Lead Review

  • Book: The Sapphire Widow
  • Location: Sri Lanka
  • Author: Dinah Jefferies

Review Author: tripfiction

Location

Content

This novel was the #TFBookClub choice for May/June 2018.

I have always enjoyed the novels by Dinah Jefferies, they are well written with a thoughtful storyline. In her latest, she whisks her readers off to Galle and Ceylon, such a sultry setting. And setting is something that the author does really well in all her books – check out the variety of exotic locations here.

Louisa Reeve is married to Elliot, a charming hedonist, and their life is punctuated by bouts of heavy drinking on his part, gambling too, but she is a forgiving soul and takes his behaviour in her stride… mostly. Their marriage has been beset by miscarriages and as time moves on, his prolonged absences become marked. He seems to be spending considerable time at a nearby cinnamon plantation.

Indeed, her father had his doubts about their union right at the outset, so there are indications early on that he, to wit they as a married couple, may be on a perilous path. After Elliott’s sudden death, Louisa has not only her considerable loss to deal with but also finds there is accumulated debt, and a much bigger unfolding mystery starts to turn her world upside down.

She is however a very resourceful and courageous woman. She has to be under the circumstances! As a couple they acquired an emporium and it is now left to her to turn it into a business venture, a showspace for small independent manufacturers and jewellers. However, there are people intent on getting what they feel they are owed and she has to be on her guard….

This is a very readable novel, a Richard and Judy Summer 2018 pick (and it is Dinah’s second time being featured in this prestigious book club). It transported me to a time and place in an evocative and engaging manner, although little touches like scented candles perhaps weren’t era correct. The course of the story is relatively predictable, it is the second set in Sri Lanka and it felt a little ‘comfortable’ and perhaps not quite as original as some of her other books.

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