I’m not sure how Dinah Jefferies’ books flew under my radar for so long, but when I discovered them a few months back I saw that her newest title, The Tea Planter’s Wife, was practically written for me! Like my own hopefully to-be published books, this is an older man–younger woman romance–a love relationship, not a trophy wife! And it’s set in the between the wars period in Colonial Ceylon. Add to that, in Peace Corps, I lived down the road from a British owned tea plantation in Southern Malawi! See what I mean? Written for me!
Then I discovered that Dinah Jefferies came to writing later in life and saw I had an inspiration–a real world example to follow. It was fate. Or it’s a win-win or whatever you want to call it.
Like in my series, Amberleigh, the young bride, Gwen is 19 and marries an older man, Laurence, after the death of his first wife. She sails to Ceylon to join him and the first problem occurs up her arrival: He’s not there to meet here. Well, that’s the first of many secrets in this book. There are restless locals wanting better pay, an obnoxious sister-in-law, a devoted servant and a true MYSTERY. Never mind that I quickly figured the big surprise of the story out, I didn’t see all the surprises in store by any means! Wow!
The book TOOK me to colonial Ceylon. I was there! I could here the houseboys bickering, see the workers plucking tea, feel the bumps in the road all the way. I loved the setting so much. Ms Jefferies tells a story in a very engaging and surprising way. Like in the PBS drama, Indian Summers, the locals are getting very tired of the British Raj and it’s oppressive ways. They’d like to be treated like British workers and paid fair wages and given opportunities to make better lives for themselves and their families. Like in Downton Abbey there is the ongoing upstairs vs downstairs dramas and the good guys and bad buys upstairs, on the estate and in the community. Trust me, you’ll have a lot to enjoy! Naturally this would make a tremendous follow up to Indian Summers! The clothes, the manners, the glorious house, the beautiful estate, the lake, the local color. Swoon!
This book is available as of today at Amazon and other retailers. I can’t wait to read another of Dinah Jefferies books! The Tea Planter’s Wife.