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The Tea Planter's Wife

by Dinah Jefferies

The Tea Planter's Wife by Dinah Jefferies X
The Tea Planter's Wife by Dinah Jefferies
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  • Sarah H. (Arvada, CO)
    A journey for the senses
    When I read fiction I want to get lost in the story, in the experience and forget I am reading a book in the first place. This book delivers on that front via beautiful prose and an effortless sensory experience. From the very first pages I can feel the humidity, see the colors of Gwen's clothes, and experience her apprehension. The story alone may not warrant 5 stars but the delivery is such an amazing trip to another place and time, I think it deserves it without reservation.
  • Marion W. (Issaquah, WA)
    Tea, Troubles, Tragedy
    This is an interesting novel, replete with evocative scenes of the beautiful country of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and the life of colonials there in the 1920s. The author has done much research into the history and culture of that place and era. Prejudiced attitudes toward race play an important part.
    Gwen comes from England to live with new husband Laurence, a much older widower and owner of a large tea plantation. Things do not go smoothly. A strange fluke of atavism in genetics presents the young wife with a dilemma when she bears twins.
    There is more than a whiff of "Rebecca" in this book (mysteriously deceased first wife and son, seemingly sinister male friend of hers always on the scene), but there are many different angles which a book club could discuss.
    (I'm still wondering about the genetics--but I studied that subject sixty years ago, before we'd heard of DNA, and with only Mendel's theories to go by!)
  • Mary O. (Boston, MA)
    A Ceylon Experience
    As usual I find myself in love with an unforgettable debut novel! The Tea Planter's Wife is a riveting, mesmerizing story of the intricacies of colonialism and how race can haunt it. Numerous secrets cloud the past and present. This is a beautifully written page turner and joy to read. I hated it to end!
  • Laurie H. (Stuart, FL)
    Tea and a great Read!
    What a beautifully written book. I was intrigued from the first paragraph and couldn't put it down. Gwen was strong and I liked how her love for Ceylon and the people grew as the book progressed. The other characters developed nicely and added depth to the story. Nicely done.
  • Mary D. (Claremont, CA)
    The Tea Planter's Wife
    No spoiler alerts here, but I had figured out the general premise of the story within the first few chapters. Similar to reading the last few pages of a mystery first, the joy in this book was in following all the twists, turns, personality developments and events, before finally getting to the revelation of truth. The story is set in Ceylon, in the mid-1920s to the mid-1930s, mostly on the plantation of a British tea planter/merchant. Good attention is paid to historical accuracy, including the sad idea of British supremacy and the incredibly cruel treatment of the Ceylonese people. This book is easy to read, but it does provoke many thoughts on inequality, injustice, and the often terrible consequences of keeping secrets. I would recommend it easily to anyone interested in thought-provoking historical fiction.
  • Claire M. (New York, NY)
    The Tea Planter's Wife
    A captivating read about a well to do Englishman, the wife he marries in England, brings to his tea plantation in Ceylon in the early years of the 20th century before the fall of the Raj. Gwen meets Laurence and falls deeply in love with him, a widower who has a few secrets that impact their life and Gwen ends up having one of her own. It is an interesting combination of romance, mystery and life in a colonial household. We get glimpses of the future when the civil war will tear apart the Tamil and Sinhalese and a sense of the racism and the resentments of locals toward the plantation owners and in some cases, the reverse.
    I found it a good read that indulged my long time desire to travel to India to take in the variety of peoples, the sites and senses.
  • Phyllis R. (Rochester Hills, MI)
    Summer read
    This is a fine summer read with temperatures in the 90's here in the Midwest so I was able to transport myself to lovely tropical Ceylon, now Sri Lanka. The time is 1920's and 1930's at the Hooper Tea Plantation.
    Besides the heat the lush flora, fauna and smells of cinnamon and jasmine helped make this lovely descriptive romance with dark secrets come alive and kept me reading with A/C. Highly recommended to learn about a new part of the world and the tea industry.


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