The Tea Planter's Wife by Dinah Jefferies is a complex novel set in the 1920s and 1930s. It is a tale of living on a tea plantation in Ceylon. Where is Ceylon? you might ask well look up Sri Lanka and you will find Ceylon. Gwen has just married a man and is madly in love and so excited to get to her new home. She knows that there will be many changes to make in learning to live in Ceylon when she is so used to living in England. Her husband, Laurence has gone on ahead to prepare the home for her arrival. Gwen learns to live the life on the plantation and to think of this as her new home and to love it. But there are many changes to make- why does her sister-in-law seem to hate her no matter what she does? why are the plantation workers not treated better? But then the worse thing of all--Gwen is pregnant with twins but when they are born her son, Hugh, is white and looks very much like Laurence but the daughter is dark. How could this happen? What can she do? She is all alone for this delivery except for her servant, Naveena. Naveena helps her to find a wet nurse in the village to care for her for money. No one can know, Naveena has convinced her. But how could this have happened? Did it happen the night she was so drunk that she allowed a trusted black friend see her to her bedroom? Gwen tumbles into a deep depression for the guilt of giving away her baby from which she recovers but never does she forget her daughter, Liyoni. Gwen convinces Naveena to take her to the village to make sure that Liyoni is ok but only one time. That is the only safe way for but the baby's safety as well as the secret's safety. Liyoni grows as does Hugh. Then Liyoni begins to limp and her foster mother will no longer care for her. Read this book to find out the outcome of this novel.
I loved this complicated book though I lay it down time after time because of the sadness and turmoil of the emotions. I think any adult woman would enjoy reading this book and probably some high school aged girls but as I said earlier it is a complex book with difficult racial and sexual problems of the 1930s some of which still linger on but some of which the young of today will never know.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.