Journey to 1920’s Ceylon in this deeply engrossing family drama. Gwendolyn, a young Englishwoman, marries Laurence, the owner of a tea plantation in Ceylon, and travels there to begin their life together. She knows his first wife has died but he is reluctant to share details with her. Gwen loves the home that she now finds herself in charge of and gradually takes over the running of the household. Before long she finds herself pregnant and the two eagerly anticipate the arrival of the child. But there are secrets in this household and forces determined to undermine them.
This drama covers the first 10 years of Gwen and Laurence’s marriage and follows them through the challenges of life as plantation owners. The story touches on issues of discrimination and the changes taking place in the culture at the time. I thought the author did a great job of navigating these issues in a way that doesn’t distract from the story but is an integral part of it. Gwendolyn is a lovely young lady who is dropped into a completely different culture and the job of running a large household at the tender age of 19. She must carefully navigate some very troubled waters but comes out stronger every time. Laurence is a good man but he has his flaws and all of this comes out in the book. I felt like I really got to know these two in an intimate way throughout the story. Finally, the author gives wonderful descriptions of the foliage and landscape of Ceylon. This is a sweeping story that takes the reader from England to Ceylon to New York and back again. Really well done!
Alinefromabook’s rating: 4 stars!!
Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads | Barnes & Noble | Amazon Canada
Thank you to Blogging for Books and Broadway Books for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Ross Poldark returns to Cornwall after fighting in the war in America. He finds his father dying and the house in disrepair. Jud and Prudie, the caretakers, have apparently spent more time drinking than maintaining. Ross also learns that Elizabeth, the young lady he was in love with and hoping to marry on his return, has become engaged to his childhood friend Francis. He retreats into his grief and focuses on restoring his home to a livable condition. His cousin Verity visits him on a regular basis during the first few months and is the only bright light in his life during the time. While at the fair one day he rescues a young girl from a mob of boys and upon finding out the dire circumstances of her life, takes her home to work for him as a kitchen maid. Demelza manages to charm her way into the good graces of Jud and Prudie and becomes invaluable to the household. Meanwhile, Ross is raising capital so that he can reopen one of the mines on his property and dealing with events that affect the safety of his tenants and the well-being of his extended family.
I found this book to be a glorious family saga. This one is first in a series and definitely starts it off well. I found Ross to be a bit on the dark side and the beginning and it took me a little time to really start to like him but as the story unfolds his true character begins to shine. Jud and Prudie are great as the supporting cast. They are the kind of characters that frustrate Ross frequently but for whom he has a great fondness because of their loyalty. Demelza is like a little firecracker in the family when she appears. She’s so full of life and everything is a new discovery to her once she moves into the Poldark house. This story is rich in characters and environment as well. It has the sense of being a real depiction of what life was like in Cornwall in the late 1700’s. This first book spans about 4 years in the life of Ross Poldark and I’m very excited to see what will come in book 2. I highly recommend this for lovers of good stories.
Alinefromabook’s rating: 5 stars!!
On Amazon | On Goodreads