The Sapphire Widow by Dinah Jefferies | Blog Tour Review (@DinahJefferies @PenguinUKBooks) #TheSapphireWidow #Ceylon #historicalfiction

 

Published by Penguin (5 April 2018)

Available in ebook and paperback

400 pages

Source: ARC Review copy



I’m delighted to be sharing my review on the blog tour to celebrate the publication of The Sapphire Widow and my thanks to Georgia Taylor of Penguin for the ARC to review and for the tour invitation.  I have been a fan of Dinah’s writing ever since her first book The Separation in 2014 and her captivating story telling has cemented her place in my list of favourite historical fiction authors.

I can’t not mention this, very many congratulations to Dinah.  The Sapphire Widow is one of the Richard and Judy Book Club Summer 2018 selections.

 

|   About the Book   |

 

A sweeping, breath-taking story of love and betrayal from the Number One Sunday Times bestselling author of The Tea Planter’s Wife

Ceylon, 1935. Louisa Reeve, the daughter of a successful British gem trader, and her husband Elliot, a charming, thrill-seeking businessman, seem like the couple who have it all. Except what they long for more than anything: a child.

While Louisa struggles with miscarriages, Elliot is increasingly absent, spending much of his time at a nearby cinnamon plantation, overlooking the Indian ocean. After his sudden death, Louisa is left alone to solve the mystery he left behind. Revisiting the plantation at Cinnamon Hills, she finds herself unexpectedly drawn towards the owner Leo, a rugged outdoors man with a chequered past. The plantation casts a spell, but all is not as it seems. And when Elliot’s shocking betrayal is revealed, Louisa has only Leo to turn to…

 

|   My Thoughts   |

 

The Sapphire Widow is another mesmerising story from Dinah Jefferies. Set in Ceylon in 1935, it’s a beautifully written and evocative story of love, betrayal and hope. For those that have read The Tea Planter’s Wife some familiar faces return. I was delighted to meet up again with Laurence and Gwen Hooper.

Louisa Reeve has a privileged life, living in a grand colonial house with servants to look after the household. Her charming and handsome businessman husband of 12 years, Elliott, is a loving husband, albeit away from home a lot. There is however something missing from Louisa’s life, a child.  She is still mourning the loss of her stillborn baby as well as recovering from previous miscarriages.

When tragedy strikes Louisa is left to pick up the pieces of her life and what she discovers makes her wonder whether she ever knew her husband at all. Whilst trying to cope with devastating events, and with the support of her father and sister in law, she tries to make a new start and puts her energies into a new venture involving the renovation of an imposing, but derelict building for the sale of jewellery, silks and high quality goods. This is not without its own problems and added to her other woes, I wouldn’t have blamed her if she had buried herself under the duvet (or the 1930’s equivalent!) and stayed there. Of course Louisa is not that sort of person; despite her vulnerability, she has an inner strength which she will need to draw upon, especially in her dealings with Irene, the mother-in-law from hell.

Dinah Jefferies has a great talent for bringing locations and landscapes to life with her vivid and lavish descriptions. I could easily visualise the setting of the Cinnamon Hills plantation in Colombo, or the ramparts of Galle overlooking the sea.

As for characters, there were some that I loved and others that made me want to poke them in the eye. Louisa of course was engaging and I was on her side from the beginning, she certainly had more patience than me, especially where certain people were concerned. Margo, her supportive sister in law who had her own problems to deal with. Jonathan, Louisa’s father who really stepped up to the plate when it mattered and then there’s Leo, owner of the cinnamon plantation. An unconventional, self contained man but with a heart of gold.

I adore Dinah’s books, I can vicariously travel to exotic locations, experience different cultures and be thoroughly entertained. The amount of research that must have been undertaken and the intricate level of detail involved is incredible and adds to the authenticity.  There is a little of everything in The Sapphire Widow. Drama, secrets and betrayals, romance – all sitting against a mysterious and sinister backdrop.

I really enjoyed it. It was a book that kept me so completely engrossed and I was quite sad when I’d finished.  And finally, a big bravo to the designers, yet another stunning cover!

 

 

|   Author Bio    |

 

Dinah was born in Malaya in 1948 and moved to England at the age of nine. In 1985, the sudden death of her fourteen year old son changed the course of her life, and deeply influenced her writing. Dinah drew on that experience, and on her own childhood spent in Malaya during the 1950s to write her debut novel, The Separation.

Now living in Gloucestershire with her husband and their Norfolk terrier, she spends her days writing, with time off with her grandchildren.

 

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Previous reviews

The Separation
The Tea Planter’s Wife
The Silk Merchant’s Daughter

 

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