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.
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.