What a beautifully written book.
This is a story of a newly married young woman who decides to move away from England to live with her husband on a tea plantation in Ceylon. We watch as she transforms from a naïve girl to a mature strong-minded woman. Through all the trials and tribulations, she never loses focus of who she is; a person full of love and desire to see everyone treated fairly.
I loved reading this book. I became utterly attached to Gwen. She is so sweet and loving. I compared myself to her throughout the read and realized I should be more openly loving. Due to this love, she felt the need to protect the image of her husband. I was sad she felt the need to keep secrets.
Laurence is a widower and quite a bit older than his young bride. However, you can see how much he loves Gwen. He is still haunted by the demons of his past, but slowly he learns how to let go. Gwen is now his wife, his love, his future.
Laurence’s sister, Verity, has demons of her own, but hasn’t been successful in conquering them. She spends most of her time dependent upon the generosity of her brother and new sister-in-law. I was angry with her throughout most of the book. “Selfish” is merely the tip of the iceberg.
At a deeper level, this story is about race and class inequality. There is much tension between the Tamil, Sinhalese, and English. Cultural differences, voting rights, and National language are but a few issues threatening the once prosperous country. Riots and protests are becoming the norm. Everyone is on edge. No place is truly safe from people fighting for their rights. The microcosm that is the plantation directly correlates with the country’s climate.
I received this book free through the Blogging for Books program in exchange for an honest review.