Tuesday, October 25, 2016

G757 Book Review of sensing light by Mark A Jacobson

Name of Book: Sensing Light

Author: Mark A Jacobson

ISBN: 978-1-61243-570-1

Publisher: Ulysses Press

Type of book: AIDS/HIV, discovery, 1979-1991, death, family, friendship, doctor, medical life, San Francisco, homosexuality, life, quality time, surviving, patients, quality of life

Year it was published: 2016




This breakout book by Mark A. Jacobson, a leading Bay Area HIV/AIDS physician, follows three people from vastly different backgrounds, who are thrown together by a shared urgency to find out what is killing so many men in the prime of their lives. Kevin, a gay medical resident from working class Boston, has moved to San Francisco in search of acceptance of his sexual identity. Herb, a middle-aged supervising physician at one of the nation’s toughest hospitals, struggles with his own emotional rigidity. And Gwen, a divorced mother raising a teen daughter, is seeking a sense of self and security while endeavoring to complete her medical training. Mark A. Jacobson, a professor of medicine at the University of California San Francisco and attending physician at San Francisco General Hospital, began his internship in 1981, just days after the CDC first reported a mysterious, fatal disease affecting gay men.


There are three primary characters in the book: that of Kevin, Gwen and Herb. There are other secondary characters such as Herb's son, Gwen's daughter and lover and Kevin's lover who also played big roles. Kevin is a young and talented gay doctor who left Boston and came over to San Francisco to discover himself. He is extremely dedicated be it to work or to his lover and he also happens to be ethical when it comes to medicine. Gwen is a young divorced woman with a daughter who makes a choice to work for a hospital and she befriends Kevin and Herb. She is smart, resourceful and extremely driven to success. Herb is a Chinese-American male who is dedicated to his work and has a rocky relationship with his family. He is also driven, calm and very collected as well as filled with errors despite his 'perfect' exterior.


Behind every discovery there are humans


The story is in third person narrative from Kevin's, Herb's and Gwen's points of views. Once in a while other characters will tell of their points of view, but those times are far and few in between. The story begins in 1979, when a man visits the hospital to figure out what is going on with him and he ends up on life support and dies, with doctors and others clueless about what happened to him and not being able to put the pieces together, and it continues from 1979 up until 1991, each lengthy section taking place every few years and presenting the reader facts that are found out. This is also a medical novel, but medicine and life in medicine is interwoven so anyone can understand them and its not filled with technical jargon. In particular, the book is very heavy on emotions and I recall feeling fear and uncertainty of what was going on with the first few patients and was filled with awe at the doctors and researchers that dared to solve the puzzle of HIV/AIDS.

Author Information:
(From the book)

Mark A Jacobson, a professor of medicine at the University of California San Francisco and attending physician at San Francisco General Hospital, began his internship in 1981, just days after the CDC first reported a mysterious, fatal disease affecting gay men


When this is described as historical fiction, I feel shocked because I was born in 1985, six years after HIV was discovered, and since I don't feel old, its kind of a difficult label to grasp for something that takes place around the time of one's birth. I honestly am at a loss for words on describing the beauty of this novel.In an odd way it reminded me of Losing Touch, which I've reviewed few years ago that is about a progressive disease of one man and the impact it has on his family. In that book, the author visits the family every few years, but it was done in such a way that it's as if one is always apprised of their goings-on and the reader never feels as if he is missing out. This story is built in the same way, starting in 1979 when first gay men walk into a hospital with mysterious illness, and every few years as more and more information becomes available about HIV/AIDS we keep revisiting the characters and what they have done since last we saw them. It's an incredibly touching and sad novel with very human characters and it will keep one reading through day and night as the history of HIV/AIDS gets revisited for those too young to know of the beginning of epidemic.

This is for Poetic Book Tours

5 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Monday, October 24, 2016

G773 Book Review of come next spring by Alana white

Name of Book: Come Next Spring

Author: Alana White

ISBN: 978-1-504034234

Publisher: Open Road Distribution

Type of book: Tennessee Smoky Mountains, 1949-1950, community, friendship, classicism, literature, Gone with the Wind, families, horses, strangers, welcoming, outsiders, insiders, city, country

Year it was published: 1990


It’s 1949 in Tennessee Smoky Mountain country, and everything in pre-teen Salina’s life seems suddenly different. Her sister is engaged, her brother is absorbed in caring for his sickly foal, and salina feels she has nothing in common anymore with her best friend. This novel for young people captures the insular spirit of the mountain people, the breathtaking country itself, and a girl’s struggle to accept the inevitability of change.


Main characters include Salina, a twelve year old red-headed precocious reader who believes in a happily ever after for Scarlett and Rhett. She has an older sister, Mary, an older brother and a younger brother. For me personally she seemed to be tomboyish and is really into literature and books, having finished Gone with the Wind and The Count of Monte Cristo (That book I tackled in my 20s...) She is struggling with change, accepting it and keeping it the same, and along the way she learns of valuable lessons. Scooter is the new girl who is blonde haired and is far more cynical than Salina but at the same time she is more understanding and is dependable and she also loves reading as much as Salina does. She is seen as an outsider and lives with her widowed mother and three sisters as well as a grandmother. She is also poor. There are other characters such as Salina's and Scooter's families and friends, but while they do play a big role in the book, they aren't main characters.


Its okay to change and to be different


The story is in third person narrative from Salina's point of view and it doesn't start in the middle but instead is linear. While I did see Salina going through growth, I don't think I quite saw what prompted her to change and to become a different person. Most of the focus is on the daily life of community, and the importance of being there for one another is heavily emphasized, which is missing in this day and age. The lessons one can learn about friendship, community, importance of similarities over differences are both timeless yet very modern and something one should learn. I honestly wish I could have read the story as a child instead of reading it for the first time now. What I also enjoyed as well is the human approach towards changes, and how both pros and cons of cities and countryside are subtly highlighted, neither better nor worse, but both should be in a symbiotic relationship.

Author Information:
(From HFVBT)


About the Author

Alana White is the author of fiction and nonfiction for adults and young readers. Her most recent publications are the adult historical mystery novel, The Sign of the Weeping Virgin, set at the height of the Italian Renaissance in Florence, Italy, and Come Next Spring, a coming of age novel set in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee in the 1940s. She is also the author of a biography of Sacagawea, Sacagawea: Westward With Lewis and Clark. She is a longtime member of the Historical Novel Society and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She lives in Nashville, TN.
Alana welcomes readers and is always available for reader group chats. Please visit her at www.AlanaWhite.com for more information. As well as HNS and SCBWI, she is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, the Author’s Guild, and the Women’s National Book Association.
For more information, please visit Alana White’s website. You can also find her on FacebookTwitter, andGoodreads.

The book was published in 1990, four year before I came to America, and five years after my birth. I am surprised that up until now, I hadn't heard of the story, and I don't recall coming across it in school. The story did bring a lot of smiles to me because at around Salina's age, I also challenged myself to read Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell, but the difference is that up until in my 20s or so, I did not appreciate how beautiful Gone with the Wind is. At her age, I vaguely recall that I sort of liked it, but at the same time not really.  The story is best described as slow, and atmospheric as sort of having a feeling of Little House series feeling, except that this story is very interwoven with community and is about changes, both good and bad and how its okay to like some but not all, which I've appreciated. (A bit annoying when characters forget their own roots.) Although some moments are predictable in a story, I did appreciate that the focus is mostly on how the characters lived and handled their lives within the community.

This is for HFVBT

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, October 10
Kick Off at Passages to the Past
Tuesday, October 11
Spotlight at Let Them Read Books
Wednesday, October 12
Review at Back Porchervations
Interview at Nothing But Books
Thursday, October 13
Spotlight at A Bookaholic Swede
Friday, October 14
Review at Reading Is My SuperPower
Saturday, October 15
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Sunday, October 16
Interview at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Tuesday, October 18
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective
Spotlight at Just One More Chapter
Thursday, October 20
Review at Impressions In Ink
Review at Books, Dreams, Life
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews
Friday, October 21
Spotlight at The Book Tree
Saturday, October 22
Review at Queen of All She Reads
Sunday, October 23
Review at Quirky Lady Reviews
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story
Spotlight at Kinx’s Book Nook
Monday, October 24
Review at Book Nerd
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Review at The Book Junkie Reads

4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

G776 Mamaleh knows best what Jewish mothers do to raise successful, creative empathetic independent children

Title of the book: Mamaleh knows best what Jewish mothers do to raise successful, creative empathetic independent children

Author: Marjorie Ingall

Publisher: Harmony Books

Publishing Date: 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8041-4141-3


We all know the stereotype of the Jewish mother: Hectoring, guilt-inducing, clingy as a limpet. In Mamaleh Knows Best, Tablet Magazine columnist Marjorie Ingall smashes this tired trope with a hammer.

Blending personal anecdotes, humor, historical texts, and scientific research, Ingall shares Jewish secrets for raising self-sufficient, ethical, and accomplished children. She offers abundant examples showing how Jewish mothers have nurtured their children’s independence, fostered discipline, urged a healthy distrust of authority, consciously cultivated geekiness and kindness, stressed education, and maintained a sense of humor. These time-tested strategies are the reason Jews have triumphed in a wide variety of settings and fields over the vast span of history.

Ingall will make you think, she will make you laugh, and she will make you a better parent. You might not produce a Nobel Prize winner, but you’ll definitely get a great human being.

Author Info:
(From the book)

Marjorie Ingall is a columnist for Tablet Magazine,the National Magazine Award-wining journal of Jewish culture and ideas, and a regular contributor to The New York TImes Book Review. For seven years she wrote the East Village Mamele column for The Jewish Daily Forward. She has been a contributing editor at Glamour and a contributing writer at Self, and she ahs written for Ms., Wired, Real Simple, Redbook, Parents, Parenting,m and the late lamented Sassy, where she was a senior writer and the books editor. She is the author of The Field Guide to North American Males, coauthro of Hungry with fashion model Crystal Renn, and coauthor of Smart Sex with Jessica Vitkus. SHe is a former senior writer and producer at the Oxygen TV network, where she discovered her perkiness levels were not sufficient for a job in daytime talk telivision.

Personal Opinion:

I think the title and the fact that I come from the background drew me into the book in the first place. Although I might be more of an outlier than a statistic, I was curious on how much the tips and advice could be applied to the way I was raised. While a lot of advice and tips are familiar, there are some that I didn't have and could have benefited from. Curiously enough, this could best be described as antithesis to Tiger Mom parenting which seems to focus a lot more on the immediate results, at least to me. This book focuses a lot more on long-term results and it also happens to be succinct and could be read by anyone. The advice will be both common sense yet something that seems to be different than the traditional parenting advice.

This is for Blogging for Books

4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Monday, October 17, 2016

G751 When Johnny doesn't come marching home; a compelling human interest story about a 20 year old boy's search for adventure in World War I

Title of the book:When Johnny doesn't come marching home; a compelling human interest story about a 20 year old boy's search for adventure in World War I

Author: Marian Small

Publisher: Friesen Press

Publishing Date: 2016

ISBN: 9781460286760


In 2017, the United States of America will be celebrating the Centennial of World War I. 1st Sergeant JOHN RUSSELL SMALL was a Veteran of that War. This is a true account of his experiences before, during and after the War, as written by his daughter, MARIAN SMALL, who set out at the age of 89 years to tell the story of a 20 year old boy whose love of adventure took him in 1916 to the Texas/Mexican border to join Brigadier-General John J. Pershing in the pursuit of Pancho Villa, the Mexican bandit, and then in 1918 to the trenches in France and No Man’s Land.

At her Dad’s death in 1978, Marian inherited his collection of memorabilia which dates back 100 years to the time of his enlistment in the Ohio National Guard in 1916. Included were historic photographs and the original letters that John had written to his parents and to his sweetheart, Mary, (later his wife) as well as a 1918 Diary that he took with him when he was sent over the sea to France. John kept the Diary with him on the many nights when he led his Platoon as they marched for miles in the dark, in rain and mud, to the various trenches in No Man’s Land. Even in the cootie and rat-filled trenches, with the sounds and dangers of the war going on all around him, he continued to write in the Diary and in his letters describing in detail the war as he was witnessing it.

This is a compelling human interest story that recognizes the valor of the doughboys in WWI. Those who returned to the country they loved faced many hardships, including the Great Depression. The war, however, had given them the will to survive and it was through them and their stubbornness, frugality, pride and a firm belief in disciplining their children that a generation was born that, in later years, after a second World War, became know as the greatest generation.

Author Info:
(From pump up your book)

  • When Johnny Doesn’t Come Marching Home is available at Amazon.
  • Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.

Meet the Author

Marian Small was born in Cleveland, Ohio; she has been writing for most of her life. She began her 25 year business career as a secretary, a cashier and manager of a Detroit mortgage company, and as an Operations Manager of a Florida stock-brokerage firm. She moved to Beverly Hills, Calif. with her the 10-year-old son from her first marriage and became the Administrative Assistant to a Vice-President of the Regional Office of the same brokerage firm, which entailed frequent stints within the Wall Street office.  She married again in 1973, at age 46. She and her husband shared a 34-year long marriage before they divorced. After surviving breast cancer and minor strokes, Marian resumed writing at age 86 and has been writing ever since.
For More Information

Personal Opinion:

I definitely think the book would be good for young children to teach them about history and to make history far more personal to them because the book contains pictures of articles, of the author's father and the language is simple to use and understand. When my son grows up, this will be something I will show him and tell him about it when the time will come. The story itself is bittersweet and sad at the same time because of how those who deserved our respect and gratefulness don't get it. I do hope that in the future things will change.

This is for Pump Up Your Book

4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

G754 Book Review of the kept woman by Karin Slaughter

Name of Book: The Kept Woman

Author: Karin Slaughter

ISBN: 978-0-06-243021-2

Publisher: William Morrow

Type of book: Mystery, thriller, drugs, foster houses, secret child, secrets, relationships, mother/daughter, mentors, Georgia, Atlanta, glamour, high life

Year it was published: 2016


Husbands and wives. Mothers and daughters. The past and the future.

Secrets bind them. And secrets can destroy them.

The author of the acclaimed standalone Pretty Girls returns with this long-awaited new novel in her bestselling Will Trent series—an electrifying, emotionally complex thriller that plunges the Georgia detective into the darkest depths of a case that just might destroy him.

With the discovery of a murder at an abandoned construction site, Will Trent and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation are brought in on a case that becomes much more dangerous when the dead man is identified as an ex-cop.

Studying the body, Sara Linton—the GBI’s newest medical examiner and Will’s lover—realizes that the extensive blood loss didn't belong to the corpse. Sure enough, bloody footprints leading away from the scene indicate there is another victim—a woman—who has vanished . . . and who will die soon if she isn’t found.

Will is already compromised, because the site belongs to the city’s most popular citizen: a wealthy, powerful, and politically connected athlete protected by the world’s most expensive lawyers—a man who’s already gotten away with rape, despite Will’s exhaustive efforts to put him away.

But the worst is yet to come. Evidence soon links Will’s troubled past to the case . . . and the consequences will tear through his life with the force of a tornado, wreaking havoc for Will and everyone around him, including his colleagues, family, friends—and even the suspects he pursues.

Relentlessly suspenseful and furiously paced, peopled with conflicted, fallible characters who leap from the page, The Kept Woman is a searing novel of love, loss, and redemption. A seamless blend of twisty police procedural and ingenious psychological thriller, it marks Karin Slaughter’s triumphant return to her most popular series, sure to please new and diehard fans alike.


While there are quite a lot of characters in the story, main ones would be Angie and Will Trent, a husband-and-wife on paper but not in actions. Angie is presented as extremely ruthless, cold and uncaring by other characters who dared to do the unthinkable, but when its time for her voice to speak, she is best described as survivor and someone who is hotheaded and impulsive and having an extremely tough time in childhood, while Will Trent has his own psychological issues with relationships and life in general and is seeking more familiar.


You never know the person's history


The story is in third person narrative primarily from Angie's and Will's points of view. The story also takes place in Georgia, yes in the infamous city of Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. Aside from Will and Angie as well as the descriptions of intrigue and that the author seems to know what she is talking about, I have to say that the weaknesses outweighed the positives of the book. I didn't like being thrown into the story, introduced to characters and know very little of their backgrounds or why they are in one another's lives; I also found some of the chapters to be very long which is not a good thing for me because I'm the type that likes to finish chapters before doing something else. Also, in my opinion, despite the thickness of the book, not much psychology of the characters is delved into and introduced.

Author Information:
(From the book)

Karin Slaughter is the #1 internationally bestselling author of more than a dozen novels, including the Will Trent and Grant County Serries and the instant New York TImes bestsellers Cop TOwn and Pretty Girls. There are more than thirty-five million copies of her books in print around the world. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia


Although the read was exciting and it definitely kept the reader on the edge of one's seat, my fault with the book is that its part of the series, and I'm a type of person that must read other books before reading the current publication, or at least I must have copies of previous publications prior to this one. The book is #8 of Will Trent series, and its my introduction to him as well as to the author. I also feel as if some things in the novel aren't explained well, and in some cases they tended to be predictable. What is the book's strength are the characters of Angie and Will, because there seemed to be paradoxes when it came to Angie; for Will and others described her one way, but she saw herself in another way, and it makes for a well-rounded character. I think that unless the reader is familiar with the characters and the series, there was frustration for me when it came to figuring out their relationships and the roles they carry in one another's lives. Best book series to compare it to is to Susan Spann's Shinobi Mysteries because although there is more focus on the present, I didn't have the advantage of previous knowledge of characters to help me enjoy the story, which is similar to Shinobi Mysteries.

This is for Pump Up Your Book

3 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Monday, October 10, 2016

G758 Book Review of wild girls by Erica Abeel

Name of Book: Wild Girls

Author: Erica Abeel

ISBN: 978-1-68003-103-4

Publisher: Texas Review Press

Type of book: 1950s-1990s, marriage, Allen Ginsburg, friendship, unconventional choices, Paris France, university, noveau-rich, old money, homosexuality, hidden secrets, artists, secret crushes, settling for second best, blossoming, stages, cheating

Year it was published: 2016


Three college friends from the 50s blaze their own path in love and work, braving the stifling conventions of the age, and anticipating the social thaw that would arrive ten years later. These “wild girls” pay heavy penalties for living against the grain, but, over the years, rebound and re-set their course, drawing strength from their friendship. The novel follows them from an elite northeastern college, to Paris with Allen Ginsberg, to New York’s avant-garde scene in the early sixties, to a mansion in Newport, to the slopes of Zermatt, to Long Island’s Gold Coast, as it celebrates the nimbleness and vitality of women who defied an entire culture to forge their own journey.

"Wild Girls is a novel about a few women rebels who came of age in the 50s with the Beats in Paris, Allen Ginsberg (when he was still sleeping with girls), and a Yoko Ono-based character in early 60s New York. More importantly, Erica Abeel IS a 'Wild Girl'--she lived the life, these are her friends, and this is an insider's peek into that world."—Kevin Kwan, author of  Crazy Rich Asians

Praise for Abeel's Women Like Us:

 "Smart, snappy, and compulsively readable ...  Written with wit and perception."—Publishers Weekly

 "An old-fashioned good read."—New York Times Book Review


Main characters include Brett, a-what I would guess- an upstart from a Jewish family that has been in America for a generation or so? She is fearless in following her dreams and is multi talented in dancing, writing. For some odd reason, she settles for second best in her life instead of trying to become the best. Most of the book and story is focused on her life in Paris with Allen Ginsburg followed by living with Rinko Park who is reminiscent of Yoko Ono. Julia seems to come from an old moneyed family and although at the start she makes conventional choices by giving up her dreams and living the way society desires her to do so, towards the end she blossoms and breaks out of the mold and makes some shocking and unconventional choices, especially when faced with some ugly truths about her husband. Audrey, I believe, is noveau rich family with a half brother named Bodie. In my opinion there wasn't enough of her in the story. She also makes an uncoventional choice when it comes to love and in the end has to deal with the damage her choice caused her life.


When playtime is over, who will be there to catch you?


The story is in third person narrative from Brett's (girl) Audrey's and Julia's points of view. The two women that the book mostly focused in my opinion are Brett, followed by Julia. The story definitely starts out interestingly with Brett meeting up with Allen Ginsburg then moves on to a character's funeral and then followed by going back to 1954, few years prior to moving to France and from then on moving on to 1990s. In some ways the story is an unconventional Jane Austen because there is social commentary of women's lives, and a myriad of references of what one would call "high-brow" things and literature. I did enjoy learning of the high culture of back then and importance of universities as well as reputations that people from these universities have. (I come from a public university thus, believe it or not, I am clueless when it comes reputations of people from various universities.)

Author Information:
(From the book)

Erica Abeel, author of Wild Girls, is a novelist, journalist, and former dancer, who has published five books, including Women Like Us (A Book of the Month Club Selection), Only When I laugh, I'll Call you Tomorrow and Other Lies between men and women, and Conscience Point. Based in New York and Long Island, she writes about women rebels who dared to live against the grain before the upheavals of the 1960s and shows how their lives unfold over subsequent decades. Her articles have appeared in The New York Times, Esquire, and Ms, among many other publications and websites. In addition, Abeel reviews films and interviews directors for The Huffington Post and Film Journal International. For more information, visit: www.ericaabeel.com


Due to the summary, I honestly thought it would be similar to Autobiography of Us, a book that also begins in 1950s about two good friends and of the pull and tug between dreams and society's expectations. In Autobiography of Us, women gave up their dreams for society's expectations, but in Wild Girls, (really aptly named) the women embrace their dreams, despite the fact that a lot of them will cause raised eyebrows. The stories are reminiscent of 'what if' what if a woman moved to another country? What if a woman stayed with a married lover without giving the ultimatum? A lot of references were a bit misplaced, and I don't think I was able to understand some of the girls' backgrounds in first chapters, but despite those minor quibbles, the story doesn't lose its spirit of freedom, lover and flaunting societal expectations. For me also, I had fun watching the beginnings of what would eventually become rebellion, wars and Beetles. I also liked learning about Allen Ginsburg because the only thing I knew of him is that he had written Howl, beyond that I knew nothing about him.

Given by Felicia Sinusas 

4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Saturday, October 1, 2016

G763 Book Review of the tea planter's wife by Dinah Jeffries

Name of Book: The Tea Planter's Wife

Author: Dinah Jeffries

ISBN: 978-0-451-49597-6

Publisher: Crown

Type of book: Ceylon, England, America, tea plantation, 1913, 1925-1934, secrets, Sinhalese, Tamil, workers, wills, first marriages, Great Depression, childhood, manipulation, blackmail

Year it was published: 2015


In this lush, sexy, atmospheric page-turner, a young Englishwoman, 19-year-old Gwendolyn, marries a rich and seductively mysterious widower, Laurence Hooper, after a whirlwind romance in London. When she joins him at his Ceylon tea plantation, she's certain she'll be the perfect wife and, someday, mother. But life in Ceylon is not what Gwen expected. The plantation workers are resentful, the neighbors, and her new sister-in-law, treacherous. Gwen finds herself drawn to a Singhalese man of questionable intentions and worries about the propriety of her husband's connection to an American widow. But most troubling are the terrible secrets in Laurence's past that soon come to light and force Gwen to make a devastating choice. What happened to his first wife? And will the darkness of his past destroy their marriage and Gwen's chance at happiness? Set in rich and exotic 1920s Ceylon, The Tea Planter's Wife is an utterly engrossing, compulsive page-turner that climaxes with more than one heartbreaking twist.


There are quite a few main characters: one is Gwen, a young woman from England who came to settle down in Ceylon. She definitely has a big heart and often tries to see people as people rather than as skin colors. She is very emotional, a little bit unstable and naive. Her husband, Laurence, is older than she by more than ten years. He has previously been married but has secrets of his own that he refuses to share with Gwen. There is also Verity, Laurence's sister who seems only to live to mess things up for Gwen and Laurence. I'll be honest in saying I never liked Verity. Savi Ravasinghee is a talented artist of Ceylonese ancestry who may or may not have done the unthinkable.


Secrets will never be hidden forever


The story is in third person narrative completely from Gwen's point of view. (I should note that Gwen's name is Gwendolyn, a character known as the good witch from the Wizard of Oz.) and right away it starts in 1913 with a mysterious woman taking up the baby and walking away from the house. Then the story picks up twelve years later with Gwen's arrival to Ceylon and focuses on how she establishes herself as mistress of plantation and the burdens and secrets she carries after her children are born. The story and the plot are strong and move the reader along. It's a book of balance where all parts work together to make a great whole.

Author Information:
(From book jacket)

Dinah Jeffries lives in Gloucestershire with her husband and Norfolk terrier. The Tea Planter's Wife spent sixteen weeks on bestseller lists in the UK. It has been published in nineteen countries worldwide.


I love reading books that take place in locales that are not as well known as the typical Europe/North America, and if there is history in the story, well it makes the story very compelling for me. Normally as well, whenever I read a book, I can instantly find comparisons to previous books I've read, but this is the first time I'm feeling stumped as to what book, if any, reminds me of The Tea Planter's Wife? In truth, it's a unique book, and there isn't a book that reminds me of it. The story has equal amounts of tension and realism weaved into the pages, and it seems as if the author has found a perfect balance between details and character development. The characters are very memorable, and it's definitely a unique spin on what happens when a dark skinned child is born to white parents? (Although I hadn't reviewed it, at one point I recall reading The Sacrifice of Tamar by Naomi Ragen and it dealt a little bit with a similar issue.)

This is for Blogging for Books

4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)
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