The Tea Planter's Wife: A Novel

The Tea Planter's Wife: A Novel

by Dinah Jefferies


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The Tea Planter's Wife 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you want a good read that hooks you from the first page, this book is for you. Set in Ceylon (Sri Lanka today) on a lush British tea plantation during the days of British rule, a story of secrets unfolds as a young, new wife, Gwen, struggles to find her place in a world of castes and unpleasant prejudices. The plantation itself is a major character in the book and the author's beautiful descriptions of it are as important as the plot line. You are enchanted by it but the need to know the family secrets keeps you intrigued to the point you can't put the book down. Well worth read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed every page ...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While I agree that the characters of Laurence and Gwen were a bit underdeveloped, it didn't affect my enjoyment of the book. I really wasn't sure how it was going to end, but it was a happy ending.
alinefromabook More than 1 year ago
Journey to 1920’s Ceylon in this deeply engrossing family drama. Gwendolyn, a young Englishwoman, marries Laurence, the owner of a tea plantation in Ceylon, and travels there to begin their life together. She knows his first wife has died but he is reluctant to share details with her. Gwen loves the home that she now finds herself in charge of and gradually takes over the running of the household. Before long she finds herself pregnant and the two eagerly anticipate the arrival of the child. But there are secrets in this household and forces determined to undermine them. This drama covers the first 10 years of Gwen and Laurence’s marriage and follows them through the challenges of life as plantation owners. The story touches on issues of discrimination and the changes taking place in the culture at the time. I thought the author did a great job of navigating these issues in a way that doesn’t distract from the story but is an integral part of it. Gwendolyn is a lovely young lady who is dropped into a completely different culture and the job of running a large household at the tender age of 19. She must carefully navigate some very troubled waters but comes out stronger every time. Laurence is a good man but he has his flaws and all of this comes out in the book. I felt like I really got to know these two in an intimate way throughout the story. Finally, the author gives wonderful descriptions of the foliage and landscape of Ceylon. This is a sweeping story that takes the reader from England to Ceylon to New York and back again. Really well done!
tizay16 More than 1 year ago
Vivid, Poignant, Moving Before I received this book, I was thinking it was going to be a drag to read and actually finish. As I began the book, it seemed like the pages came to life. Jefferies uses language that puts you in Ceylon, see the colors, feel the heat of the sun, and hear the jungle around you. This is one of the books I've read that I was really immersed sensorily. Based on the synopsis, I believed I would have trouble relating to Gwen because she sounded like the demure and submissive type, but boy was I wrong! All the characters are brought to life with real human characteristics and aspects that you would be able to relate to. The characters make choices that lead their lives in various directions that include greatness and heart break. I had trouble putting the book down because of its many twists and turns, mystery, political unrest, history, romance, etc. As I finished the book, I was moved. Frankly, I finished the book in the hot tub crying tears of many emotions (lol!). Great read and very much recommend!
Mirella More than 1 year ago
Whenever I see the label "International Bestseller" on the cover of a book, I always know I can buy it and never have any regrests! This fact alone, along with the stunning cover of this novel, made it a must read for me. And I was not disappointed. I adore family dramas, and this is one that is set in Ceylon in the early 1900's. Beautiful descriptions of scenery, customs, and characters, made the story spring into authentic life. First there is Gwen who travels from England to Ceylon to join her new husband on his plantation. Secondly, there is Verity, her needy sister-in-law who causes problems for Gwen and comes between her and her husband. Thirdly, there is her husband Laurence, whose love for her slowly cools for no obvious reason. And lastly, there is the raw political climate of Ceylon with all its cultural expectations and problems. To say Gwen experiences culture shock, is a gross understatement. With plenty of underlying conflicts, some blatant, some subversive, this book became a real page turner for me. There was always something going on, something that engaged me, and something that drew upon my emotions. And slowly secrets are revealed as people put their own machinations into play. Yup, this was entertaining at all levels. Definitely a fun, engaging book. It's no wonder it is an International Best Seller. Well worth it for entertainment value!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is more for readers of historical fiction than mystery. To parts of the book, I would give a five star rating parts of the book I would give a three start rating (hence the four star review). The positives of the book is that it gives a dynamic and beautiful picture of British Ceylon. I was truly intrigued about how the British tried to make a little Britain in a remote part of the world. The book was enjoyable to read and the ending gave me a jolt. Furthermore, the book is not an homage to the British Empire; the reader becomes aware of problems. One negative of the book is that we don't see the heroine's courtship with her husband. Problems in her marriage start right away. It would have been nice to see what their initial romance was like. This may be a cultural issue since I am twenty-first century American woman and the book is about an early twentieth century English girl. Another problem I had with the book is that I found iit hard to believe that nineteen year old girl would be happy living on a remote island away from her family and friends. She seems spend a lot of time on her own and I see most nineteen year olds as wanting to have a more lively environment. This may be a cultural issue since I am twenty-first century American woman and the book is about an early twentieth century English girl; it could be that the wives of the British Empire were tough. Another aspect of the book that I found unsettling was it superficial resemblance to Daphne du Maurier's book Rebecca. In both books, young women marry older men after a short courtship. In both books the husband had a first wife who dies in somewhat mysterious circumstances. In both books there is a housekeeper who knew both the first and second wife. When I was reading the book I kept on thinking about the book Rebecca. Obviously, if you have not read the book Rebecca this will not be a problem for you. However, if you have read Rebecca this book is different and try not to think about the book Rebecca; this novel. However, despite the above reservations, I still found it an entertaining page- turner of a book where I could escape from my ordinary everyday life into Ceylon. I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
SherreyM More than 1 year ago
Set in Ceylon on a tea plantation in the 1920-30s, The Tea Planter’s Wife, by Dinah Jeffries offers not only a story of love and secrets but an interwoven history of the struggles between the Sinhalese (majority) and Tamil (minority) peoples, which later grew into a civil war lasting many years. Jeffries, in my opinion, captures the lush environment, the colorful garments of the locals, the resentments between family members (her own and the plantation staff and field workers), as well as the degree of tension felt on many levels. Not unlike the tensions of the civil rights movement in our own country, the young wife is caught off guard many times in her hope of helping the plantation workers with health issues, food scarcity, and more. Most fascinating, again in my opinion, was the lesson brought to light by Jeffries in the dangers and hurts created by well-kept secrets, especially among family. I could tell you a great deal about the book and what I’m referring to here, but to do so would show too much. The characters were all likable, most of the time, and even those who behaved badly were likable to the extent you often wanted the best for them. Once I turned the first page, my interest was captured and I couldn’t put The Tea Planter’s Wife aside until it was finished. I highly recommend to readers who enjoy historical fiction set in this time period and in an area of our world not often written about. Clearly, this author researched well and wrote about Ceylon, now Sri Lanka, in a way that was intriguing and made me want to read more. FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Penguin via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. Opinions expressed are mine.
lotsofpuppies More than 1 year ago
Gwen has traveled to Ceylon to live with her widowed husband Lawrence Hooper. Ceylon is lush and mysterious, filled with spices and an exotic atmosphere unlike any she has ever known in her young life. While Gwen strives to adapt to life on their tea plantation, she is also trying to adapt to being a wife and managing a large household. This is not as easy as she had once thought, especially when she must also cope with a sister-in-law who is uncommonly affectionate with her brother, Lawrence's ex-lover who is now a business partner, an abrupt plantation manager, and a native population on the brink of civil war. Just when Gwen begins to settle in and enjoy her beloved future in Ceylon a terrible event occurs that places all that she loves and holds dear on the brink of disaster. The Tea Planter's Wife was a wonderful novel! I loved the story while also learning about the unrest that occurred in Ceylon during the first part of the twentieth century. Dinah Jefferies has written a wonderful novel and I look forward to reading more from her in the future. Thank you to LibraryThing for choosing me as an Early Reviewer of this novel!
Darcy714 More than 1 year ago
The Tea Planters Wife is a historical fiction novel with a Gothic twist by author Dinah Jefferies. The story picks up with youthful and naïve Gwen Hooper, a newlywed traveling for the first time to her new home in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) where she will live with her new husband Laurence. Laurence is a widower with a shadowed past and the secrets he keeps from his previous marriage come back to haunt both him and Gwen who is soon faced with her own secrets. The story revolves around these ever growing secrets and the tension mounts as the price of keeping them increases. As to the historical aspect, The Tea Planter’s Wife is obviously well researched and feels so authentic that I first thought this was a re-release of a novel written by an author contemporaneous with the book’s setting. The only giveaway was the occurrence of a few sex scenes. (Though I’m no expert on 1920’s literature and the descriptions were vague and tastefully done, their presence tipped me off this was probably a modern writer). The scene is beautifully set with lush descriptive detail of Ceylon and wonderful character detail. Gwen is predictably quite naïve and helpless as a lady of her societal class and age would have been. The supporting characters often pose difficulties as Gwen has to find her own footing with those who are in her class and those who are not. Jefferies has stayed true to the mindsets of the time period as to race which can rankle the modern reader as it is hard to understand this way of thinking today. It is a tough line to straddle in both staying true to opinions of the time, wrong though they were, and yet trying to keep readers of today from losing their patience with the racial injustices. She does well in this though Gwen’s decision in one area was a hard one for me to accept. The Gothic element is present in the novel both through the unexplained death of Laurence’s ex-wife that haunts the story as well as other natural elements. Throughout the novel there is a great deal of atmospheric echoing of moods and symbolism, especially as represented by the focal point on the tea plantation, the lake. At times it seems threatening and forbidding, at others inviting and light, a truly Gothic personification of nature. Though compared to Daphne Du Maurier, I would say the story’s resemblance is closer to Emily Bronte in that there is a much stronger undercurrent of sorrow and melancholy to this story. At times, with the outcome so uncertain, it was hard to read, but it is the kind of novel one always comes back to. A melancholy story, but a good one. Disclaimer: I received a free ARC of this story from the publisher on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
bookluvr35SL More than 1 year ago
Gwen gets married to a wealthy tea grower and moves to Ceylon to live on his massive plantation, Her husband acts distant and has secrets about his past that he is unwilling to share. I really enjoyed this story. It kept me captivated throughout
AnnieMcDonnell More than 1 year ago
When 19 year-old, Gwen Hooper leaves the comfort of her family and home in England, to take a boat to Ceylon to move in with the husband she recently married, she truly believes she met the man of her dreams. In England; where they met and married, he certainly was just that. Would arriving in his homeland of Ceylon have him change his ways? Is he still the same man that will only look at her through eyes of love? He is a 37 year-old Widow and Tea Plantation owner, Laurence Hooper. It is all quite exciting when he first picks her up at a hotel on the docks, and they see each other for the first time. This story is about their relationship with each other, their family, their friends and their employees….and, of course, their business in general. It becomes a story of them trying to find themselves and each other, after a huge secret hovers over their marriage…threatening to be the end of them. I took my first break, and realized I had already read 150 pages. Obviously, I was drawn in! It was no surprise that Dinah Jefferies brought the full landscape of Ceylon in the 1920’s to life on paper. She has a delicious gift of painting the landscape with her words…you can see, smell and feel all that surrounds the backdrop of this “you will not put this down” Historical Fiction. She achieved the same wonderment in her last book, “The Separation”. What an intoxicating place Ceylon is, beginning with their home on the plantation. When Gwen took a walk on the grounds, I felt like I was walking alongside her. As the book stated “In the Land of Cinnamon and Jasmine”….I mean, that sounds so touchingly beautiful. Dinah Jefferies really “takes you there” on all of their walks, swimming trips, picnics, events, dinners, drives to Colombo (the big city where the boats come in and Tea Trade takes place) You will find yourself “googling” images of things, like the local animals meandering about that I had never heard of. (I did) I know this is an Historical Fiction, but I was still impressed with her knowledge of the political angst surrounding the Tea Farmers, their Workers, and others in 1920’s Ceylon. Dinah Jefferies wrote about the racism beginning to wrap Ceylon in to its mesh with a lot of heart. Racism was at an all-time high at this time in Ceylon, and this book brought all of it front and center. Will this have any effect on the lives of the Hooper’s? There are so many secrets, and so much pain and loss…betrayal, jealousy and guilt weave themselves among all of the characters. This is a story that will capture your heart right away! Will they make it through all of the stories they don’t easily share with one another? Or, will this be a move that Gwen never should have made? Join us, and help us root for Gwen and Laurence.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Beautiful historically accurate landscape, scenery & era, however character development is weak and let's down the intricate plot