Today I’m taking part in a bloggy book tour for the latest novel from Dinah Jefferies – The Silk Merchant’s Daughter. Last year I absolutely devoured The Tea Planter’s Wife so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on her new book.
1952, 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. But the area is teeming with militant rebels who want to end French rule, by any means possible. For the first time, Nicole is awakened to the corruption of colonial rule – and her own family’s involvement shocks her to the core…
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?
My knowledge of 1950s history is scant and I knew nothing about the history of French Indochina. The book starts with a timeline of the history and map of Vietnam which are really useful for setting the scene. As soon as I started reading I got drawn into the story. I loved the character of Nicole and easily found myself sucked into the sights, smells and sounds of the streets of Hanoi.
Colonial history is rarely straightforward and it was to fascinating read about both sides of the story as French rule slowly unravelled in Indochina. At times I was unsure which path Nicole was going to choose and was confused about the loyalties of Tran and Mark until the very end. I read this book in a couple of days as I absolutely loved it and will be recommending it to everyone!
The Silk Merchant’s Daughter is a captivating tale of dark secrets, sisterly rivalry and love against the odds, enchantingly set in colonial-era Vietnam. It is published by Penguin on 25th February 2016.
You may be interested in my other Dinah Jefferies reviews: