Monday, May 14, 2018

Black and White

The book for May in my book club group, Argonauta, was The Tea Planter's Wife by Dinah Jefferies. At first, I didn't like it.  Probably, my fault.  I am used to reading non-fiction books and encyclicals and papal exhortations, so a story seemed silly.  The characters annoyed me.  Of course, I'm not used to reading about people!  The main character, the tea planter's wife, Gwendolyn, seemed to be always whining about one thing or another.  Her husband, Laurence wasn't communicative.  His sister was a kaleidoscope of emotions and actions. If it weren't assigned by Argonauta, I would have thrown the silly book across the room.  But that's the beauty of belonging to a book club.  You read books you would have never read on your own.  You learn and learn to appreciate books you would never have approached.  And this is what happened to me and The Tea Planter's Wife.

When Gwendolyn gave birth to one black twin and one white twin, I became involved with her.  I, as the author, Dinah Jefferies, intended, thought the father was Ravasinge.  Spoiler alert!  I learned (yes I did research) that it is biologically possible for two sperm from two different men to impregnate a woman.

The story took off from there.  Gwendolyn, Verity, Laurence, and Naveena are woven into a mesh of circumstances that tie their familial interests into an emotional mess.  The setting of Ceylon at the beginning of World War II and the political and economic stress add to the tension of the plot.

Yes, I learned to enjoy the book.  The ending is a page-turner.  The storyline is different.  I am recommending the book. The only question I have is why was Laurence's sister given the name Verity?  Verity is a derivative of "truth"
and I don't see what that has to do with her character.

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