The Sapphire Widow by Dinah Jefferies

The Sapphire Widow

Dinah Jefferies

In Ceylon in the 1930s, Louisa is left alone after husband dies suddenly. Revisiting the plantation at Cinnamon Hills, she finds herself unexpectedly drawn towards the owner, Leo, a rugged outdoors man with a checkered past.

Start Reading….

Read Excerpt Now


Sign me up to receive news about Dinah Jefferies.

Place our blog button on your blog to let people know you are a member of this great program!

A sweeping, breathtaking story of love and betrayal from the internationally bestselling author of The Tea Planter's Wife

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 checkered 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 . . .

Advance Galley Reviews

I wanted to like this book but ultimately I just didn't connect with the material.

I really enjoyed reading this!! It is very well written and hard to put down. "The Sapphire Widow" is not just a typical romance/mystery. Dinah Jefferies does a great job and surprising the reader, just when you think you know what is going to happen the story takes a dramatic turn.

When I read the excerpt for this book, I was instantly intrigued and couldn't wait to read it. I was not disappointed. I really enjoyed this book. The exotic setting and lush storyline drew me into the story. The plot was not predictable and kept my attention. Although this is the first book I have read from Dinah Jefferies, it will not be my last.

I found this to be surprisingly well done. I enjoyed this far more than I thought I would. The story is interesting and, while it has some aspects I didn't care for, entertaining. I liked some of the characters in the end that I didn't really think I would. A 3.8/5 star read for me.

I really liked this book and the characters. I could have done with out some of the drama connected to Louisa's husband but overall enjoyable and I will recomend this to others.

I enjoyed reading this novel, The Sapphire Widow by Dinah Jefferies. The settings in Ceylon, Galle, and Cinnamon Hills were masterfully described. My only complaint is that I found the interactions between characters to be a bit abrupt. Conversations didn't seem to be fleshed out enough, and time moved forward without adequate resolution within certain scenes. Maybe that is an artifact of the time period the novel was set in, or the author's writing style. It won't keep me from reading other books by Jeffries, but it did leave me at times feeling like something was missing.

I really enjoyed this book, and particularly the writing style. The atmosphere created by the author made me feel like I was in Ceylon. The characters were engaging and I became invested in them. This is the first book I have read by this author but I will definitely seek out more of her books.

I really enjoyed this novel. It was different than books I typically read and had a lot of meat in the plotline. There were times it seemed like there was too much going on and maybe it could have been trimmed down some. However, I appreciated the ending as well as the character development. I would probably read another Dinah Jeffries novel in the future. 4/5 stars.

This was more of a romance novel than historical fiction. The author's strength is that she was able to describe the setting so well that I felt as if I was there. I learned a bit about harvesting cinnamon, but there were few details about the other industries mentioned. Louisa, the main character seemed rather flat to me and the plot was predictable.

I really enjoyed this book - the style of writing was so descriptive of the setting and time period, it made it so easy to envision the story unfolding. The character development was strong - Characters I really adored and those I despised. There was a certain amount of mystery throughout that made me want to keep reading to see how their lives were going to unfold. I would definitely recommend!

The Sapphire Widow Dinah Jefferies A story about a woman and her family and how she copes after her husband dies and she discovers that he didn't own any shares in the cinnamon business that he had told her he had bought into, was highly in debt and had a son by his mistress who was the cousin of the cinnamon plantation owner. It is a story of her life in early Ceylon creating a business out of an old warehouse and turning it into a early mini-mall with jewelers, designers, artisans and design fabrics. It is a story of how she comes to love both the plantation owner and her husband's son and comes to terms with her husband's overbearing mother. I found the story-line a bit disjointed and the scenes not fully developed, but it was interesting and I did enjoy reading it

Set several years after the events in The Tea Planter’s Wife, Jefferies returns to the setting of Ceylon. This time, the story focuses on Louisa Reeve and her family. Louisa grew up as a motherless daughter of a gem dealer. Her father, Jonathan, loved her and still does his best to protect Louisa now that she is married. Elliot, Louisa’s husband works for her father overseeing the gem-cutting house. It looks like they have it all, but one night a tragedy occurs everything changes. Elliot's death reveals a new side to his life. Gambling debts and a mistress are revealed. Louisa is forced to question whether or not she really knew the man she married. With the support of her father and sister-in-law, Margo, Louisa navigates her new world and struggles to make sense of everything she learned. Also assisting is Leo, an acquaintance of Elliot's who also soon becomes important to her. Gwen Hooper from The Tea Planter’s Wife also plays a supporting role as she provides insights and guidance to help her friend. Readers will also learn about Gwen and her family’s lives in the years after the previous novel’s end. Throughout, all will have to work together to solve a mystery that still surrounds Elliot’s death. As with The Tea Planter’s Wife, Jefferies has a great attention to the details of her setting that are vivid enough to make one feel they are in Ceylon. Readers will also feel the full impact of all of Louisa’s emotions as she struggles with her demons and sets a new path in life. It is that emotion and how Louisa deals with it that drives the novel. However, the plot was fairly predictable with a picture perfect ending. Like the Jefferies’ American debut, social issues are also addressed but I cannot say which and how without revealing a key aspect of the plot.

Louisa Reeve is a happily married woman to Elliott. The only strain in their relationship is that she has had several miscarriages and had a still born daughter. They really wanted children. I knew from the title that her husband would eventually die so I was waiting for it. He seemed like he loved her and all the business trips were kind of suspicious. After Elliott dies secret after secret just keep unfolding one after another. Louisa has to deal with the aftermath of these secrets and make many things right. Louisa finally figures out how to move on by keeping busy and continue to go forward with a project that Elliott wanted them to start before he passed away. It was a huge Gem Emporium and since she had money of her own she was able to complete the project. In the middle of one of the secrets that we learn about is a man named Leo who runs a Cinnamon plantation. Their relationship starts out rocky and things don't always go well but Louisa seems to be drawn to Leo and his plantation right from the start. It was an interesting read. I received this book for free from First to Read in exchange for an honest opinion. The opinions in this review are 100% my own.

I could not make it through Sapphire Widow. While the premise and the setting interested me, the writing style felt as though the author were trying too hard to be observant and descriptive. While I do not usually require a lot of action to enjoy a book, a faster-moving plot could have have saved this book for me. However, since I had neither well-crafted prose nor a gripping plot to hold me, I gave up on forcing myself to keep reading.

This is the second book I have read by Dinah Jefferies. She does a wonderful job of making you feel like you were in Ceylon. Louisa is forced to refocus her life after her husband's death. She finds out about his gambling, his debts, his mistress and his illegitimate son. The author walks you through the many stages of Loisa rebuilding her life and defining her future.

This is the first book that I have read by this author. The main theme of the book - the betrayal of her husband - was one that I have encountered before (I thought about "The Pilot's Wife" by Anita Shreve). I did enjoy the setting of this story. I could imagine the smell of a cinnamon plantation, and the descriptions of the tropical rain and humidity. The characters were interesting and drew me into the story. Elliot's mother (quite high society) was a multi-dimensional character who added drama and unexpected conflict to the plot. "The Sapphire Widow," while a good story set in an interesting time and place, did not offer a lot of the details that I am accustomed to finding in historical fiction. Thank you, First to Reads and Penguin, for the advance reader copy.

Easy, beach read. Would put this in the romance category not historical fiction. Thanks First to Read.

This was an interesting story largely about moving on and learning to live after a deep act of betrayal. I found it a little bit slow to get through, but the last few chapters really picked up the pace and held my interest. There were a few elements of the story that I did not like, but overall it was a good read. I've had The Tea Planter's Wife, by this same author, on my TBR list for a while, and after reading this book I am definitely still interested in picking that one up. If you like historical romance with a bit of mystery thrown in the mix, you should give this book a shot.

This was my first time reading something from this author. And I really enjoyed this book. The last few chapters made it hard to put down.

My first time reading this author. Really didn’t like the characters. Her description of places is remarkable. Felt like I was there. The story really didn’t come together. I finished the book but really thought it wasn’t worth the time.

"Elliot's betrayal had scarred her deeply and Louisa's sense of self had taken a battering..." hmmmm....i very much enjoyed The Tea Planter's Wife but The Sapphire Widow did not grab me, nor did i feel excited or compelled to keep reading. Jefferies does an excellent job with her descriptions of place, of Ceylon, of Galle, and of the lifestyle there, and i truly got a sense of place...and time. i could see some plot points coming a mile away - still, it's an interesting premise to discover the person with whom you share your life, your most intimate moments, is not who you believe them to be, at all. "She felt a burning sense of shame that somewhere along the line she had settled for less and must've chosen not to see." Thank you, First to Reads and Penguin, for the advance reader copy.

Sapphire Widow by Dinah Jeffries tells the story of Louisa and her adjustment to major events in her life. Louisa’s husband dies and leaves her questioning what type of relationship they had, as well as what type of person she wants to be as she begins to forge new relationships, including one with Leo, a cinnamon plantation owner. This story does a good job of incorporating many things including heartbreak, romance, suspense, and contentious relationships, but it often feels like Jeffries tries to hard in describing the environment of Ceylon instead of letting it naturally occur in the background of the story. While the story gains consistency and evens out as it progresses, the character of Louisa is very inconsistent for the first half of the book – while she is still focused on her relationship with her husband. The author wants to paint her as a strong character, but at the same time has her constantly questioning herself and acquiescing in ways I can’t see a strong, independent woman doing. The book has potential, but just wasn’t quite pulled together enough to create a true, natural story to me.

This book is what I would qualify as a beach read or a book that you read for light entertainment. Although the setting takes you to a wonderful place, 1935 Ceylon this isn't really historical fiction. It was enjoyable, but completely predictable, even though some minor things never get tied up or explained in the book. Husband dies in horrible accident, leaving wife to realize he wasn't the man she thought he was. As she works through his secrets, she also works through her emotions and lives happily ever after. This is the first book I have read from this author and I enjoyed it enough to try one of her others.

This is a novel about finding out about a deep betrayal and learning to live with it. Technically historical fiction, however, i think the same people could be put in a modern setting and not lose anything. There are traces of Ceylon in the 1930s, but for the most part, this story could have taken place anywhere. I would have appriciated more information about the gem mines owned by Louisa or her father, and a more in depth description of where their wealth came from. Also, the book briefly touched on the native population and how they were paid, which nowadays could be seen as taking advantage of those people, which was not really discussed. I would have liked to read a little more of the history of Ceylon and the gem business in the 1930s. It started out strong, but at the end, I was slightly disappointed. I am, however, interested in reading another of Dinah Jefferies books. Thanks to First to Read for the advanced readers copy!

I could not get interested in this book. I was simply bored beyond belief so it was a DNF for me. I had not read the previous book or I might have known better than to choose this one. It was just not right for me.

The Sapphire Widow is a perfect Hallmark channel story. Wife and husband happily married, husband dies in a horrible accident, wife finds out about deep secrets and vast debts, wife finds new man and new venture and lives happily ever after. There are some twists and turns; evil debt collectors, an illegitimate child, a kidnapping that keep the story interesting but there was never any doubt how the story would end. I did enjoy the descriptions of Galle and the Cinnamon country but this book is more romance than historical fiction


More to Explore

  • The Tea Planter's Wife

Copy the following link