My daughter, Juthika, said her friends wanted me to come and talk about ‘The Teaplanter’s Daughter’ for their reading group. ‘Mum, read the book first because you wrote it so long ago you might have forgotten it,’ she said. ‘These people are great friends. They are very important to me.’ I assured her I would, but then thought, I wrote it. Of course I would remember it. And even if I didn’t, the things they asked me would remind me. They had chosen this book because of Juthika’s father being a teaplanter. ‘The events in the book are based on our life in the teaplanting district,’ I explained. I should be OK there I thought, for in fact I could hardly remember the story at all. ‘So all the things that happened are based on true events?’ one man asked. ‘Oh, yes,’ I assured him. I felt quite safe here. At least I could remember my life as a tea planter’s wife. ‘And the bit about the father sexually abusing the daughter. Did that really happen?’ My God! I’m sure nothing like that happened in the book. By this time Jutika was frantically nudging me. ‘Mum, tell them that Dad didn’t….’ The horror of the situation. You can’t imagine. I’ve looked in the book since and I still can’t find an abuse episode.
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