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Dinah Jefferies was born in Malaysia and moved to England at the age of nine. She has worked in education, lived in a commune and exhibited work as an artist. Dinah's first novel,The Separation, was published by Viking in 2014; The Tea Planter's Wife is her second novel. She is a contributor to the Guardian and other newspapers and lives in Gloucestershire with her husband.
The first book in a brand new sweeping historical series from the No.1 Sunday Times bestselling author. Available to pre-order now! France, 1944. Deep in the river valley of the Dordogne, in an old stone cottage on the edge of a beautiful village, three sisters long for the end of the war. Helene, the eldest, is trying her hardest to steer her family to safety, even as the Nazi occupation becomes more threatening. Elise, the rebel, is determined to help the Resistance, whatever the cost. And Florence, the dreamer, just yearns for a world where France is free. Then, one dark night, the Allies come knocking for help. And Helene knows that she cannot sit on the sidelines any longer. But bravery comes at a cost, and soon the sisters' lives become even more perilous as they fight for what is right. And secrets from their own mysterious past threaten to unravel everything they hold most dear... The first in an epic new series from the No.1 Sunday Times bestseller, Daughters of War is a stunning tale of sisters, secrets and bravery in the darkness of war-torn France...
A fascinating, bold and beautiful historical novel, chosen as a Liz Robinson Pick of the Month. Beginning in 1943 after liberated Italy has declared war on Nazi Germany, Contessa Sofia de’Corsi begins to help the resistance. The timeline of Italy during World War Two at the beginning of the book, helps set and centre the scene. If you have read Dinah Jefferies previous novels then you will discover a change in direction. You still have the historical aspect and thoughtful relationship tale, however we move continents to Europe, specifically Tuscany in Italy. The normally vibrant descriptive detailing of the sights, smells and sounds of countries within Asia reshapes to take in the daring Italian resistance. I could picture the walled village, countryside, and Florence, with the action scenes moving in vivid colour across the page. If you follow Dinah on social media then you will see some fabulous photos of some the trips she took and locations that inspired her. The Tuscan Contessa is another compelling, eloquent read from Dinah Jefferies that I can recommend.
It’s no secret that I am a fan of Dinah Jefferies and this is as beautifully and vividly readable as one would expect. Slip back into history and join Belle Hatton who travels to Burma in 1936 to become a nightclub singer, accompanying her is a newspaper clipping suggesting her parents left Ragoon 25 years previously in mysterious circumstances. Two time frames sit side by side, in 1921 we meet Belle’s mother, lost and traumatised, while in 1936 Belle finds her life increasingly in danger. I adore the descriptive detailing, you can almost close your eyes and take in a deep breath of a bygone era. The colour of the place and people just pops with intensity. Belle begins a relationship with a man, yet it doesn’t take centre stage, it is important but certainly not the be all and end all of this particular story. There is one unforgettable moment, using an event from history that is shockingly dramatic and provocative, I saw with Belle’s eyes, felt the pain and fear. I feel as though I could pick up a Dinah Jefferies book without knowing the author and would instinctively know it was hers, each book is completely individual yet the style of the author remains. The Missing Sister is richly and expressively eye-catching, it swept me up into the pages, releasing me only at the very satisfying ending.
Another intensely vivid and expressive tale from Dinah Jefferies, on this occasion set in 1930’s Ceylon. All of Dinah’s books can be read as standalone novels, however ‘The Sapphire Widow’ is visited by characters from ‘The Tea Planter’s Wife’ so perhaps start there (though you certainly don’t have to). Louisa Reeve has her life torn apart after the unexpected death of her husband, as she tries to understand the hidden part of the man she loved, she finds a potential new life opening up before her. Dinah has the ability to create beauty and pain with the written word, to evoke feelings and to open minds. The pages waft scent, flavour, sound, I could almost stop, breathe in, and let the words settle around me. The story flows allowing you unfettered access, unease skittered across my awareness, heightening my anticipation and concern. ‘The Sapphire Widow’ is a gorgeous captivating tale full of emotion, and it took me outside of myself into a different world. ~ Liz Robinson
A gorgeously expressive and captivating novel, set in 1930’s India at the height of the struggle for independence against British rule. 28 year old photographer Eliza agrees to document the royal family and subjects of one of the princely states. Eliza spends time with Jay, brother of the prince, and as they become closer they open their minds to new ideas, however their relationship comes under scrutiny. Dinah Jefferies always transports thoughts, feelings, and senses, not only to the place, but also the time, so completely, it’s a shock when you look up from page and come back to reality. For me, there was an additional quality to this novel, the land is important, the descriptions are striking, and the history of this time absolutely fascinating; yet the relationship here feels vital, pronounced, and completely essential to the storyline. It is the relationship, with the different customs and cultures, and how it affects the people surrounding Eliza and Jay, that really provoked my feelings. With the issues affecting women taking centre stage, ‘Before the Rains’ is a beautiful novel, subtle yet striking, full of impact, and full of love.
One of our Books of the Year 2016. Dinah Jefferies has presented another beautifully told and vividly stunning tale, this time set in 1950’s Vietnam. The story revolves around 18 year old Nicole, half French and half Vietnamese, Nicole finds herself torn as war between the ruling French and indigenous population prowls ever closer. Nicole hovers between two men, both from opposing worlds, both with their own journey to take. It feels as though you are watching a wide framed view of history, from the personal perspective of Nicole, her disorientation and heartfelt feelings clamour and writhe from the pages. It is the moments of quiet that really set this story apart, the descriptions of the surroundings, of the small and simple but oh so important things that shape, colour and bring this world to such vibrant life. The colours, smells and heat are all within touching distance, allowing Vietnam to sit beguilingly in the background, adding depth and flavour to the story of Nicole. Visually and emotionally powerful, ’The Silk Merchant’s Daughter' is quite simply a gorgeous read.
September 2015 Book of the Month. Chosen as a Richard and Judy Book Club selection Autumn 2015. An exotically intense, vibrant and memorable tale, set in Ceylon from 1925 and covering a period of eleven years. Nineteen year old Gwen discovers an unfamiliar world both physically and emotionally when she leaves England to be with her new husband. Gwen enters a testing arena, conflict comes in many forms and destructive secrets convulse corrosively just out of reach. Dinah Jefferies opens up Ceylon for our viewing, tasting and touching pleasure, she describes this vivid land and customs quite beautifully, while settling the story gently within its midst. The characters are portrayed realistically, mistakes are made and hidden, guilt and suspicion become damaging companions. Written with true eloquence and compassion The Tea Planter’s Wife is a profoundly moving and engaging novel. ~ Liz Robinson
June 2014 Debut of the Month. A big sweeping saga of plantation life in Malaya in the 1950s, of isolation, infidelity, deceit and manipulation. Then came the Civil War and families were torn apart. The one we follow has so much mistrust and sadness at its heart that even back in England life remains full of pain. The author spent her formative years in Malaya and the colour and richness of that life shines through in this, her first novel.
A new sweeping historical novel of World War II from the international bestselling author of The Tea Planter's Wife. Available to pre-order now! France, 1944. In an old stone cottage, on the edge of a beautiful French village, three sisters long for the end of the war. Helene, the eldest, is trying her hardest to steer her family to safety, even as the Nazi occupation becomes more threatening. Elise, the rebel, is determined to help the Resistance, whatever the cost. And Florence, the dreamer, just yearns for a world where France is free. Then, one dark night, the Allies come knocking for help. And Helene knows that she cannot sit on the sidelines any longer. But secrets from their own mysterious past threaten to unravel everything they hold most dear... The first in an epic new series from the #1 international bestselling author, Daughters of War is a stunning tale of sisters, secrets and bravery in the darkness of war-torn France... Praise for Daughters of War: A rich tapestry of courage, passion and family secrets beneath the dark shadows of war -Hazel Gaynor, bestselling author of When We Were Young and Brave A glorious page-turner ... a novel to disappear into -Gill Paul, bestselling author of The Secret Wife An outstanding novel, beautifully written. Rich in courage, love and sacrifice, but chilling and taut in its portrayal of the horrors of war -Kate Furnivall, bestselling author of The Guardian of Lies As layers of long-hidden family secrets emerge, you are sure to be hooked to the very last page -Liz Trenow, bestselling author of The Forgotten Seamstress Love, grief, abandonment, betrayal and secrets ... I adored it -Liz Nugent, bestselling author of Little Cruelties Available to pre-order now!
Penguin Presents the audiobook edition of The Sapphire Widow by Dinah Jefferies read by Gabrielle Glaister. 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 chequered past. The plantation casts a spell, but all is not as it seems. And when Elliots shocking betrayal is revealed, Louisa has only Leo to turn to...
*Dinah Jefferies' first three novels now together in one e-book*The SeparationMalaya, 1955. Lydia Cartwright returns from visiting a sick friend to an empty house. The servants are gone. The phone is dead. Where is her husband Alec? Her young daughters, Emma and Fleur? Lydia's search takes her on a hazardous journey through war-torn jungle. Forced to turn to Jack Harding, a man she'd vowed to leave in her past, she sacrifices everything to be reunited with her family.The Tea Planter's WifeNineteen-year-old Gwendolyn Hooper steps off a steamer in Ceylon full of optimism, eager to join her new husband. But the man who greets her at the tea plantation is not the same one she fell in love with in London. Distant and brooding, Laurence spends long days wrapped up in his work, leaving his young bride to explore the plantation alone. It's a place filled with clues to the past - locked doors, a yellowed wedding dress in a dusty trunk, an overgrown grave hidden in the grounds, far too small for an adult...The Silk Merchant's Daughter1952, French Indochina. Since her mother's death, eighteen-year-old half-French, half-Vietnamese Nicole has been living in the shadow of her beautiful older sister, Sylvie. When Sylvie is handed control of the family silk business, Nicole is given an abandoned silk shop in the Vietnamese quarter of Hanoi, an area teeming with militant rebels. Tran, a notorious Vietnamese insurgent, seems to offer the perfect escape from her troubles, while Mark, a charming American trader, is the man she's always dreamed of. But who can she trust in this world where no one is what they seem?
#1 International bestselling novel set in 1920s Ceylon, about a young Englishwoman who marries a charming tea plantation owner and widower, only to discover he's keeping terrible secrets about his past, including what happened to his first wife, that lead to devastating consequences.