Tuesday 25 August 2015

Review: the Tea Planter's Wife by Dinah Jefferies

the Tea Planter's Wife by Dinah Jefferies
Penguin Books UK
Release date:  3 September 2015
Rating: **** 
Back cover blurb: 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 Tea Planter's wife is a beautifully written historical novel, my first by author Dinah Jefferies.

Gwendolyn Hooper is just nineteen years old when she leaves England to join her new husband, a tea planter in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). Aboard the ship she meets a handsome stranger; Savi Ravasinghe, who claims to know her husband. She is taken in by Savi’s charm and grateful of his company when she loses her husband’s instructions for meeting at the port, over the side of the ship.

Laurence Hooper is an intriguing and charismatic man, devastated by the death of his first wife Caroline and their child, but determined to love Gwendolyn and give her everything she needs to run the household whilst he runs his tea business.

But Laurence’s sister, Verity and brash American friend Christina do little to make Gwendolyn welcome. Both of them are jealous of her arrival in their own way, for she has taken Laurence’s affections away from them. Something neither of them is used to.

Gwendolyn is in turn wary of both Verity and Christina as both of them seem to have a hold over Laurence that she cannot break through. Gwendolyn is convinced that Laurence is hiding secrets about his previous wife and child, but she cannot get him to open up to her.

When she becomes pregnant unexpectedly, Gwendolyn is faced with making a sudden, life changing decision that will have consequences far reaching in to the future for all of the family. Will her new family bring her closer to her husband? Or will Gwen's devastating secret tear the family apart?

I really don't want to give any more of the wonderful plot away, so I am reluctant to say much more, but the Tea Planter's Wife is a novel that you should definitely try for yourself.

The Tea Planter's wife is evidently well researched and as a tea lover, I really enjoyed reading about the tea producing process. Hats off to Dinah Jefferies for a wonderful thought provoking novel.

The Tea Planter's wife is available from 03 September 2015
You can pre-order it now from Amazon online and Penguin Books UK

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Thank you to the publishers who approved my request via netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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