The Tea Planter's Wife

Crown. Sept. 2016. 432p. ISBN 9780451495976. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780451495990. F
OrangeReviewStarA best seller in Britain and set in 1920s Ceylon (Sri Lanka today), Jefferies's (The Separation) novel is the spellbinding tale of a young bride who travels to an exotic land and winds up completely lost in the unfamiliar. Nineteen-year-old Gwen married Laurence in England and has followed him to his tea plantation. Though mesmerized by the beauty of the country, she soon struggles with the unaccustomed isolation. Her new husband is strangely distant, spending most of his time at work, and his relationship with a beautiful American businesswoman makes Gwen insecure. Verity, Laurence's spoiled younger sister, is jealous of Gwen's place as mistress of the house and will do anything to drive a wedge between the couple. The plantation itself holds undercurrents of danger with unrest brewing among the native workers. Most mysterious and troubling is that no one is willing to talk about Laurence's first wife and the circumstances of her death. Soon, Gwen is questioning her own choices and will have to make a devastating decision to save her marriage and maybe her life.
VERDICT This atmospheric and suspenseful novel is reminiscent of Daphne du Maurier's classic Rebecca and will enthrall fans of gothic romances. [See Prepub Alert, 4/25/16; September LibraryReads Pick.]
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