I couldn't help kinda sorta feeling that this book was intentionally crafted to appeal to Sarah Waters fans. But my feeling could be attributed to the fact that I had Waters' 'The Little Stranger next on my queue, and was impatient to start it.
The Sandalwood Tree isn't as good as Waters - but it's still an enjoyable book.; I very much enjoyed the vivid depictions of rural India. However, I felt that the connection between the American woman in India in 1947 and the Victorian lady in the same location in the mid-1800's was a bit forced (the various discoveries of the earlier woman's letters &c became progressively less believable),
I also personally would have preferred more glimpses of events from a local's perspective, rather than only from the foreigners' - it would have made a nice contrast. And the focus on the Americans' marital troubles got a bit Lifetime-y at times, and detracted from the more interesting (to me) social issues that were also brought up by the story.
(Oh, just a note - I love the cover. It looks like an ad for a Merchant Ivory movie... it's why I picked it up.)