The Tea Planter’s Wife by Dinah Jefferies

Synopsis: In 1925, the young Gwendolyn Hooper sets sail from Scotland to meet her husband, Laurence in exotic Ceylon, on the other side of the world. Newly married and in love, they are the definition of the perfect aristocratic couple: the beautiful British lady and the owner of one of the most prosperous tea farms in the empire. But when you arrive at the mansion on the idyllic Hooper estate, nothing is as Gwendolyn imagined:

the employees seem resentful and silent, and the neighbors, treacherous. Her husband, though affectionate, shows that he keeps dark secrets from the past and refuses to talk about certain matters. Upon discovering that she is pregnant, the young woman feels happy for the first time since arriving in Ceylon. But on the day of giving birth, something unexpected is revealed. Now, it is she who is forced to keep something terrible secret,

Set in Sri Lanka in 1925, the book will tell the story of Gwen, a 19-year-old newlywed who needs to move to Ceylon in order to follow the work of her husband Laurence, a well-known tea producer Of region.

However, as soon as she arrives in the new country, the girl realizes that nothing is the way she had imagined. Intrigued, Gwendolyn starts to more closely observe the environment in which she lives, since the singular behavior of the employees, always aloof and of few words, combined with the equally suspicious habits of her husband, lead her to believe that something did not fit with should.

“He must have his reasons, she thought. But what could explain that strange expression in your eyes? ” (Page 44)

However, when she realizes that she is pregnant, her life changes completely, and Gwen starts to dedicate herself completely to the arrival of the new baby. When she discovers that she will give birth to twins, her heart overflows with happiness, but, nothing would prepare her for what was to come.

During childbirth, something surprising happens, forcing Gwendolyn to take a drastic and unimaginable attitude that will torment her for the rest of her life.

“With a whole world of imaginary horrors lurking around her head and taking on gigantic proportions, Gwen felt like a steel cable was squeezing her chest.” (Page 145)

The plot also has very interesting and essential secondary characters for the construction of this incredible story, they are: Aia Navenna, faithful and honest, she proves to be much more than a simple maid and will do everything she can to help the mistress in more adverse situations. The enigmatic Savi Ravasinghe, a local painter who is introduced to us in the first chapter and who will be a great surprise throughout history. We will also have Fran, who is Gwen’s cousin, for whom the protagonist has great appreciation. And finally, we have Verity, Gwendolyn’s spoiled sister-in-law.

The book turned out to be an unexpected and pleasant surprise, I never imagined reading something so incredible. However, I believe that the biggest and best performance in the entire plot, was really the protagonist, Gwen. After all, few would do what she was able to do.

He is a brilliant character with the will and perseverance necessary to maintain sanity in the face of the fateful events of his life. Wonderful!

The author’s first book published in Brazil, The perfume of the tea leaf is a beautiful historical novel, set in the 20th century and that held me from the first to the last line.

Addressing secrets and deep suffering, Dinah Jefferies presents the reader with a well-structured and very rich plot, in a sensational way. A beautiful book that touches on guilt and the destructive effect that is established in people’s lives.

I finished the reading full of questions and with a squeezed heart for everything I read and for all the twists and turns presented.

“Nobody had ever said that being a mother meant living with such an indescribable love that it would take your breath away, and with a fear so terrible that it would shake your soul. And nobody had ever warned about the proximity of these two feelings. ” (Page 413)

I recommend this book for romance fans, and for those who appreciate a good story. Very good!

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