The description from Amazon states: “#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”
With that little synopsis I was intrigued. I’m imaging something like Du Maurier’s Rebecca. As I plodded on through this book the descriptions of the landscape, the heat and culture were well defined. There was a point when I considered abandoning the book but I wanted to know what happened, discover the mystery and secrets.
Our main character is Gwen. She meets Laurence at a party in London and falls in love. Rather impetuous, don’t you think? But these are different times and who knows how I would behave in the 1920’s as a young innocent.
They marry and Gwen sets sail for Ceylon (Sri-Lanka) to take her place as wife of tea planter. Laurence is a different man when they hook up again – he’s distant and brooding. I can’t imagine her disappointment, not just with her husband but the change in climate. Anyone who knows me will predict I will start complaining about Florida summers beginning in May. To move from lovely cool England to Ceylon would be a deal breaker for me.
But this isn’t about me. (I would have stayed in England, believe me)
Gwen arrives to a beautiful plantation and instantly feels tension from just about everyone. Laurence’s sister, the manager of the estate and even Laurence himself. She is very much encouraged to stay away from the workers on the plantation, they are viewed as lesser individuals. Gwen is trying to immerse herself in the culture but learning that she is from a privileged culture and hierarchy, an ex-pat who will never be accepted no matter how much she wants to engage with the working tea pickers or their families.
Overall, I found the book a little too long-winded and probably won’t pick up another by this author. She’s a good writer, it just didn’t float my boat. I have spoilers to reveal about the book but won’t do that here, I will post those on Goodreads as there is a “spoiler alert feature I can click” – not sure how to handle that in this blog format.
Overall a very sad book.
I received a copy of this book from the Blogging for Books program. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated.