The Sapphire Widow

Crown. Aug. 2018. 384p. ISBN 9780525576327. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780525576341. F
Set in 1935 Ceylon, present-day Sri Lanka, Jefferies's second novel (after The Tea Planter's Wife) revolves around marital secrets that come to light after a tragedy. Louisa Reeve is excited to be celebrating her 12th wedding anniversary with the charming and handsome Elliot, who stole her heart despite her father's misgivings. After losing her mother when she was only seven, Louisa enjoyed a childhood of freedom in Ceylon under the care of her prosperous sapphire trader father. She is confident in her marriage despite some hard times. Louisa longs for children but has experienced too many heartbreaking losses, while Elliot has struggled with gambling and drinking. His idea to purchase the old Print House and turn it into a jewelry and spice emporium seems the perfect project to reunite them. But his sudden death exposes the secrets he kept from Louisa, whose grief is soon replaced by humiliation and anger when she discovers Elliot's infidelity, illegitimate son, and huge gambling debts. Then unexpected support is offered from Leo, owner of a cinnamon plantation and cousin of her husband's mistress.
VERDICT Jefferies once again weaves an intriguing tale of mystery and romance set in an exotic location that will please fans of her first book.
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