Book Review: Pride & Prejudice

Well what can I say…I chose to re-read Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen as the ninth book in my Goodreads reading challenge.  This is, without a doubt, one of my absolute favourite books.  With arguably the most famous opening sentence in fiction, Austen draws you in immediately with Elizabeth Bennet’s quick wit and prejudiced first impressions.  I love the fact, that despite this book being published for the first time in 1813, many of the issues raised continue today.  We all judge a book by it’s cover (excuse the pun!) at sometime in our lives, and that is exactly what Elizabeth Bennet and the inhabitants of Meryton do throughout this book.

We all know the story of Pride & Prejudice – the BBC helped with that with their amazing tv adaptation starring Colin Firth (you’re thinking about him in his wet shirt emerging from the lake at Pemberly, I know it!) and Jennifer Ehle so there really is no need for me to give you a detailed synopsis.  If you haven’t read this book, you need to.  Classics are often seen as dry and boring by many, in part I believe due to the fact we are forced to read them at school.  Take the time, and read this classic – it may surprise you.

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Book Review: The Tea Planter’s Wife

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? (Taken from Amazon)

For me, location plays a significant role in any novel, and Dinah Jefferies certainly does not disappoint with The Tea Planter’s Wife.  Her beautiful, vivid descriptions of Ceylon really do bring the story to life, as you imagine the tea pluckers in their beautiful sari’s picking the delicate tea leaves across the vast plantations.  It creates the ideal setting for the story of a young, English tea planters wife who leaves her home and family to follow her husband to the strange land in which she is to live.  This novel delicately explores the racial differences of the 1920’s and 1930’s, as the natives were slowly beginning to fight for their rights, and for independence.  It follows Gwen Hooper and her family as they fight to hide their own secrets at a time of significant cultural change, as they are forced to explore their own views and the impact these will have.  The characters of Gwen and Laurence Hooper are wonderful examples of characters who portray love, tragedy but above all hope, at times when all feels lost.

I really cannot recommend this book enough, and am very pleased that this was book eight in my Goodreads reading challenge.  I will definitely be reading more from Dinah Jefferies.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

My reading list – Updated!

So I have an extensive to be read list which I thought I might share just a little of with you all.  As I read these books, I am reviewing them – these reviews can be found by following the links!

The Vintage Teacup Club, Vanessa Greene

My Sister’s Secret, Tracy Buchanan

Waiting for the Bee Stings, Calvin Wade

The Lies We Told, Diane Chamberlain

The Scandalous Duchess, Anne O’Brien

Montana Cherries, Kim Law

A Letter from America, Geraldine O’Neill

Hunger, Michael Grant

Me Before You, Jojo Moyes

The Tea Planter’s Wife, Dinah Jefferies

Read along with me and let me know what you think!

World Book Day!

It’s World Book Day! Today is the one day of the year where those of us who are book geeks can shout from the rooftops about what we are reading.  We can encourage our children to dress up as their favourite characters from their favourite books, and we can just spend the day talking about our favourite reads.

Which books and authors will you be talking about today?

Word Wednesdays!

So my word of the week is…

diadem n. a jewelled crown.

Let’s be honest – we all know what this is purely because we’ve read J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series.  You know i’m right! What’s your word of the week?

(Oxford English Dictionary)