After I finished this book, I popped online for a minute to see what other reviewers thought... and the top reviews were all on website geared to reviewing fiction for gay men. That pretty much nails the book just right.... boy, have I hit on a number of duds recently, eh?
That said, the historical context was very vividly laid out and the sideline characters were interesting. The novel takes place in Ceylon in the 1920's - much of the story is based on the politics of the time as the wealthy Ceylonese community negotiates with the British steps towards independance, and the middle-lower class workers meet, strike and riot to raise awareness of the need for self-government.
At the same time, you see the younger generation rebel against the strict rules and regulations set by their parents and grandparents - some finding freedom, and some simply accepting the limits imposed on them.
However, the main storyline remains the "romance" between Balendran and Richard.... ugghhh.