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Desire, love and betrayal in the tea plantations of Sri Lanka


by Patricia Weerakoon

Patricia Weerakoon, sexologist and author, turned to personal experience when writing Empire’s Children.

The novel, which is set in the tea plantations of Sri Lanka, brought back many childhood memories.

“I am a Tea maker’s daughter,” said Patricia. “The rigid boundaries between natives, Indians and British were a part of my life. This story is a dedication to my Sri Lankan parents and the Indian ‘coolie’ labourers who worked in appalling conditions under the British Raj of the colonial empire.”

Empire’s Children tells the story of Shiro, the native Tea maker’s daughter and her friendship with Lakshmi, the daughter of an Indian tea plucker. They should not have been friends – but they were. It also tells the story of Anthony and William Ashley Cooper, the sons of the British owner of the tea plantations. The Ashley-Coopers should never have had any contact with the girls – but they did. Their destinies are woven together in the dying years of white British rule in the tea plantations of Sri Lanka.

The result is a tale of love and sex in all its complexity, reluctant passion and innocent faith, of power and abuse and one man’s longing to make reparation.

Patricia Weerakoon is a medical doctor turned sexologist and writer. She retired in 2012 after a distinguished career as director of an internationally renowned graduate program in sexual health at the University of Sydney to pursue her passion for writing and public speaking. Her nonfiction books Teen Sex: By the Book; Growing up: By the Book and The Best Sex for Life are gold-standard guides for good sexual practice. Patricia is currently an honorary academic with the University of Sydney. She is also a popular public speaker and social commentator at schools, churches and conferences in Australia.


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