Olivia And Jai
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Olivia And Jai (Olivia and Jai #1)

4.14 of 5 stars 4.14  ·  rating details  ·  637 ratings  ·  78 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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The Silver Devil by Teresa DenysThis Other Eden by Marilyn HarrisOlivia And Jai by Rebecca RymanThe Flesh and the Devil by Teresa DenysZemindar by Valerie Fitzgerald
Great books that deserve a re-issue
3rd out of 88 books — 50 voters
Rebecca by Daphne du MaurierKatherine by Anya SetonThe Far Pavilions by M.M. KayeAnne of Green Gables by L.M. MontgomeryThe Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart
Gems from the Past
50th out of 322 books — 311 voters


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Community Reviews

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Marquise
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
Anna
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...more
Misfit
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...more
Dorcas
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)...more
Oriana
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....more
Laura
Dec 21, 2009 Laura rated it 5 of 5 stars
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.
Sherron
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
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...more
Mitzi
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.
Joanne
Proudly added to my "favorites" shelf! Move over, Trade Wind and Zemindar, and make room for Olivia and Jai!
Dinjolina
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!
Linda
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...more
Susanne
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
Erin
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
Patty
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
Nova
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...more
LCW
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
Clara
Jan 31, 2009 Clara rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
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
Tiff
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.
Danny
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!!!
Nikki
Nov 21, 2010 Nikki rated it 5 of 5 stars
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...more
Heather
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
Elif
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,...more
Captaincow
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...more
Kristina Jo
So, after one of the ladies from my church's knitting group loaned me this novel, along with two others she thought I might enjoy, it took me forever to actually start reading them. Olivia and Jai is the first of them, and really, I'm dern glad that I waited. Dolores offered these books during my semester at school, and if I had started reading this right away, I would have died (figuratively). This is not a lighthearted, temporary escape from life; this is an epic. It isn't meant to be read in...more
Claudia Michelli


Olivia and Jai is a lavish and beautifully written story about a strong, willful and intelligent young American woman and her passionate love for the equally powerful and sensitive so called half-caste Indian Jai Raventhorne. She has definitely met her match in him although the story line is mostly about the detailed workings of Olivia's mind and emotions, her feelings for him and her calculating motives for the actions and interactions with the people in her life. There are more references to J...more
Naima
oh wow. this is one of those books that i could not put down after i got hooked. i stayed up early into the morning because i could not stop without knowing how it ended. I loved this book. Like Gone With The Wind loved this book.

Although it is romantic and has a happy ending, I found myself so caught up in the twists of the plot and the changes the characters go through that the romance between Olivia and Jai became of lesser importance (in regards to my enjoyment of the book) that enjoying wha...more
Danielle O
This is a very long book-- 644 pages. And it wasn't until I was about a quarter of the way through that I really got into it. However, if you can get through the first 200 pages, this book is well worth the read!

If you love novelists like Austen or the Brontes, you will truly enjoy Olivia and Jai. It is written very similarly to nineteenth century British novels and with similar themes.

This book is the ultimate love story, but it's also full of revenge, conflict, and hatred. It takes place in...more
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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...
Shalimar The Veil of Illusion Wer Dornen sät Wer Dornen sät

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