NetGalley Top Reviewer

NetGalley Top Reviewer
NetGalley Top Reviewer

Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Tea Planter's Wife by Dinah Jefferies

4.0 out of 5 stars -- Richly detailed historical fiction set in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) circa 1920s and 1930s when it was a British Crown colony.

Gwendolyn Hooper, 19 years old, arrives in Ceylon as a new bride. She has married Laurence, an older widower, and left England to start her new life there with him. The plantation and surrounding holdings are beautiful, wild, vast and profitable, and even though Laurence seems a little distant at first, Gwen settles into her new home. She soon discovers that life in Ceylon is quite different from what she has known, and finds it hard to adjust to the customs and racial issues that separate the owners from the plantation workers. When she becomes pregnant, she is more determined than ever to be a support to her husband, a gracious hostess, and a good mother. Unfortunately, trouble first arrives when Laurence's sister, Verity, comes to the island and starts to interfere. Gwen also has many questions and concerns about Laurence's previous wife. There is also the matter of her interaction with a Sinhalese artist, Savi Ravasinghe and an American businesswoman named Christina Bradshaw. Things go from uncomfortable to crisis when Gwen gives birth. That's when the drama begins.

I enjoyed this novel though I often became irritated with Gwen and her inability to communicate with Laurence. Put down to her age and immaturity, I could rationalize some of the decisions she made, but truly it got old and annoying. Much of what transpired would not have happened if she hadn't been so insecure, but again, she was away from everyone she knew and loved, homesick, in a strange land with ideas that ran contrary to established habit in the household and in the operation of the plantation. Somewhat predictable, the conclusion was satisfactory. I did love learning more about this place during that time period and would recommend it to any fan of the novels of authors such as Deanna Raybourn. I would definitely read another book by Dinah Jefferies.

Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Books (UK) for the e-book ARC to review.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for blogging about this book, I just started reading it. The first chapter has me hook. I look forward to where this book goes.