It’s almost a year since I reviewed Dinah Jefferies’ Daughters of War here and I’m such a huge fan of her writing that I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to share my review of The Hidden Palace today. My huge thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in this blog tour and to Harper Collins for sending me a copy of The Hidden Palace in return for an honest review.
The Hidden Palace was published by Harper Collins on 15th September 2022 and is available for purchase through the links here.
The Hidden Palace
A rebellious daughter
- Among the ancient honey-coloured walls of the tiny island of Malta, strangers slip into the shadows and anyone can buy a new name. Rosalie Delacroix flees Paris for a dancer’s job in the bohemian clubs deep in its winding streets.
A sister with a secret
- Running from the brutality of war in France, Florence Baudin faces a new life. But her estranged mother makes a desperate request: to find her vanished sister, who went missing years before.
A rift over generations
Betrayals and secrets, lies and silence hang between the sisters. A faded last letter from Rosalie is Florence’s only clue, the war an immovable barrier – and time is running out…
My Review of The Hidden Palace
Florence has made it to England.
I didn’t so much read The Hidden Palace as step into the pages and be swept away by it. I thought it was just wonderful. It felt much more like a real life experience than a story.
The Hidden Palace might be set in the 1920’s and 1940’s but my word it has relevance and resonance for today’s world of war and loss. As a result, The Hidden Palace packs a powerful historical and emotional punch as the two stories of Florence and Riva are carefully woven together. The themes here are mature, profound and affecting. Dinah Jefferies looks at how trauma, guilt and loss alter our perceptions of who we are and our behaviours towards others in a compelling story of war, families and relationships. I was so impressed yet again by the quality of her story telling.
In fact, we have met Florence and her sisters before in Dinah Jefferies’ Daughters of War but although that book is wonderful too and I’d urge you to read it, The Hidden Palace stands independently and can be thoroughly enjoyed because just enough back story is included to ensure the reader understands the past of Jack and Florence without ever slowing the interest and pace in this narrative. What I so enjoyed here is that the dynamics between Florence and Jack are foreshadowed by those between Riva and Bobby and yet remain distinct. Equally compelling is the fact The Hidden Palace is true to the difficulties of life and doesn’t find a panacea for every problem facing those between its pages in this brilliantly plotted story.
Dinah Jefferies has an amazing ability to create setting. Her descriptions are so evocative that it is as if the reader is standing alongside her characters. She also weaves in historical with such dexterity that her narrative is utterly convincing, being steeped in historical fact, whilst being the intimate and intense lives of a handful of individuals. This is such immersive and affecting story telling that it is impossible not to be moved and ensnared.
In case it isn’t obvious, I loved The Hidden Palace. It has all Dinah Jefferies’ trademark features of arresting plot, evocatively described place and characters that feel real and vivid and about whom the reader cares deeply. I thought it was a wonderful book and thoroughly recommend it.
About Dinah Jefferies
Dinah Jefferies began her career with The Separation, followed by the number 1 Sunday Times and Richard and Judy bestseller The Tea-Planter’s Wife. Born in Malaysia, she moved to England at the age of nine. When she began writing novels, deeply influenced by her Eastern childhood, she was able to return there on annual research trips for each new novel.
With her most recent bestseller, her seventh novel The Tuscan Contessa, she has moved to writing about a European setting for the first time and continues that in this new series.
She is published in 28 languages and over 30 countries and has twice been a Richard and Judy bookclub pick.
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