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Olivia And Jai

(Olivia and Jai #1)

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  1,113 ratings  ·  108 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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Average rating 4.14  · 
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 ·  1,113 ratings  ·  108 reviews

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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 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
Dec 18, 2008 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.
Jan 20, 2012 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 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 woma
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. ...more
Proudly added to my "favorites" shelf! Move over, Trade Wind and Zemindar, and make room for Olivia and Jai!
Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~*
This time reading ( 3rd ) I was able to get into the story/plot and characters a lot better.
Sometimes got a little lost in the politics of it and customs, but not enough to put down.
That being said..I was hoping for a stronger an "Afterwords" or "Epilogue?"
I dont think I will be reading the second book though, reviews have it no romance and lots of history and politics.
Apr 29, 2012 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!
Jun 03, 2012 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
Jan 22, 2012 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 12, 2017 rated it it was ok
This is actually the second time I read Olivia and Jai--it's a favorite book of a favorite cousin, and I reread it before giving it back to her. I....regretted it. The book is a page-turner that kept me in its thrall to the end, but it was a joyless experience, and one for which I'm glad it's over.

The Plot In 60 Seconds (without spoilers): Olivia is a headstrong (no stereotypes there!) American woman staying with her British family in 1850's Calcutta during the Raj. Her uncle is a merchant who
Jan 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loooooooved this book !!
All about it is amazing! The writing, the story, the characters, the historical background EVERYTHING!!

I sincerely recommend it, it is splendid!

I think it has become one of my favorite books, probably my second one.
In my opinion, the worst and the best thing about it is that it is so realistic it can be the kind of story that happened in that period and that's probably what I preferred!
Shameeka Alexis
After I read the synopsis, I had high hopes for the book. It is, of course, set in colonial India. And as an Indian, I wanted the book to do justice to it.

And my, oh my, it did!

Olivia And Jai was twisted, dark, and I must say, I really enjoyed some bits. But then again, there were many bits I absolutely hated.

I will first start off by talking about the stuff I liked:

* The setting, as I had mentioned earlier, was close to perfection. Ryman had portrayed Colonial India beautifully and did a won
Oct 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
When I finished reading this book I felt like I was leaving people that I knew behind- I was going to miss them and I did.

Set in India in the 19th century- this was a really well written book - I enjoyed reading about the history and business and cultural differences. It was all accurate and consuming. Surprisingly all the business talk Olivia did with her uncle was interesting and set the background of what was to come later in the book.

Amidst all the business and cultural conflict Olivia and J
Sep 08, 2012 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
☮ 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 everything and find solace in each other !! The author crafted a multi-layered, emotional romance worth investing in. I would call the book an oldie but goodie kind, since it was written in the 80's.
This dramatic compelling plot grabs our attention and tugs at our heartstrings !! Read it :) Cheers
Feb 28, 2010 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!!!
Oct 18, 2011 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.
Jan 04, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Really enjoyable read.
Michelle Pickett
Jan 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
One of my all time favorite books. I read it at least once a year.
May 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites

The first half of this book was stunning. It was a melting pot of vivid imagery, lavish description, and historical background that wasn't heavy-handed or forced. It maintained a finely detailed and fascinating setting, a brooding, villainous hero, and an intelligent, determined heroine. It was a page-turner and I was spellbound. Honestly, the first 200 pages were some of the finest I have ever read. The clandestine meetings, the mystique, the teeming, secret alleyways of 1848 Calcutta
Kristin Boes
Nov 05, 2017 rated it liked it
About a third of the way through the book, Olivia is reading "Wuthering Heights", and I found this hilarious because this book tries to set itself up as a Colonial Indian "Wuthering Heights". It features a couple who aren't especially likable individuals, whose tumble into 'desperate passion' is not particularly plausible, and who spend most of the book treating each other terribly and suffering the consequences. (Can you tell I'm not a fan of WH?) And yet... I didn't truly dislike this book. I ...more
This is in the top 4 of good romances in 18oo India.
Because of the time period I expected to read about the Sepoy revolt and generally more blood and gore but it never touched on that part of history. This was entirely a romance about Olivia and Jai, their emotions, mistakes, personal revenge wars set in Calcutta.
At first I despised Olivia for being so naive, trusting, and slavish to Jai and his whims but after the climax she toughens up and focuses on revenge which was entertaining and made up
Oct 20, 2018 rated it liked it
I expected more of an MM Kaye type book here. Not in quality necessarily (because honestly MMK is untouchable), but in striking a nice balance—90% history, with maybe 10% (if that) of the book touching on romance. This was history lite, and too much romance for my taste. I kept thinking “seriously, another conversation between these two?!” Great plot though.
Mar 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is an exceptional book. It loses a star because it did drag here and there. Also, there is only one intimate scene, but it was very well done.

It is angsty and it could quite possibly break your heart. I lost sleep over it and I don't regret it a bit.
May 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I read this book many years ago and absolutely loved it. It had a slow start and I remember that I wasn’t sure I wanted to continue to invest the time, but it ended up being one of my absolute favorites. I ended up reading it several times.
Feb 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
one of my all time favorite books!
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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.

Other books in the series

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

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