I’ve been MIA for so long, am I right? In all honesty, I could have probably finished this book quite a bit sooner, and written a review a long long time ago, but one of my friends on bookstagram had some good things to say about slumps and taking breaks. She says, ” You don’t need to apologize to anyone for missing a day (or 10) of posting, and you don’t need to justify choosing real like over social media. Just keep doing you. As a wise little fishy once said, ‘Just keep swimming.'” (She also posts some amazing books if you want to follow her – her IG handle is @booksncatsncoffee.) That really resonated with me. We all have off days. We all have slumps. And we should all be okay with that because were people and we have lives, and book reviewing duties, but our lives come first. Mental health comes first. So take care of yourselves first friends – the rest of the book blogging world won’t go anywhere.
Anyways, now that I have gotten that out of my system, let’s talk Ceylon. This was my first read that was set in historical Ceylon, and it was most definitely different. The Sapphire Widow by Dinah Jeffries is about a widow that must face her husbands betrayals posthumously, and the premise is quite different. Here is the full synopsis:
Louisa Reeve has it all: a charming, devilishly handsome husband with a successful business as a sapphire trader, a beautiful home in colonial Ceylon, a fledgling career of her own. Except for the one thing she longs for more than anything: a child.
After the couple experience a number of devastating miscarriages, Louisa becomes increasingly frustrated by Eliot’s unexplained absences. When a tragic accident causes Elliot’s sudden death, Louisa, wracked by grief is left alone to solve the mystery he left behind. Why was he driving to Colombo on the day of his death and not out sailing as he claimed to be? Who are the threatening men turning up on her doorstep?
When she finally discovers the shocking secret behind her marriage, Louisa’s world is turned upside down. Will she find the strength to piece together the truth and learn to live again?
Apparently, Dinah Jeffries is quite the internationally renowned author. Throughout the novel, there were descriptions of Ceylon that were beautiful and breathtaking. Her way of describing the smells in the air, the animals chattering, and the old fashioned way of a town set near an ocean showed that Dinah has experience in evoking imagery.
There were also some plot points that I appreciated. For one, I thought that Louisa’s struggle with accepting and helping her husband’s mistress was quite raw and real. I questioned what I would do in her situation. Tell me, if you found out that your husband’s mistress was sick, and dying, would you try to comfort her? Would you take her son, your husband’s son, under your wing?
That section of the plot was my other favorite part. The love between Louisa and Conor (her husband’s illegitimate son), and the way that it grew, was absolutely gorgeous. This wasn’t a romance that blossomed (although there was one in the book). It wasn’t love at first sight. It was a maternal instinct shining through disdain and betrayal and resulting in a bond that was as strong as if Conor was Louisa’s blood.
However, apart from that, I didn’t enjoy the rest of the book. It was so expected. I knew ahead of time what was going to happen, and honestly I got bored. I stopped caring about the details, because the major plot line was just so predictable. The characters for the most part were washed out tropes – the cheating husband, the rebound that is just slightly mysterious, the crazy annoying mother in law.
So yes, there were a few lights at the end of the tunnel, but at the end of the ride, I felt like this was a waste of 4 hours of my time. Perhaps someone who is looking for a light read that is very easy to follow along, or someone looking for a book that is historically accurate and has a good description of setting and climate of historical Ceylon would enjoy this book more, but it wasn’t for me. Here’s to hoping I enjoy my next read more.