Gwen was living a simple happy life in England. She and her cousin Fran were very close, like sisters. Fran had lost her parents and the bond between the two girls had grown tight. But Fran never lost her spirit, she was always a happy girl. When Gwen met Laurence and married him, she knew she would have to move to Ceylon. This was not a problem to her, as she would be with the man she loved. The only inconvenience, would be that her dear cousin could not accompany her to the trip, and she had to go alone. Laurence had already left to attend to some business.
Laurence is the widowed tea planter, located in Ceylon. On one of his trips to England, he meets Gwen and he falls for her. He takes her as his second wife and promises to have and to hold for good and for bad. He has inherited the plantation from his father and he had lived there his whole life, before and after boarding school. When he lost his parents, he had to hold strong for his younger sister’s sake, as she was greatly affected by the loss.
The story starts off with a mystery woman that prepares a trunk with baby clothes. Soon after that, the story transfers twelve years later to follow the story of Gwen and Laurence in current time. The initial mystery is clarified slowly as the story progresses. Yet the whole secrets behind that mystery woman and the her action in the beginning of the book, would only become clear at the end of it. The reader may already guess part of the story, as it reveals to some point and leaves room for speculation. However, it is not that it would become boring to the point that all cards are open, and there is no interest.
The feelings that the heroes come to feel and haunt their life are very strong. They are of love, jealousy, guilt and attachment beyond the normal. It is about first impressions that lead to dreadful actions, regretted for infinity. It is about the strength inside us to hold on to what we believe, no matter the circumstances. It is about kindness to the human being next to us, not minding the race or skin color. And finally, it is about team and the beautiful Ceylon terrace of the 1900.
Thank you to NetGalley & Crown publishing for an advance copy of this book.