Set in the 1920’s and 1930’s The Tea Planters Wife is a beautiful, tragic and heartwarming tale of life in Ceylon.
Gwen travels there to meet her husband Laurence and begin their life together on his plantation. Her cousin Fran, and his sister Verity visit them. Fran is trustworthy and loyal, almost the opposite of Verity who doesn’t appear to be very accommodating of her new sister-in-law. Christina, an old acquaintance, and Savi a local man bring other challenges to life in Ceylon.
Gwen eventually finds herself faced with a life changing decision to make; one that will haunt the rest of her marriage. This, mixed with the racism of the time, the dichotomy of the plantation owner against the poverty of his workers, and historical events make this a fantastic read. I was completely taken in by the setting, the struggles faced by each of the characters and the relationships that emerged.
My favourite character had to be Laurence. He was a much deeper character than I expected him to be. I also really liked Gwen, carrying a determination to do the right thing regardless of other’s opinions of her.
A story of love and grief, friendship and family, trust and deceit; this has got to be one of my favourite books this year.
The book has also been added to the Richard and Judy Autumn 2015 book club list. See the full list here Richard and Judy Autumn Reads 2015
This book sits nicely alongside some of my other favourite books – The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd, The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert, A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale, and The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton.
I received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley.