The Tea Planter's Wife

  • Author Dinah Jefferies
  • Release Date September 13, 2016
  • Publisher Crown
  • ISBN/ASIN 978-0-451-49597-6
  • Our Rating
  • Reviewed by Dalison

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Our Review

In 1925, young, innocent Gwendolyn Hooper leaves her native England to join her new husband in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and steps into an exotic and alien world full of racial tensions and family secrets she does not understand. Immediately upon her arrival, she meets an attractive and cultured Sinhalese man, Savi Ravasinghe, whose help she is grateful for, but whose almost mesmerizing sensuality she cannot quite ignore. But even the mention of the man’s name sparks something—resentment? anger?—in her handsome tea planter husband, Laurence.

To add to Gwen’s confusion, the loving and romantic man she married in England seems distant and aloof once they arrive at his plantation. Gwen begins to wonder if Laurence’s affections lie elsewhere, perhaps with the confident and worldly woman who advises him on financial matters. But the more Gwen tries to understand the situation, the more complicated it becomes. As she explores the plantation, she discovers unsettling mementos from the past—reminders of Laurence’s first marriage, which no one seems to want to talk about. Then there is his troubling sister Verity, who comes to live with them. Why does she take every opportunity to come between Gwen and Laurence? Before long, Gwen has a dark secret of her own to keep—a secret that, if discovered, may ruin her marriage.

The TEA PLANTER’S WIFE spans almost a decade in the life of this family, and for me, there were times when it really slowed down. Still, it is a highly atmospheric story, rich in details of time and place, suppressed secrets, and passions. Love, hate, and the heartbreaking misunderstandings caused by allowing the past to fester in darkness all add up to a good read.

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