The Sapphire Widow by Dinah Jefferies book review

the sapphire widow

The Sapphire Widow written by Dinah Jefferies, publisher Viking (an imprint of Penguin) is available in ebook, paperback and audiobook format from 5th April 2018.

To pre-order/buy link:  https://goo.gl/eeQDK2

Product Details (as per amazon page)

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…

sapphire

I voluntarily reviewed an arc of  this book.  All opinions are my own and no content may be copied.  However, authors and publishers may use elements of my reviews for quotes.

This was such a captivating story by Dinah Jefferies who has once again taken the reader to another culture and another time.  This story takes us travelling back in time to 1935 and the city of Galle, Ceylon, south-west Sri Lanka.  With Dinah Jefferies words describing the vivid colours, sounds and aromas you can visualise the cinnamon plantations, the streets in and around Galle and the serenity of the coastal area.

Louisa and Elliot Reeve have been married for 12 years living and working in Galle with such lush surroundings.  Their marriage has weathered a few storms experiencing much sadness but the prospects of starting a new joint venture of a jewellery and fine goods emporium is giving the couple a much needed boost. However, life was to throw more anguish in Louisa’s way that crushes her heart.  The days following this tragedy opens up many more wounds for Louisa and she soon starts to realise did she ever know what her husband was really like?

Louisa had led a fairly charmed existence growing up in an affluent family however, sadness in her past has given her a strength and empathy to cope with what lies ahead.  My heart ached for all the turmoil Louisa had accrued and I could totally understand why she didn’t know anything about the events that had unfolded.  Louisa’s husband Elliot had many business interests and it was common during this era that wives were not often involved in the day to day functions of business.  Louisa’s strength through adversity was admiral and seeing through the fog of turmoil she could compartmentalise her own emotions to help those in need.  She didn’t let prejudices thwart her actions.  Life had to go on and light would eventually shine through bringing, hope, belief and love.

A stunning, evocative story coping with grief, deceit, emotional turmoil and fresh starts.

To learn more about the author please do visit the following pages:

Website:  http://www.dinahjefferies.com/

Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/DinahJefferies

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/dinahjefferiesbooks/

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The Silk Merchant’s Daughter by Dinah Jefferies book review

the silk merchants daughter

The Silk Merchant’s Daughter by Dinah Jefferies, publisher Penguin is available from THURSDAY 25th February 2016 in ebook, hardcover and audio download format.

To buy link:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Silk-Merchants-Daughter-Dinah-Jefferies-ebook/dp/B016MO201E/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1456217688&sr=1-1

Product Details (as per amazon page)

FROM THE NUMBER ONE BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THE TEA PLANTER’S WIFE

Dinah Jefferies’ stunning new novel is a gripping, unforgettable tale of a woman torn between two worlds…

1952, French Indochina. Since her mother’s death, eighteen-year-old half-French, half-Vietnamese Nicole has been living in the shadow of her beautiful older sister, Sylvie. When Sylvie is handed control of the family silk business, Nicole is given an abandoned silk shop in the Vietnamese quarter of Hanoi. But the area is teeming with militant rebels who want to end French rule, by any means possible. For the first time, Nicole is awakened to the corruption of colonial rule – and her own family’s involvement shocks her to the core…

Tran, a notorious Vietnamese insurgent, seems to offer the perfect escape from her troubles, while Mark, a charming American trader, is the man she’s always dreamed of. But who can she trust in this world where no one is what they seem?

The Silk Merchant’s Daughter is a captivating tale of dark secrets, sisterly rivalry and love against the odds, enchantingly set in colonial era Vietnam.

vietmanese flowers

I’d like to thank the publishers and Dinah Jefferies for an arc in return for an honest review.

I utterly adored this story.  I was gripped with the intense drama and of the desperation of survival of the heart and soul.  This was  a beautiful, touching, at times harrowing and tragic story.  A story of survival.  A story of defending your heritage.  A story of love.

18 year old Nicole, daughter of a Vietnamese mother and French father, was struggling with her identity.  She admired her beautiful, older sister who oozed French chic.  Nicole had more of her mother’s looks and being half French faced much racism living in French Indochina in 1952.  War was imminent, Vietnamese rebels wanted to end French rule.  Nicole and her family living in the wealthy French quarter were soon caught up in a dangerous life of survival.  During these tentative times Nicole had become friends with an American who was working with her father.  Nicole soon started to have strong feelings for Mark but didn’t know an awful lot about him.

Nicole witnesses a truly awful event to which her father, her sister and Mark were involved.  She is utterly disgusted with this terrible event she has witnessed and her whole outlook on her life and loved ones has been shaken.  She doesn’t know who to trust or who to turn to.

Tran, a Vietnamese revolutionary offers her an escape from her insecurities. However, the journey she takes with Tran is full of danger she didn’t expect and Nicole fears for her life and wonders whether she will see her family and Mark again.

I was totally gripped with this story.  I felt the fear of impending uncertainty of the war from Nicole.  I felt her anxiety and confusion of not knowing which side she belonged to: French or Vietnamese.  I also felt her heartache for the love she thought would not blossom and grow.  A beautiful love story set amongst a country full of so much unrest.  Can love survive the battles ahead for Nicole?  Once again Dinah drew you into the story and the country with it’s beauty.  Amongst the devastated landscapes the beauty of the colours of the flora and fauna could not be hidden.  I could almost picture the markets with its array of colours of the spices which radiated the most delicious, warming aromas.

I was gripped with the intensity of the drama were love had to battle with a country’s unrest.  5/5*

To find out more about Dinah Jefferies and her books please visit the following links:

http://www.dinahjefferies.com/

https://twitter.com/DinahJefferies

https://www.facebook.com/dinahjefferiesbooks/?fref=ts

 

The Tea Planter’s Wife by Dinah Jefferies book review

the tea planters wife

The Tea Planter’s Wife by Dinah Jefferies, publisher Penguin is available in ebook, paperback and audio download format from TOMORROW 3rd September 2015.

To buy links:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Planters-Wife-Dinah-Jefferies/dp/0241969557/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1441186229&sr=1-1

Product Details (as per amazon page)

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?

teapot

I’d like to thank the publishers and netgalley for an arc in return for an honest review.

This is the first book I’ve read by Dinah Jefferies.  The Tea Planter’s Wife is Dinah’s second book with The Separation as her first.

It’s the early 1920’s when Gwen meets and falls in love with Laurence, an owner of a tea plantation, during one of his visits to England.  Gwen takes the emotional journey of a new young wife on a steamer set sail for Ceylon.  A journey of trepidation, a journey of excitement, a journey of hope, a journey of the unknown.  Ceylon was a very different world to London, an unforgiving climate, culture and lifestyle beckoned for Gwen.  Gwen found Laurence very distant at times when she first joined him in Ceylon at the tea plantation as his wife, he wasn’t the man she had fallen in love with, although there were glimpses at times of the ‘old’ Laurence.  Laurence was very engrossed in his work which left Gwen on her own a lot to learn about this new world.  Gwen was quite naïve and vulnerable at times and a supposedly happy event was to change the course of Gwen’s new idyllic life.  This event brought an emotional torture for Gwen and she struggled with this and her secret was to be locked up.  However, hers was not the only secret that the house kept hidden away.  These secrets slowly start revealing themselves causing old wounds to be re-opened.  These secrets were truly heart breaking and I could feel my own heart shattering whilst reading the words on the page.

This story is very beautiful.  I loved Dinah’s wonderful words describing the landscape of colours in Ceylon.  I was swept away with this story of love, discovery and heart wrenching secrets in a world without diversity. Beautiful, touching, heartbreaking 5/5* read.

I’d like to share a quote from the book I particularly liked:

‘To Gwen, Ceylon was a place where British dreams had been built and fortunes made, where English families had lived and children had been born, and where her life had changed beyond her wildest dreams.  Yet here was a different world, where girls ran about in simple cotton tops and threadbare skirts, where babies gurgled and crawled in the dirt, and people did not have enough to eat.’

To find out more about Dinah Jefferies and her books please visit the following links:

http://www.dinahjefferies.com/

https://www.facebook.com/dinahjefferiesbooks

https://twitter.com/DinahJefferies