By: Dinah Jefferies
Publication Date: 9/13/2016
My Rating: 3 Stars
#1 International bestselling novel set in 1920s Ceylon, about a young Englishwoman who marries a charming tea plantation owner and widower, only to discover he's keeping terrible secrets about his past, including what happened to his first wife, that lead to devastating consequences.
How many secrets does it take to break the perfect marriage?
Two newlyweds; practically strangers, deeply in love, and each hiding a secret from the other…
From the Richard & Judy review of The Tea Planter’s Wife: “Gwen is a brand-new bride, back in the 1920s, stepping off a steamer in Ceylon to join her tea-planter husband, Laurence. He is a widower (who) she met and married in England after a whirlwind romance …
But there is a serpent in paradise. The man she married has changed. His mood is fitful, precocious, unpredictable. Sometimes he is the laughing, loving person she fell head over heels for; but for much of the time he broods, and keeps his distance. Their sex life, deeply satisfying and enriching at first, has become sporadic and clumsy.
Something is very wrong.”
Wandering into forbidden places Gwen finds locked doors, trunks full of dusty dresses, a tiny overgrown grave in the grounds – clues to a hidden unspeakable past. Laurence refuses to answer Gwen’s questions and withdraws from her still further.
After Gwen falls pregnant, Laurence is overjoyed and their relationship improves.
But in the delivery room, while Laurence is away, Gwen is faced with a terrible dilemma – and a choice she feels she must hide from Laurence at all costs. Can she keep such a powerful secret? How will he ever forgive if he finds out what she has done?
Buy the Book
A special thank you to Crown and LibraryThing Early Reviewers for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Review to follow.
“[A] dramatic tale of jealousy, deceit, secrets and heartbreak. The intrigue and suspense, add a Gothic flair to Jeffries fast-moving plot and the evocative atmosphere along with the realistic characters will captivate readers.”
—Romance Times Book Review
“Spellbinding…effortlessly elegant, lushly descriptive...Combine this with the vivid, evocative manner in which Jefferies describes the beauty of Ceylon, now Sri Lanka, and the captivating cast of characters she has created, and you have a superbly written novel that readers of historical fiction as well as women’s fiction will treasure.”
—Booklist (starred review)
“…[A]n engrossing tale of mystery, manners, and prejudice set against the backdrop of Ceylon (current-day Sri Lanka)…Jeffries shows that she can weave a suspenseful tale in which characters’ complex motivations converge in surprising ways.”
"Rich and incredibly evocative, The Tea Planter’s Wife is historical fiction at its very best. It’s just spellbinding."
—The Sunday Express
"Locked doors, old dresses, even a boathouse mystery, this is Rebecca with crocodiles. Very enjoyable…mystery (and) full-blown escape into the past."
"My ideal read; mystery, love heartbreak and joy--I couldn't put it down."
— Santa Montefiore, author of The Beekeeper's Daughter
"Beautifully written and heartrending, this has a magical setting with a real sense of period."
— Katie Fforde, bestselling author of A French Affair
"A terrific emotional and atmospheric read."
— Elizabeth Buchan, author of Separate Beds
"Dinah Jefferies has once again created a gloriously atmospheric and tension-filled novel. Immensely enjoyable, poignant, and compelling."
— Isabel Wolff, author of Shadows Over Paradise
"I was spellbound from beginning to end."
— Deborah Rodriguez, author of A Cup of Friendship
"A wonderful book, deeply touching, and an unforgettable read that swept me away. I loved it." — Kate Furnivall, author of The Italian Wife
"Vibrant and compelling--Dinah Jefferies perfectly captures the flavour of colonial Ceylon."
— Rosanna Ley, author of The Villa
"Dark secrets lie at every turn, hidden beneath layers of 1920s racism and the fearfulness of a crumbling colonial power, making for a thoroughly gripping tale."
— Liz Trenow, author of The Forgotten Seamstress
About the Author
I was born in Malaysia and moved to England at the age of nine.
As a teenager I missed the heat of Malaysia, which left me with a kind of restlessness that led to quite an unusual life. I went to live in Tuscany where I worked as an au pair for an Italian countess, and there was even a time when I lived with a rock band in a ‘hippie’ commune in Suffolk.
In 1985, the death of my fourteen year old son changed everything. Although it was the darkest of times and I will always miss him, I’m grateful for the years we had together, and I now draw on the experience of loss in my writing. I set my books abroad and aim to infuse the love and loss with the extremely seductive beauty of the East.
My second novel, The Tea Planter’s Wife, is out now and it’s a Richard & Judy Book Club Autumn pick as well as being in the Sunday Times Bestselling list. And that’s something I’m absolutely delighted about. Book three, The Silk Merchants Daughter, will be published in Spring 2016.. All my novels are published in the UK/Commonwealth by Penguin/Viking.
Although my husband and I spent five wonderful years living in a small 16th Century village in Northern Andalusia, I’m happy to say we now live close to our family in Gloucestershire . Read More