The Tea Planter’s Wife is a period piece, set in the 1920’s and 30’s in Ceylon (present day Sri Lanka) on a tea plantation. The main character, Gwen, moves there from England after marrying an older man, Laurence Hooper, who runs his family’s tea plantation. Amidst the backdrop of the beautiful plantation house and the workers’ run down quarters, Gwen quickly learns that race and class differences are aplenty in her new world and struggles to align her morals of treating everyone the same with what is expected of her in her new household. The story unfolds as Gwen adjusts to her new life and new role and as we learn that she carries with her a secret, a secret which she feels would destroy her marriage and ruin her life.
This story kept me engaged in Gwen’s secrets and struggles as well as in the complicated relationships that exist within the Hooper household and out of it. The first and secondary characters were well developed with the handsome, artistic, and mysterious Savi Ravasinghe; the not exactly grieving American widow, Christina; Gwen’s support system – the kind of friend we all need in our lives – Gwen’s cousin Fran; and the woman you’ll just love to hate, Laurence’s sister, Verity.
This book has more intrigue than suspense. It wasn’t that I just had to keep turning the pages to find out how it all ended but I was very curious about Gwen’s secret and really wanted to get to the bottom of the “mystery.” The real take away from this book is about the dangers of keeping secrets from those you love and who love you. I would recommend it to those who enjoy stories set in this time period or in beautiful, exotic locations as well as to anyone who is looking for an intriguing read about relationships and the consequences of secret keeping.
One of my favorite passages from the book:
“’I do love Agatha Christie. It’s so vivid, and so exciting, you really think you’re there.’
‘A little unrealistic, though.’
‘True, but I like to lose myself in a story.’” – The Tea Planter’s Wife
Don’t we all?! You can lose yourself in this great story when it releases on September 13, 2016.
I received an advanced copy of this book from Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.