Saturday, August 5, 2017

Book Review: The Tea Planter's Wife

Disclaimer: I received this book for free in exchange for my honest review.

Set in the roaring 20's, and later the Depression of the early 30's, young newlywed Gwendolyn arrives in 1920's Ceylon to join her older but dashing husband Laurence, the owner of a tea plantation, she is excited and looking forward to her new life. However, the reality is far from what she expected. Laurence seems to have changed towards her, he is no longer as loving and seems to be withdrawing from her; her youth and inexperience make her ill equipped to cope with him and the household responsibilities she is now expected to take on. She is unaccustomed to the people and their cultures and her natural sense of fairness brings her into conflict with others. The arrival of Laurence’s spoilt and spiteful sister, Verity, does not help matters and Gwen’s feelings of isolation are keenly felt.

This was such an evocative and atmospheric novel that I was captivated from the beginning and it really was a book that I didn't want to put down. The Ceylon landscape, the hustle and bustle of the city, its colours and its people are all vividly described and I really felt as if I were there, watching the story unfold. The different cultures and resentments, the political unrest, the racial prejudices – these all add an element of unease and danger to the story. Gwen's connection to the natural beauty of her surroundings also plays an important element in her adventures.

This is a beautifully written drama of jealousy, deception, devastating decisions and guilt that will impact on the lives of Gwen and Laurence and others around them, some parts were just heartbreaking. All the characters were so expertly drawn, especially Gwen, who had to quickly mature and find an inner strength.

In my estimation this novel is not trite or predictably written; it is a refreshing piece of literature in the historical fiction genre. I found the plot thoroughly captivating and there are a few twists that left me breathless. I would definitely recommend this work. 5 out of 5 stars.


  1. Well done, adding to my tbr, thank you! Also, I can get free digital arcs through the library where I work if I apply for them. Where do you get your review hook-ups?

  2. I get my review copies through Their site is great and easy to use!

    1. Duly noted! Thank you so much, though all I need is another avenue to increase my tbr! I'm pretty much the worst read librarian I know. (Not true) But I feel like it's taking me forever to get through novels lately, it's a focus problem, I literally need to take reading breaks every few pages. Maybe this winter, I'll be more inclined to power through. Currently, when I'm reading in my favorite spot on my deck, I just end up soaking in the sunshine instead. Where do you like to read?

    2. On my couch. I wish I had a window seat book nook type thing. Maybe someday.