The Tea Planter's Wife
Dinah Jefferies' brilliant novel explores one of the darker issues of Britain’s colonial past in this tender and romantic story. An idealistic young woman is whisked away by an enigmatic and secretive widower to a tea plantation in Ceylon. Jefferies brilliantly evokes the exotic colours, scents and sounds of the landscape. You can almost feel the oppressive humidity of the rainy season and smell the cinnamon and lemon in Gwen’s unfamiliar new world. Jefferies sensitively explores the central issue of the novel which places a heart-broken and confused, young mother at odds with the rigid code of the elite and privileged ruling class to which she belongs. There are echoes of Daphne du Maurier’s ‘Rebecca’ in this story.
The central character of Gwen is particularly well-depicted and despite her heart-breaking tragedy, Gwen grows in strength and confidence as each chapter unfolds. I cried with her but also felt her elation in the love scenes with Laurence.
I was able to guess the outcome but I thoroughly recommend this book.