Thursday, November 18, 2021

The Sapphire Widow by Dinah Jefferies


                                    Book Cover

I enjoy the writing of Dinah Jefferies and I am catching up with her back catalogue at the moment, she provides escapism and transports me to another world.

This time to Ceylon in the nineteen thirties with a story of hope and love after a shocking betrayal. The settings are vividly described and the reader is transported to the ramparts of Galle and the cinnamon plantation in the hills.

The protagonist Louisa Reeve is The Sapphire Widow of the title, the daughter of a gem trader. Her businessman husband Elliot dies suddenly in mysterious circumstances and she discovers that her marriage was not as happy as he led her to believe. 

Dinah Jefferies obviously puts a lot of effort into her research and her novels are always wonderfully evocative of the places and period she is writing about Recommended to anyone who is a fan of historical romantic fiction and those that enjoy learning more about life in exotic locations.

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

The Cancer Ladies' Running Club by Josie Lloyd


Josie Lloyd has written a heart rending story which highlights the importance of having family and friends around you, that truly love you, during times of difficulty.

In this case the protagonist Kiera is coping with a Cancer diagnosis and the author takes us very descriptively through this difficult journey. It is not an easy read but it feels so honest that one becomes attached to the characters Your emotions will be stirred as you are reminded that ‘Life is a gift not a given.”

In conclusion I recommend this moving read, when you consider that one in two of us will get Cancer in our life times. One in eight women get Breast Cancer. I was one of those women in 2019, with our wonderful NHS and the excellent treatments available, I am proud to say I am a Cancer Survivor.

Beautiful World Where Are You by Sally Rooney


The protagonists of this novel are four thirty somethings, the outline of the story is perfectly put in the official precis.

Alice, a novelist, meets Felix, who works in a warehouse, and asks him if he’d like to travel to Rome with her. In Dublin, her best friend, Eileen, is getting over a break-up and slips back into flirting with Simon, a man she has known since childhood. Alice, Felix, Eileen, and Simon are still young—but life is catching up with them. They desire each other, they delude each other, they get together, they break apart. They have sex, they worry about sex, they worry about their friendships and the world they live in. Are they standing in the last lighted room before the darkness, bearing witness to something? Will they find a way to believe in a beautiful world?

As this book is written in conversations between Alice, Eileen, Felix and Simon it was a good introduction for me to listening to a novel instead of reading! I am not sure it is something that will become a habit but it worked this time as I am currently in Quarantine in Hong Kong and was able to listen whilst pedalling away on an exercise bike.

What a complicated world we live in! The author navigates the four protagonists through the complex friendships they have with each other. She makes the reader realise how easy it is to make assumptions about relationships, that can actually do more harm than good. Obviously fans of Sally Rooney should enjoy this latest novel but also those that like to read contemporary relationship stories.

The Rose Garden by Tracey Rees


What a moving and beautifully told tale about the strength of female relationships in Victorian England.

Olive, Mabel, Ottilie and her mother Abigail are the main characters all living in London in 1895 and leading very different lifestyles. Their lives become intertwined and friendships formed that shock some of the Hampstead residents.

Poverty, racism, sexism, women’s rights (or rather lack of) and domestic abuse were all big problems during the Victorian era. They are all covered in this novel with plenty of detail, intrigue and drama to keep you turning the pages.

Recommended for fans of historical fiction, especially if you enjoy the writing of Rachel Hore and Dinah Jeffries.