"The Tea Planter's Wife", by Dinah Jefferies

The Tea Planter's Wife - Dinah Jefferies

The story set in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) in the 1920’s takes us on a journey at the heart of a tea plantation. This haunting saga captures all the exciting exoticism of a complex-era society long extinct and gives us a feel of what it was like to live during that time.

Of course this is a book about racism, where non-whites were subhuman, where mixed marriages were not encouraged and the colour of your skin mattered and you were judged as lesser for such delineations, a time were dark babies were a shame and discarded like trash by whites. It is mainly about Gwen’s (the main character) tormented situation when her dream marriage is overshadowed by echoes of the past…..

Although the story is very predictable and you can see the plot coming a mile away it is nevertheless captivating enough to keep flipping the pages. It is also easy to get immersed in the life of the characters but remember to turn back the time to the 1920’s and let the prose drawn you into the hubbub, colours, smells, prejudices and tensions of a pre-independent Ceylon. In all, the book is well structured with multiple sub-plots and few twists to derail us and keeps a steady but slow pace to let our emotions sink in. On the down side the author has an inclination to over-describe: clothing, physical features for example and also heavy-handed in the race relations and social tensions. Stereotyped characters and banalities pepper the pages.

Deep down, this is a conventional love story that also explores the tragic consequences of racism .

I received this book for free from “Blogging for Books” for this honest and unbiased review