The #TFBookClub reads “The Sapphire Widow” by Dinah Jefferies, set in CEYLON (SRI LANKA)

12th May 2018

Thank you for joining us as we read “The Sapphire Widow by Dinah Jefferies, set in Ceylon, now Sri Lanka.

The Sapphire Widow” by Dinah Jefferies

We hope you enjoy reading this romantic mystery, following Louisa Reeve as she faces personal challenges in the exotic setting of Ceylon in the 1930s.

We will be chatting about the book throughout May and June 2018, so if you are reading it with us, please come and join the dialogue!

The #TFBookClub is your book club – we are here to help you discover new titles that will transport you to interesting locations via top literature for some exceptional #literarywanderlust.

As you read, please come and chat and share your thoughts in several ways:

  • Here on our dedicated blogpost, leave your thoughts in the Comments section below
  • On TWITTER using #TFBookClub
  • On INSTAGRAM using #TFBookClub
  • On PINTEREST following this link 
  • And once you’ve turned the final page, we’d love it if you could write your own review, which you can do on using the Add A Review tab. Help us to build the #TFBookClub and the TripFiction website!


Andrew and Tina for the TripFiction Team

Catch Dinah on Twitter and on Facebook

Do come and join team TripFiction on Social Media:

Twitter (@TripFiction), Facebook (@TripFiction.Literarywanderlust), YouTube (TripFiction #Literarywanderlust), Instagram (@TripFiction) and Pinterest (@TripFiction)

And here is Dinah chatting about “The Sapphire Widow”…

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  1. User: Claire Broomsgrove

    Posted on: 10/06/2018 at 5:26 pm

    I have just finished readingThe Sapphire Widow, enjoying a summers afternoon in the garden, which I think sums up this book, an easy summer read, it’s not as strong and complex as other Dinah Jefferies novels I have read, perhaps a little predictable, I very much enjoyed the beautiful descriptions of Ceylon, especially the Cinnamon Hills. Thank Trip Fiction for the opportunity.


  2. User: Angela Paull

    Posted on: 07/06/2018 at 1:44 pm

    I’ve just finished this book and found it to be a complete joy.
    A story that allows itself time to develop but without being too obvious. Yes it was clear from the start that Elliott, the husband, was a wrong ‘un but I loved how characters behaved normally. His Mother still worshipped the ground he’d walked on whilst Louisa grappled with living with the secrets and lies she discovered after his death.
    I enjoyed that the new love interest was subtle, gentle and that there was no need to sensationalise any aspects of the blossoming relationship.
    Louisa was a really likeable character, full of spirit and independence but we were also allowed to see her vulnerable side.
    All in all a really super read.


  3. User: Julie Mellis

    Posted on: 05/06/2018 at 12:23 pm

    I have just finished reading this and what an enjoyment it was. Pure escapology (I’ve just invented a word!!). The cover is attractive and appealed to me. I have come across some of Dinah’s other novels in the library so I most definitely be reading them in the near future. I loved the description of every minute detail, heat, smells, views and emotion. I wouldn’t class the book as a mystery but definitely romance. Who doesn’t enjoy a little romance. It doesn’t follow the romance story as much as you may think. More daily struggles after its revealed Louisa hardly has any money to her name from her husband’s death. Struggling to bond with her husband’s mistress’s 7 year old son but even the mistress herself who is severely ill with confirmed Malaria. Really enjoyed it all.


  4. User: Maddi

    Posted on: 04/06/2018 at 12:42 pm

    I requested a copy of this title when I saw it come up as The Tea Planter’s Wife was one of my favourite books a couple of years ago and have been lucky enough to visit this area of Sri Lanka. Sadly, whilst I have enjoyed Dinah’s other books, none of them have quite lived up to that first one! And I don’t know if it is me or my reading tastes that have changed or the writer but certainly the last two that I have read have been really quite weak and a bit too ‘Mills and Boon’ for my liking. ‘Lightweight’ is probably a good way to describe it.

    That said, Dinah is able to conjur up place very well and whilst the descriptions are quite shallow in this book, you can still feel the humidity of Sri Lanka and imagine yourself there when it was once Ceylon. This is a simple read on all levels, not a lot happens and it is very predictable however it is still enjoyable and well suited to holiday reading. The main character, Louisa is likeable and strong in the face of adversity but her fate is all a bit obvoius. I wouldn’t go out of my way to recommend this but wouldn’t stop anyone from reading it – just don’t go in with high expectations if you have enjoyed the other books and that way you will be happy with a slightly soppy holiday read.


  5. User: Janine Phillips

    Posted on: 02/06/2018 at 2:37 pm

    Dinah Jefferies is an amazing storyteller. I was transported to Ceylon, loved this book x


  6. User: Teresa S

    Posted on: 30/05/2018 at 9:15 am

    This is the second Dinah Jefferies novel I have read…the first was The Separation which I loved. I loved the setting of The Sapphire Widow and it was brought alive for me by the descriptions in the book and made me want to visit Ceylon. I liked the characters and the story line but did feel it was a bit predictable….although there’s nothing wrong in that…it wasn’t going to make me think and ask questions but it was a relaxing read which I enjoyed.


  7. User: Claire Broomsgrove

    Posted on: 28/05/2018 at 6:54 pm

    I’m absolutely thrilled to be given the opportunity to read the Sapphire Widow by Dinah Jeffries, the first few chapters are full of the wonderful smells, sights and sounds of Ceylon, especially the Cinnamon Hills, I’m looking forward to finding out more about the intigring Lousia.


  8. User: Harriet Steel

    Posted on: 25/05/2018 at 7:02 am

    I finished yesterday. As Beverley says, a range of opinions and that’s what makes this book club so interesting. I know one should never ask a lady her age but it would be interesting to have some idea of where we all are in life. I find my tastes in reading have changed a lot over the years, mainly away from romance towards mystery and historical fiction. I own up to being 66! Back to the book, I found I enjoyed it more as time went on and cared more about the fate of the characters. I agree it was lovely to be transported back to Sri Lanka. The writing style was still a problem for me though. There were too many, “he told her that’s” and “she told him that’s” which made it seem flat.


    1 Comment

    • User: tripfiction

      Posted on: 25/05/2018 at 10:16 am

      That is such an interesting perspective on the book. I enjoyed the read very much, I did though wonder whether it was a little bit of a “string out” from The Tea Planter’s Wife, the setting was well researched and served as background for another book. I am so glad we were able to secure this for the #TFBookClub… and thank you so much for your engagement!


  9. User: Beverley Bookless

    Posted on: 23/05/2018 at 9:46 pm

    I’m enjoying reading the comments and views about this book. A range of opinion. I enjoyed The Sapphire Widow and The Tea Planter’s Wife equally. The storyline is fairly predictable in both of them, but they did bring alive Sri Lanka for me. In the Sapphire Widow you learn a little about the cinnamon plantations and a little less about the gems, whereas The Tea Planter’s Wife was, yes, obviously about tea.


    1 Comment

    • User: tripfiction

      Posted on: 25/05/2018 at 10:17 am

      It is very interesting to see the range of thought about this book… I just love the vivid descriptions of time and place… thank you so much for your engagement in the #TFBookClub!


  10. User: Emily

    Posted on: 22/05/2018 at 10:01 pm

    I finished The Sapphire Widow this morning and really enjoyed it. I would like to read The Tea Planter’s Wife also.


    1 Comment

    • User: tripfiction

      Posted on: 25/05/2018 at 10:17 am

      I am sure you will enjoy that too


  11. User: Sara Hill

    Posted on: 21/05/2018 at 4:33 pm

    I have finished reading this book and must confess to being a little disappointed. Although I enjoyed all the descriptions, especially of the cinnamon plantation, the countryside and the town I found the story line rather predictable.


    1 Comment

    • User: tripfiction

      Posted on: 25/05/2018 at 10:18 am

      That is interesting to hear. I enjoyed it for the simple reason it vividly took me back in time and place and didn’t demand too much of me as the reader…


  12. User: Harriet Steel

    Posted on: 21/05/2018 at 6:00 am

    I’m about a third of the way through now and plan to keep on to the end although I don’t think this is as good a book as The Tea Planter’s Wife. I agree with Hannah about the dialogue and a lot of the writing seems rushed. It’s strange, and rather frustrating, when one knows that the author can do so much better. Perhaps she was under pressure to finish quickly. All the same, it’s lovely to be reminded of Sri Lanka. The Hoopers from The Tea Planter’s Wife have made their appearance and I hope their story will be developed some more by the end of this one. The cover is charming and classy.


  13. User: Denise Pentland

    Posted on: 19/05/2018 at 7:48 am

    Two things are capturing my attention and the first as ever seems to be the food. They keep having curds with honey and also jaggery which all bring back lovely memories of a trip there a few years ago. Curds and jaggery were my most preferred breakfast.
    The second is the weather and the descriptions of humidity and the monsoon rains.
    Both food and weather seem to resonate with me when reading stories and I enjoyed both in this book.


    1 Comment

    • User: tripfiction

      Posted on: 25/05/2018 at 10:19 am

      Don’t they just. Having never tasted it, I did wonder how they might be for a breakfast dish!


  14. User: HannahF

    Posted on: 18/05/2018 at 10:22 am

    I can across your site while looking for reading inspiration for my next holiday (Sicily) and happened to be reading the Sapphire Widow after buying it on Amazon Kindle for 99p. Im afraid I found this very disappointing, the dialogue is so clunky, and the plot never quite delivers what it promises. I’m amazed this made it to publication to be honest. If you were visiting the location it would be a good enough beach read, but it wouldn’t give you much background on the location.


  15. User: Bev Bookless

    Posted on: 17/05/2018 at 7:58 am

    I finished reading this delightful book yesterday. Thanks to the lovely sun and putting other jobs on hold; that says it was an addictive read. Dinah Jeffries writing flows really well with wonderful description ‘lilac sky’, ‘silver sea’. She kept the tension going through the book. Be it relationships or threat from her husbands enemies. Louisa struck me as being a very independent individual in 1930’s Sri Lanka and wonder if that would be true in reality.
    I also liked the way that characters from The Tea Planters Wife were woven into The Sapphire Widow.
    In terms of sense of place, it was spot on. I spent almost 2 weeks in Sri Lanka earlier this year and loved the place and people. The descriptive narrative and the use of the climatic change to influence the mood of the book was very reminiscent. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to read this book.


  16. User: Jane Willis

    Posted on: 16/05/2018 at 11:53 am

    I’ve finished reading this now and absolutely loved it. Beautiful writing, an absorbing story, great characters and the scent of cinnamon almost wafting off the pages.
    My only criticism is that occasionally I wanted to take Louisa (and to some extent Margo) aside and remind them that a woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.


  17. User: Mary O carroll

    Posted on: 14/05/2018 at 2:03 pm

    Received my copy today can’t wait to read


    1 Comment

    • User: Mary O carroll

      Posted on: 02/06/2018 at 8:07 pm

      Just finished reading this book now.Loved the story line and as always the location in this book was fabulous.Everytime I read one of Dinahs books I want to travel to that location.Hope Dinah is writing her next book already as I for one will be reading.I have read a her books so far.


  18. User: Jane Willis

    Posted on: 13/05/2018 at 1:51 pm

    My copy arrived yesterday and I’ve just started reading it and am captivated already. I can already smell the cinnamon plantation in the introductory chapter.
    I’m delighted to see that some of the characters from The Tea Planter’s Wife have appeared, yet it looks as if it won’t have been necessary to read that book in order to enjoy this one. I like the feeling of continuity.


  19. User: Teresa Starr

    Posted on: 13/05/2018 at 8:35 am

    Received my copy on Friday looking forward to reading it.


  20. User: tripfiction

    Posted on: 12/05/2018 at 6:55 pm

    I was just so transported to time and place, the hot and humid setting, and life in the 1930s…


  21. User: Beverley Bookless

    Posted on: 12/05/2018 at 5:28 pm

    I started reading a few days ago and I’m hooked. I read The Tea Planter’s Wife in January before a trip to Sri Lanka. Firstly, the main characters are also in The Sapphire Widow and secondly, it is bringing back memories of my wonderful trip.


Enter the 2021TripFiction 'Sense of Place' Creative Writing Competition!

A story in which the location plays as important a role as the rest of your words.

2,500 word maximum, 750 word minimum

Judges include Victoria Hislop and Rosanna Ley

First Prize of £1,000 / US$1,350

Prizes total £1,750 / US$2,362 

Winning entry published on TripFiction site and publicised on Social Media

Entries close 6th November 2021