I’m delighted to be helping kick off the book tour for Dinah Jefferies new novel, The Hidden Palace, and sharing my review today. It’s paperback publication day so congratulations to the author and I hope the book flies off the shelf!
About the book
A rebellious daughter
1923. 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
1944. 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…
This is the second book in the Daughters of War series by Dinah Jefferies. The first book, simply named Daughters of War, features many of the characters you will find in The Hidden Palace. I do enjoy Dinah Jefferies novels but somehow missed Daughters of War. So I can tell you that this works perfectly well as a standalone novel even if you have never met Helene, Elise and Florence before.
The novel focusses on two women in two different times but both closely linked to wartime and its aftermath. In the latter years of WW2 and following its end, Florence is reeling from the war and a secret about her own past she has uncovered. Her relationship with her mother is not good but she is persuaded to try to find Rosalie, her mother’s sister, who disappeared some years before. In the earlier strand of the story, we follow Rosalie in the 1920s in Malta as she too uncovers some dark secrets.
What Dinah Jefferies is so good at is transporting her reader back in time and bringing the past to life. She writes about her settings so well too and here we get a clear picture of life in post-war Malta and the difficulties and dangers faced by the people. As we get to know both Rosalie and Florence, we see two strong, courageous women. Florence soon discovers that the destruction experienced by Malta means that tracing records relating to her aunt or the time she was in Malta is very difficult. Many people may not be aware of how just badly the Maltese people suffered during the Second World War. It was in a strategically important position between Europe and Africa and the subject of intense bombing by the Nazis. We certainly get a sense of this throughout the novel.
Dinah Jefferies covers so much in The Hidden Palace. There’s love and loss, grief and betrayal, relationships between sisters and inter-generational relationships, secrets and courage. Once again the author has written a sweeping epic novel with plenty to please readers of both romance and historical fiction.
My thanks to Random Things Tours for the opportunity to take part in the blogtour and for providing a review copy of the book. The Hidden Palace is published in all formats today by Harper Collins UK.
About the Author
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.