The Tea Planter’s Wife by Dinah Jefferies
Penguin (e-book), 2015
I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for a review from NetGalley.
Nineteen-year-old Gwendolyn Hooper is newly married to a rich and charming widower, eager to join him on his tea plantation, determined to be the perfect wife and mother.
But life in Ceylon is not what Gwen expected. The plantation workers are resentful, the neighbours treacherous. And there are clues to the past – a dusty trunk of dresses, an overgrown gravestone in the grounds – that her husband refuses to discuss.
Just as Gwen finds her feet, disaster strikes. She faces a terrible choice, hiding the truth from almost everyone, but a secret this big can’t stay buried forever.
The woman held a slim white envelope to her lips.
The Tea Planter’s Wife is a lovely book. The novel is beautifully written and researched. I loved the setting in Ceylon. The author brings colonial life to brilliant, vivid life. I found myself sucked deep into Gwendolyn’s life as I read. I thought she was a great character. She was very real. My heart went out to her. I wished she could have left Laurence and found someone who treated her decently and with some respect, not a creep with secrets. Her choice is the secret that forms the heart of the novel. Secrets can tear you apart. I loved the way this is handled in the novel. The Tea Planter’s Wife is vivid, rich and atmospheric. The world of Laurence and Gwendolyn was so real I could smell and taste everything and feel the heat of Ceylon on my skin. The Tea Planter’s Wife is unforgettable, sad and touching.