The Tea Planter’s Wife
Gwendolyn Hooper is newly married to a tea plantation owner and is keen to join him in Ceylon. She seems at ease with her decision to leave England behind and make a new life with her husband. Gwen makes a big effort to ingratiate herself with the staff, manage the accounts and oversee what a wife should do.
This, of course, includes providing her husband with an heir. It is not his first marriage, though. His first wife took her own life, but he is not open to talk with Gwen about what happened, and she does not feel she should pursue this line of questioning. She is over the moon when she finds out that she is pregnant. However, the birth is not a straightforward event and sets in motion years of turmoil for Gwen.
Jefferies transports her readers to Ceylon with ease and evokes the atmosphere of what a tea plantation would have been like in the 1920s and 1930s. She gives a feel of what it was like to live the life of an expat during this time. There is a bit of a jump forward in time, but this is handled with care by Jefferies and does not detract from the story.