The Tea Planter’s wife is a novel that focuses on young Gwendolyn Hooper, who moves to Ceylon when she marries Laurence, a tea planter and widow. Laurence has secrets, and there are many secrets waiting to be unfolded in this book. I wanted to read The Tea Planter’s Wife because the premise reminded me a bit of The Painted Veil by Somerset Maugham. Though the stories are completely different, both books involve a British woman marrying and moving to Asia after a fast London courtship, in the relatively early part of the twentieth century.
In The Tea Planter’s Wife, Jefferies crafts a superbly written story. There is a big difference between good writing – such as something that is written with good pacing and good description – and great writing like that of Jefferies. The Tea Planter’s Wife is definitely a page-turner, and it also serves as an interesting examination of marriage, character, and social pressure. It is nice when a novel of drama and human emotion can create just as much suspsense (or more) as one filled with action and daring adventure, and this novel succeeds at that.