Blog Tour: The Death of Mrs Westaway by Ruth Ware

**Insert** I am hugely embarassed that this post did not post itself yesterday as planned, so here is my delayed entry on Ruth Ware’s blog tour for The Death of Mrs Westaway

Good morning all! I’m excited to be bringing you something a bit different today – an audio entry on a blog tour. If you click below, you’ll hear the opening section of The Death of Mrs Westaway, the latest novel by Ruth Ware, read by Imogen Church. Details of the book are below, plus the rest of the stops on the blog tour, so do take a look for more exclusive content…

When Harriet Westaway receives an unexpected letter telling her she’s inherited a substantial bequest from her Cornish grandmother, it seems like the answer to her prayers. She owes money to a loan shark and the threats are getting increasingly aggressive: she needs to get her hands on some cash fast.

There’s just one problem – Hal’s real grandparents died more than twenty years ago. The letter has been sent to the wrong person. But Hal knows that the cold-reading techniques she’s honed as a seaside fortune teller could help her con her way to getting the money. If anyone has the skills to turn up at a stranger’s funeral and claim a bequest they’re not entitled to, it’s her.

Hal makes a choice that will change her life for ever. But once she embarks on her deception, there is no going back. She must keep going or risk losing everything, even her life…

The Death of Mrs Westaway is published by Vintage. For further information about this book and Ruth Ware, you can check out her website.

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Blog Tour: The Red Hand of Fury by R. N.Morris – Q&A

London, June 1914. A young man is mauled to death at London Zoo after deliberately climbing into the bear pit. Shortly afterwards, another young man leaps to his death from the notorious Suicide Bridge. Two seemingly unconnected deaths – and yet there are similarities. 

Following a third attempted suicide, Detective Inspector Silas Quinn knows he must uncover the link between the three men if he is to discover what caused them to take their own lives. The one tangible piece of evidence is a card found in each of the victims’ possession, depicting a crudely-drawn red hand. What does it signify? To find the answers, Quinn must revisit his own dark past. But can he keep his sanity in the process …?

Good morning one and all! I’m very happy today to be taking part in a blog tour for R. N. Morris’ latest Silas Quinn novel, The Red Hand of Fury. Roger has been kind enough to answer a few questions about his historical crime novel.

Writing historical fiction and not spoiling the narrative flow by cramming in every note of your research is definitely a skill – how do you balance historical fact within your writing, or is it just a Dark Art??
I’m not sure it’s a Dark Art, but it is something I’m consciously trying to achieve. I think there are two sides to historical research. The first is to give the writer the confidence to actually start writing the story. What you’re trying to do is absorb as much as you can about the period so that you build up a feel for what it must have been like to be alive at that time. I read general histories, biographies, diaries, memoirs, newspapers from the archives, as well as novels of the period, written at the time. I allowed three months for this and during that time I didn’t attempt any writing at all. I was just taking things in. I read on a Kindle so I was highlighting things that caught my eye. Then I put that all to one side and started writing. Very rarely will I go back and check something – or think I have to work in a particularly fascinating detail that I picked up. Now it’s all about the story. But then what happens is as you write the story you come up against specific things that you need to know about. So this is the second side of the research, because you’re looking for something very specific, chasing some descriptive detail down or some fact that is important to your story. For me it’s always about the story, that has to come first. Along the way there are fascinating snippets that I’m just not able to include. That’s just the way it is.

There is a focus on mental health in the novel – how did you go about researching mental health ‘care’ in the early 20th Century? 
I began by reading a history of the Colney Hatch Asylum where much of the story is set. I also read accounts of patients’ experiences in other asylums in England at the same period, but also I read as much as I could about the history of psychiatric care. One book in particular, “Madness in Civilization: The Cultural History of Insanity” by Andrew Scull, was extremely helpful. For me it’s also important to build up a visual idea of the setting, so the photographs in these books and online were often as useful as the texts. It was also interesting to visit the Colney Hatch hospital site as it is today. It has been converted into a block of luxury flats – it even counts a number of pop stars among its residents. I’m not sure I could live in such a building, however tastefully refurbished it was.

Did you find anything that really shocked you in the treatment of mental health patients in this period?
Lots! Things like deliberately inducing insulin comas in patients (who were not diabetic) as a method of calming them down and controlling them. Perhaps the most bizarre thing I discovered was that an American psychiatrist called Cotton believed that all mental illnesses had a single physiological cause – a germ of madness, if you like. This germ spread through the bloodstream and poisoned the brain. The ‘cure’ was to surgically remove the source of the infection, which he initially believed to be the teeth and tonsils. But when this didn’t really work he whipped out stomachs, spleens, cervixes and colons. He claimed this cured up to 85 per cent of the mad. It’s hard to believe now, but his theories were taken seriously and he had his followers around the world, including England. I don’t want to give too much away but Cotton was the medical director of New Jersey State Hospital at Trenton from 1907 to 1930, so he was active during the period of the book. Not to give too much away, I speculate that some of the doctors at Colney Hatch might have heard of his theories.

What inspired you to set the Silas Quinn books in the early 20th Century? 
I was really interested in writing something set just before the outbreak of the First World War, because for me that event seems to be a turning point in history. Nothing was the same ever again. All the horrors of the twentieth century are just around the corner, so that we tend to think of the eve of the war as an age of innocence almost. In a way, the events of the novel serve as a dramatic foreshadowing of what is to come. The war unleashed catastrophic slaughter on an industrial scale, death, destruction, horrific injuries, psychological trauma – it’s almost as if the world went mad. I wanted to juxtapose that with an exploration of individual madness and a series of bizarre and violent crimes that are on a more human scale. The beginning of the twentieth century is an amazing time too, with so much happening in every sphere of activity: politics, art, society, literature, music. You pretty much have the birth of the film industry, mass entertainment, mass communication, consumerism, urban living, alienation… It’s a very fertile field for a historical novelist, especially one specialising in historical crime fiction.

Will Silas Quinn return??
Yes! I’m working on the next book right now. It’s due to be published in 2019. And by the way, there are other books in the series available. The last time I looked the first book, Summon Up The Blood, was 99p or $1.33 on Kindle. Amazon change their prices so that may have gone up by the time you read this, but hopefully it should still be reasonably priced. Apologies for the blatant sales pitch!

Many thanks Roger for taking the time to answer my questions!

My full review of The Red Hand of Fury will follow outside of the tour, but it was definitely my cup of tea! The tour is still ongoing, so please do check out some of the fab blogs below for more exclusive content and reviews.

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Blog Tour: What Kitty Did Next by Carrie Kablean

England, 1813 Nineteen-year-old Catherine Bennet lives in the shadow of her two eldest sisters, Elizabeth and Jane, who have both made excellent marriages. No one expects Kitty to amount to anything. Left at home in rural Hertfordshire with her neurotic and nagging mother, and a father who derides her as silly and ignorant, Kitty is lonely, diffident and at a loss as to how to improve her situation. When her world unexpectedly expands to London and the Darcys’ magnificent country estate in Derbyshire, she is overjoyed. Keen to impress this new society, and to change her family’s prejudice, Kitty does everything she can to improve her mind and manners and for the first time feels liked and respected. However, one fateful night at Pemberley, a series of events and misunderstandings conspire to ruin Kitty’s reputation. But Kitty has learnt from her new experiences and what she does next does next will not only surprise herself, but everyone else too.

Based on Jane Austen’s much-loved characters, this is the story of one young woman’s struggle to overcome the obstacles of her time and place and truly find herself.

What I Thought:
I am happy to be a total cliche and tell you that one of my favourite books is Pride and Prejudice. As such I delight in reading retellings of and follow-ups to Jane Austen’s original novel – What Kitty Did Next is a brilliant example.

Most of the these type of books seem to focus on the more prominent Bennet sisters, while poor Mary and Kitty get cast adrift. Carrie Kablean sets this right by turning the spotlight onto Kitty as she emerges from Lydia Bennet’s shadow and influence. Invited to spend more time in the Bingley and Darcy households, Kitty fully embraces the opportunities that gives and begins to make friends with Georgiana Darcy – who is presented as a much more fully-formed character in this novel.

Carrie Kablean’s style is very much her own and, while the characters we all recognise from Pride and Prejudice are here, there are some fantastic new ones introduced – some of whom are worthy acquaintances of the Darcys and some who are downright rogues. All of these characters blend seemlessly, with settings such the balls and assemblies we’re familiar with.

It’s clear that the author is a fellow lover of Pride and Prejudice, as it comes through in the care she shows poor Kitty and the rest of the Bennet family and, although tragedy strikes the family, the whole section is written with sensitivity and true affection.

Reading the further adventures of Kitty and seeing how she begins to mature and develop is a real delight and any fan of Jane Austen’s work will love this continuation of Kitty’s story – definitely recommended!

What Kitty Did Next is published by Red Door. To find out more about Carrie Kablean, you can check out her website, or you can connect with her on Twitter.

This post is part of the a blog tour for What Kitty Did Next, and there is lots of other great content on the blogs below, please do check them out if you can.

Please note: I was sent a copy of this book for review purposes. All other opinions are, as ever, my own.

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Blog Tour: The Hanging Women by John Mead

Jack Stevens discovers the bodies of two women, Philomena Blackstaff and Mary Walsh, tied together and hung by their ankles in a position resembling the symbol for treachery as depicted on tarot cards. Though retired and now wealthy, Stevens is an ex-sheriff and involves himself in the subsequent investigation.

As a result of Jack ‘stealing’ Philomena’s diary and his association with the Pinkerton detective agency, it is discovered that Mary Walsh worked undercover for the Pinkertons, investigating the Knights of Labour (the fastest growing workers’ rights movements in America of the late 1800’s). The women had been working together, tracing the man who was selling guns and dynamite to the more extremest factions of the workers movement. This led them to Ruby’s, a secret ‘nightclub for deviants’, where Stevens and Inspector O’Leary believe the pair fell foul of the man they were looking for, gang leader Joseph Mannheim.

With the May 4th Haymarket riots and bombings looming, Stevens must uncover the truth about The Hanging Women before it’s too late.

What I Thought:
I find American history fascinating. Regardless of the rights and wrongs of it, it takes some spirit to impose yourselves and your values on a whole continent, seemingly without care. This bluff, pioneer attitude is perfectly encapsulated in John Mead’s protagonist, Jack Stevens.

In The Hanging Women, Stevens is a wealthy, older gentleman, but one who has lived an active life as a sheriff in the West and continues to apply the values of that life to his current circumstances. With grown children, Stevens seems to live much of his life simply to prevent boredom – including becoming involved in a police investigation after the discovery of the titular dead women.

John Mead paints a detailed picture of 19th Century Chicago, removing much of the rose-coloured tint that that period evokes and showing us a gritty, faction-led city that is, in many ways, struggling to find an identity. Politics, crime, sex and gangs mix to show that many of the things affecting our society today are age old!

I really enjoyed the historical details in the book and I don’t think I’ve read anything with this particular setting before – there are many books dealing with the Old West, but we often forget that by the late 1880s, the great cities of the US were very firmly established. There has obviously been a great deal of research done on this book, but it is integrated well into the fictional narrative – if you read a lot of historical fiction you will appreciate that this is a tricky skill for a writer.

Overall, this book is excellent. It’s paced very well, building slowly as the mystery about the murdered women is unfolded, before exploding into intense action as all is revealed and all the loose threads are pulled together. This may indicate that Jack Stevens’ story is at an end, but I would certainly be happy to read more about him in future.

The Hanging Women is published by The Book Guild. To find out more about John Mead, you can connect with him on Twitter.

This post is part of a blog tour for The Hanging Women so do check out some of the fantastic blogs below for their take on this title.

Please note: I was sent a copy of this book for review purposes. All opinions are, as ever, my own.

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Blog Tour: Mine by Susi Fox

This is not your baby.

You wake up alone after an emergency caesarean, dying to see your child.

But when you are shown the infant, you just know . . .

This baby is not yours.

No one believes you.

They say you’re delusional, confused, dangerous.

But you’re a doctor . . .

Do you trust yourself?

Because you know only one thing – You must find your baby.

What I Thought:
If you read this blog, even sporadically, you’ll know that I love reading thrillers, the twistier the better, and with Mine, Susi Fox has written a fantastically twisty, edge-of-your-seat thriller!

There are several levels on which this book is uncomfortable. First, the very idea of a baby swap in a hospital will put the frighteners on any parent, but couple this with the fact that the clinicians’ first assumption is that a new mother is psychotic and it really gives you the feeling of everything being out of your control. I don’t know whether it’s because I’m a bit of a control freak, but the thought of having everything taken out of your hands really sits uneasily with me and I could empathise with Sasha as every aspect of being a new parent is slowly taken away – from her baby’s premature and traumatic birth, to the assumption that she wants to do her baby harm.

I had thought, upon picking the book up, that it would be entirely from Sasha’s point of view as she tries to get to the truth, but it was great to read passages from her husband Mark’s point of view and to realise that there are things that we keep from each other, even in ‘perfect’ marriages.

The whole book is superbly written, always keeping you guessing as to whether Sasha is right and that her baby has been swapped, or whether she is indeed suffering from mental illness. Revelations about Sasha’s own mother add to the mix and muddy the waters significantly…

The ending was a complete surprise and definitely proves to me that you should still think twice, even if you think you know everything, and there are still enough threads to keep you thinking long after you’ve put the book down.

As a brief aside, this book is part of a fantastic wave of thrillers and crime fiction coming out of Australia at the moment and, I am happy to say, coming from Australian women. It’s good to see publishers acknowledge that women can and do write books like these, and that there is a definite market out there for them – long may it continue!

Mine is published by Penguin. To find out more about Susi Fox, you can connect with her on Twitter.

This post is part of the blog tour celebrating the release of Mine in the UK. Please do check out some of the other blogs below for more reviews and exclusive content.

Please note: I received this book via Netgalley for the purposes of the tour. All opinions are, as ever, my own.

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Book Review: Whatever Happened to Margo? by Margaret Durrell

In 1947, returning to the UK with two young children to support, Margaret Durrell starts a boarding house in Bournemouth. But any hopes of respectability are dashed as the tenants reveal themselves to be a host of eccentrics: from a painter of nudes to a pair of glamorous young nurses whose late-night shifts combined with an ever-revolving roster of gentleman callers leading to a neighbourhood rumour that Margo is running a brothel. Margo’s own two sons, Gerry and Nicholas, prove to be every bit as mischievous as their famous Uncle Gerald – and he himself returns periodically with weird and wonderful animals, from marmosets to monkeys, that are quite unsuitable for life in a Bournemouth garden.

What I Thought:
The Durrells seem to be popular at the moment, what with the hit ITV show and so, Whatever Happened to Margo?, Margaret Durrell’s memoir of her eventual return to the UK, has been reissued by Penguin.

I’d not realised that, alongside her brothers, Margo Durrell had been bitten by the writing bug so discovering this book and the quirky residents of Margo’s boarding house was an absolute delight.

I mainly picked up the book as Margo’s boarding house was in Bournemouth and I love to read things set locally to me to see if I recognise any of the locations and, although Bournemouth is now very different to that of the late 1940s, I could picture where Barry the beach warden would have patrolled, and where Margo describes ‘going into town’ I could picture the route they might’ve taken.

Of course, even without the real-life signposts, the book is lovely to read as a snapshot of the late 1940s, as Margo’s mother has concerns that Margo get the ‘right people’ in her boarding house and worries that the nurses on the top floor might lead people to believe that they are running a brothel!

It’s hard to work out how much of Margo’s residents is the truth, and how much is caricature, but nevertheless, the book is written with a light touch and finds humour in the mundane details of boarding house living – and when Gerald turns up with a crate full of snakes, it’s interesting to say the least!

This edition of the book carries a foreword by Gerald Durrell, and also recommends looking up Gerald’s organisation, The Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, which carries on Gerald’s lifelong love of animals and does some fantastic conservation work.

Whatever Happened to Margo is published by Penguin and highly recommended!

Please note: I was sent a copy of this book for review purposes. All opinions are, as ever, my own.

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Blog Tour: The Soldier’s Home by George Costigan

Good morning one and all! It’s been a while since I posted on here, so what better way to come back to it than hosting a blog tour for an actor I admire, who has now turned his hand to writing?

You might be familiar with George Costigan from his many film and TV roles and, in light of this, I was eager to ask George about his experiences moving between acting and writing. I wondered whether his experiences as an actor inspire or inform his writing and vice versa? Although they are both creative outlets, does he feel that one lets him satisfy his creative spirit better? George was kind enough to send the following answer:

Right now I am playing James Tyrone in Eugene O’Neil’s ‘Long day’s Journey Into Night’. Anyone who couldn’t be inspired {and/or awed and thrilled and scared and amazed} by it must be a bit – err – dead. O’Neil is the only American playwright to have won the Nobel prize, and it’s not easy to capture in words the quality of and in his words. The soaring rhythms, the total precision, the scary emotional accuracy – and every night in the bar afterwards one is faced with people ‘blown away’.

This is thrilling and daunting, too when you next come to set pen to paper. But, hell, if you don’t aspire, and allow yourself to be inspired, then you rest on the ground always – and who doesn’t want to soar..? If only for a yard.

When this finishes I go on to a Sally Wainwright eight hour television which in its own way is just as good. Both these writers are in utter and total and thrilling control of their medium.

When that’s over I intend to go home and sit and write. Time will tell what rubs off and in which direction – but I am optimistic.
Of course all experiences get stored away somewhere for later use, either as an actor or as a scribbler. Laurence Olivier once said, ‘Actors are jackdaws, they steal things, store them away and bring them out sometimes years later, cos they knew they’d use it some day…’ That’s true, I would bet, for writers, too… Isn’t that the one of the uses and the point of memory?

To me, the action and the creativity are separates but both utterly satisfying. Acting is obviously more immediate. Tonight, for example, we’ll go out and do our best and reap {hopefully having earned it} the most obvious instant reward – applause. And, if you wanted to get grander about it – the seeding of a memory.

That doesn’t happen for a scribbler in that way – but the very idea someone somewhere you don’t know from Adam is reading – and maybe enjoying – something you wrote is almost indescribable…

I’m hugely thankful to George for taking the time to answer in such depth. Having read The Single Soldier, the first book in this series, I can’t wait to get stuck into The Soldier’s Home – more on both of those titles in review!

This post is part of a blog tour to celebrate the release of The Soldier’s Home and it continues on the other fantastic blogs below – do check them out if you can…

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Blog Tour: The Fear by C. L. Taylor

Sometimes your first love won’t let you go…

When Lou Wandsworth ran away to France with her teacher Mike Hughes, she thought he was the love of her life. But Mike wasn’t what he seemed and he left her life in pieces.

Now 32, Lou discovers that he is involved with teenager Chloe Meadows. Determined to make sure history doesn’t repeat itself, she returns home to confront him for the damage he’s caused.

But Mike is a predator of the worst kind, and as Lou tries to bring him to justice, it’s clear that she could once again become his prey…

What I Thought:
Although I will be reviewing The Fear below, today is also my stop on the blog tour for this suspenseful thriller and I’ve been given a snippet of the book to whet your appetite…

It doesn’t take Chloe long to find her confiscated phone. It’s shoved in her dad’s sock drawer – the same place he hides everything he takes away from his kids. Jamie’s Nintendo 3DS is in there too (swiped on the plane journey when he refused to turn it off for take-off). She snatches her phone up, creeps back out onto the landing and darts into her room. Her heart thuds in her chest as she stands at her bedroom door, listening out in case her dad comes back, then plugs her phone into her charger and turns it on. The Samsung logo swirls on the screen. A second later her apps appear. She holds her breath as she stares at the top left-hand corner of the screen, waiting for the phone to connect to the network and the notifications to appear.

Nothing happens.

I found The Fear really unsettling – as I had expected it to be – and really well-written. I don’t know why, but I really like reading psychological thrillers where the lead character loses their control and is merely swept along by events, even though they make me very uncomfortable and tend to stay with me. This book was no exception as Lou, although starting out with a plan to confront Mike, very quickly turned back into the groomed 14-year-old that she used to be.

What makes this book so uncomfortable is that Mike is the villain, and yet he is a normal bloke. There’s no indication outside of his dealings with Lou and Chloe to suggest that he is a paedophile, and so when Lou tries to warn people, no-one believes her. I suppose as a society we like to think that we could spot a paedophile a mile away, but this book is a wake up call in that regard!

This is the first book I’ve read by C. L. Taylor, but I was lucky enough to meet her at YALC 2017 and have a signed copy of The Treatment, her first YA book, to read – I’ll definitely be starting on that soon as her writing is superb, conveying domestic drama and suspense in a way that makes it compulsive reading.

The Fear was published by Avon Books on 22nd March. For more information on C. L. Taylor, check out her website or you can connect with her on Twitter.

This post is part of a blog tour to support the release of The Fear and there are lots of other fab blogs hosting guest content, competitions and extracts, so do check some of them out.

Please note: I was sent a copy of this book for review purposes. All opinions are, as ever, my own.

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Blog Tour: Things Bright and Beautiful by Anbara Salam

When Bea Hanlon follows her preacher husband Max to a remote island in the Pacific, she soon sees that their mission will bring anything but salvation…

Advent Island is a place beyond the reaches of Bea’s most fitful imaginings. It’s not just the rats and the hordes of mosquitos and the weevils in the powdered milk. Past the confines of their stuffy little house, amidst the damp and the dust and the sweltering heat, rumours are spreading of devil chasers who roam the island on the hunt for evil spirits. And then there are the noises from the church at night.

Yet, to the amusement of the locals and the bafflement of her husband, Bea gradually adapts to life on the island. But with the dreadful events heralded by the arrival of an unexpected, wildly irritating and always-humming house guest, Advent Island becomes a hostile place once again. And before long, trapped in the jungle and in the growing fever of her husband’s insanity, Bea finds herself fighting for her freedom, and for her life.

What I Thought:
I seem to have read quite a few debut novels recently – some better than others – but in general, if the standard of these debut authors is anything to go by, the publishing industry is in rude health and will be for the forseeable future.

Things Bright and Beautiful is Anbara Salam’s first novel but already her writing style is so accomplished in expressing the heat, humidity and opposive nature of the South Pacific that it makes this book a must-read.

As a confirmed old atheist, the religious aspects of this book interest me – I know my view of Missionaries and their quest to spread the Word to so-called uncivilised people and the fact that this book is set in the 1950s, and that that was still going on did surprise me.

The book itself is a thing of beauty – the designers at Fig Tree get a gold star as the rainforest cover, complete with snakes and creepy crawlies, sets the scene perfectly for the text and the sense of menace Bea first feels living in a remote South Pacific village.

The rainforest is brilliantly depicted almost as a character in itself as Bea uses it to navigate her way on the Island and as a source of supplementary food, while her husband Max begins to feel it close in on him as his South Pacific adventure is less like the musical than he thought it would be. Despite Max’s best intentions, the locals seem to prefer others to provide them with their spiritual comfort and then the old missionary comes back…

As I said, it’s clearly stated that this book takes place in the 1950s, but it really has the feel of a Victorian gothic novel, especially as Max’s religious fervour begins to grow and Bea realises that the man she married is no longer in his right mind and that she may be in real danger.

Things Bright and Beautiful is published by Fig Tree. To find out more about Anbara Salam, you can connect with her on Twitter.

This post is part of a blog tour to celebrate the publication of Things Bright and Beautiful, so please do check out some of the other fantastic blogs below for more reviews and exclusive content.

Please note: I was sent a copy of this book to enable participation in the blog tour. All opinions are, as ever, my own.

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Blog Tour: The Sapphire Widow by Dinah Jefferies

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 thananything: 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…

What I Thought:
I really like Dinah Jefferies’ books – I started out with Before the Rains – as she uses impeccable research and beautiful descriptions to bring to life the colonial era in Asia. The Sapphire Widow is certainly no exception to this and fits beautifully alongside her earlier work.

This book perfectly marries historical fiction, and the factual details that that requires, with a likeable heroine who suffers tragedies in her personal life, yet comes through it all with determination. Louisa Reeve is definitely a character who is easy to root for as being capable but vulnerable. When the security of her marriage is swept away, and she realises how little she knew her husband, she copes better than many others would.

I very much enjoy historical fiction, particularly that which is set in times and places where I have gaps in my knowledge and Ceylon is one of those gaps. Aside from the colonial aspects, there was some information about the native population of Ceylon, the languages spoken and the local cuisine which I found so interesting and which fit seamlessly into the narrative.

As we move towards the summer start to see some sunshine on the horizon (we hope), it would be a great idea to add The Sapphire Widow – and, in fact, any of Dinah Jefferies’ novels – to your summer reading pile.

The Sapphire Widow was published by Viking on 5th April 2018. You can find out more about Dinah Jefferies on her website, or connect with her on Twitter, or Facebook.

This post is part of a blog tour to celebrate the publication of The Sapphire Widow – why not take a look at some of the fantastic blogs below for reviews, exclusive extracts and interviews with Dinah Jefferies?

Please note: I was given a copy of this book to enable participation in the blog tour. All opinions are, as ever, my own.

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