Back in the day, when I was younger and full of tragic heroine’s angst, I would have lapped this book up in a heart-beat, but now that I’m older, not so much. This is not to say that this book is not a good read, it’s just no longer my cup of tea.
The story is set in colonial Ceylon and it’s protagonist is Gwen — a naive nineteen year old who has become married to a mysterious tea plantation owner after an extremely fast courtship. She then travels from London to Ceylon, excited about her new life and head over heels in love with her new husband. She arrives to find that he’s not the same man she married, that excitement she had to run her own household is dampened by the mistrust and resentment of the plantation’s servants, that her sister in law seems hellbent on breaking up her marriage and of course, there is another woman in her husband’s life whose complicated presence Gwen doesn’t understand. Enter stage left, a local man who has piqued Gwen’s own interest, then last but not least, the secrecy of what happened to her husband’s first wife.
The book in some ways reminded me of Jean Rhys’ Wide Sargasso Sea. The air of secrecy, this “thing” that everyone knows except the protagonist, story set against a colonial backdrop. Then all of a sudden, it’s discovered that even the protagonist has her own secrets which added a smidgen more drama to the plot. I really liked the author’s prose and descriptions of the culture and country were beautifully done. But that’s where it ended for me. I just never became invested in the characters. The protagonist made choices that I didn’t understand or could relate to. I also thought the plot was predictable. The book had a slow start, gained momentum in the middle but the end was as I expected. For the fans of this genre, this book would be an absolute love, in my case, I like it, but I don’t love it. It held my attention enough so I could practice reading and knitting together. That’s a good thing right?
Author’s Website: Dinah Jefferies
Knit Pattern: Boden from Nice & Knit
disclaimer: this review was done through my affiliation with Blogging For Books. Although I received a copy for review, the thoughts expressed are entirely my own.