfangs für einen sehr kitschigen Titel, doch jetzt, nachdem ich das Buch gelesen habe, könnte ich mir keinen passenderen vorstellen. Doch nicht nur der Titel haben mich anfangs skeptisch gemacht – wäre mir das Buch nicht wärmstens empfohlen worden, ich hätte das Buch wahrscheinlich nicht gelesen, da mein Interesse bislang nicht bei der indischen Kolonialzeit lag. Doch so kann man sich irren.
Wenige Seiten haben ausgereicht und ich war so gefesselt,
Ich war mal der festen Überzeugung, dass historische Romane nichts für mich sind. Aber scheinbar hatte ich immer nur die falschen Romane in der Hand. Zahlreiche Bücher, die in den vergangenen 200 Jahren in Asien spielen, konnten mich vom Gegenteil überzeugen. Zuletzt war das eben "Wer Liebe verspricht" von Rebecca Ryman.

Wer Liebesgeschichten oder dicke Bücher nicht besonders mag, dem würde ich von diesem Buch abraten. Aber allen anderen kann ich es nur empfehlen! Rebecca Ryman versteht es, den L
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Rebecca Ryman is the pen name of an Indian writer, Asha Bhanjdeo, who only wrote three books under this name: Olivia & Jai, The Veil of Illusions (the sequel of Olivia & Jai) and Shalimar. She died in Calcutta in 2003.
More about Rebecca Ryman...

Other Books in the Series

Olivia and Jai (2 books)
  • The Veil of Illusion

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