Nineteen-year-old Gwendolyn Hooper steps off a steamer in Ceylon full of optimism, eager to join her new husband. But the man who greets her at the tea plantation is not the same one she fell in love with in London.
Distant and brooding, Laurence spends long days wrapped up in his work, leaving his young bride to explore the plantation alone. It's a place filled with clues to the past - locked doors, a yellowed wedding dress in a dusty trunk, an overgrown grave hidden in the grounds, far too small for an adult...
Gwen soon falls pregnant and her husband is overjoyed, but she has little time to celebrate. In the delivery room the new mother is faced with a terrible choice, one she knows no one in her upper class set will understand - least of all Laurence. Forced to bury a secret at the heart of her marriage, Gwen is more isolated than ever. When the time comes, how will her husband ever understand what she has done?
Year of Publication
My ideal read; mystery, love, heart-break and joy - I couldn't put it down -- Santa Montefiore Beautifully written and heart rending, this has a magical setting with a real sense of period. -- Katie Fforde A gloriously atmospheric and tension-filled novel that centres on the separation of a mother and her child. Immensely enjoyable, poignant and compelling -- Isabel Wolff Vibrant and compelling - Dinah Jefferies perfectly captures the flavour of colonial Ceylon -- Rosanna Ley I was spellbound from beginning to end -- Deborah Rodriguez A wonderful book, deeply touching and an unforgettable read that swept me away. I loved it. -- Kate Furnivall Dark secrets lie at every turn, hidden beneath layers of 1920s racism and the fearfulness of a crumbling colonial power, making for a thoroughly gripping tale. But what I loved most of all. . . is the moving way in which Dinah writes about the loss of children and the redemptive power of love. -- Liz Trenow A terrific emotional and atmospheric read -- Elizabeth Buchan Deeply atmospheric and utterly engrossing -- Lucy Cruickshanks Rich and incredibly evocative, historical fiction at its best...it's just spellbinding * Sunday Express * A full-blown escape into the past * Independent * A gripping tale of love, jealousy, greed and tragedy * Woman and Home *
Dinah Jefferies was born in Malaysia and moved to England at the age of nine. Her idyllic childhood always held a special place in her imagination, and when she began writing novels in her 60s, she was able to return there - first in her fiction and then on annual research trips for each new novel. Dinah Jefferies is the author of four novels, The Separation, The Tea Planter's Wife - a Number One Sunday Times bestseller, The Silk Merchant's Daughter and Before the Rains. She lives in Gloucestershire.