Title: The Tea Planter’s Wife
Author: Dinah Jefferies
Publisher: Crown Publishing
Genre: Fiction; Goodreads
Date Published: September 13, 2016
Date Read/Completed: January 21, 2018
My rating: 5/5 stars
Plot: In this lush, sexy, atmospheric page-turner, a young Englishwoman, 19-year-old Gwendolyn, marries a rich and seductively mysterious widower, Laurence Hooper, after a whirlwind romance in London. When she joins him at his Ceylon tea plantation, she’s certain she’ll be the perfect wife and, someday, mother. But life in Ceylon is not what Gwen expected. The plantation workers are resentful, the neighbors, and her new sister-in-law, treacherous. Gwen finds herself drawn to a Singhalese man of questionable intentions and worries about the propriety of her husband’s connection to an American widow. But most troubling are the terrible secrets in Laurence’s past that soon come to light and force Gwen to make a devastating choice. What happened to his first wife? And will the darkness of his past destroy their marriage and Gwen’s chance at happiness? Set in rich and exotic 1920s Ceylon, The Tea Planter’s Wife is an utterly engrossing, compulsive page-turner that climaxes with more than one heartbreaking twist.
Review: I was not expecting to like this book as much as I did mainly due to the fact that it was in a genre I don’t read much of. Although this story did have an air of mystery to it, what I found most compelling was the way the author described the scenery surrounding Gwen, the main character, and her husband Laurence. The characters in the book were so interesting and different that I immediately was sucked into the plot. Gwen moved to Ceylon with her husband and becomes pregnant soon after. Her cousin, Fran, whom she is very close to comes to visit which makes Gwen’s adjustment much easier. Laurence’s sister, Verity, is a nosey pain in the butt and acts more like Laurence’s mistress than his sister. Christine, “the American”, also seem as if she is throwing herself at Laurence at times but I loved the fact that Gwen was onto her from the very beginning. Laurence was married once before and his wife and child had passed away. As Gwen digs deeper into Laurence’s past and then realizes his past is deeply connected to her own big secret, her world starts to close in on her. Is it too late for Gwen or can she salvage her marriage and tell her loved ones her secret? This was a read that went so fast and was so intense that I would encourage anyone who doesn’t normally read this type of story to pick it up and give it a try.