Thursday, 21 January 2016
The Tea Planter's Wife - Book Review
While trawling through the endless Kindle titles for my next read, I was attracted by the cover design for The Tea Planter's Wife. That, along with the title, had me intrigued enough to take a closer look. So ten out of ten to the publisher for winning me over. The ocean of fiction titles is bottomless it would seem.
So I tried the sample. I wasn't sure at first if I liked the writing style; it was slow and a bit stiff but in those first few pages there was enough of a plot for me be tempted to buy it.
Dinah Jefferies' story about a newly wed couple in colonial Ceylon, who are only just holding it together despite a web of secrets and lies, is quite compelling.
The characters and settings were my favourite aspects of the book. The players were well formed and the author had a winning way of making them jump off the page. I found myself liking or loathing them because the writer wasn't wishy washy about them. They made an impact and that was good.
The dialogue was realistic and flowed well. I can imagine the lines staying in the screenplay if this book ever became a film. I could see this as a film, actually.
Her descriptions of places and of the times were wonderful and, I felt, well researched. I was ready to overlook the fact that in places the story was a little drawn out. She successfully had some real page turning moments that compensated for times when I wished she'd just get on with it already.
I would strongly recommend that Jefferies steers clear of trying to write sex scenes, though. They say to write what you know, so I sometimes wondered if a nun was writing theses scenes. And, quite frankly, the book didn't need any more than a suggestion to make the intimate scenes work.
Sometimes the author would tell and not show, almost as if she was afraid to make the book too long. But had she taken out all the places I thought the book dragged, she wouldn't have had to gloss over a couple of places where I wish I could have been shown what happened rather than told.
I'm tempted to see what else she has written and will end by saying that I spent the day finishing the last third of the book all in one sitting because that's when it really picked up.
All in all, an okay read and I'm glad I picked this one as I was quite moved by the impact of the story as a whole.