The Silk Merchant’s Daughter By Dinah Jefferies

Dinah JI recently read The Tea Pleanter’s Wife by Dinah Jefferies and reviewed it on this site at So when a friend recommended another book by Dinah Jefferies, The Silk Merchant’s Daughter, I was keen to read it, so I took it on holiday with me.

Dinah Mary Jefferies is a British novelist, short story and article writerwho was born in Malacca, Malaysia in 1948 and she gives her novels exotic backgrounds. She is fast becoming one of my new favourite historical fiction writers. The Silk Merchant’s Daughter has a back ground in the Vietnamese War. In this novel, the author has created a beautiful story set during the fifties of Vietnam under French rule. Although I consider myself a history lover, I had known little of the war in which the French attempted to conquer the Vietnamese.

In 1952 Nicole was an eighteen year old half French, half Vietnamese woman living with her French father and older sister Sylvie. Nicole had always felt overshadowed by Sylvie and when Sylvie was given the family silk business to run on her own, with Nicole only receiving an old silk shop which had long been vacant, she was once again reminded of how inferior she was. She was resentful but determined to show her father that she could make her business a success without his help.

Her silk shop was located in the Vietnamese quarter of Hanoi; when she first visited sheDinah J book was shocked at the state of the shop but with hard work had it looking pristine. But she was nervous as well – the area was filled with rebels who were determined to end the French rule and the threat of war seemed imminent. Her father disagreed of course – he was disdainful of her worries, as was Sylvie. But Nicole was to discover a shocking truth about her family that changed her life forever. And in doing so saw her become involved with Tran, one of the Vietnamese rebels.

With Mark, an American silk trader making her heart flutter and Tran offering her a solution to her conflicted emotions, she had no idea who to trust. Nicole was uncovering secrets she had no desire to know; but once learned she had no idea what to do with them.

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. I really enjoyed the book and highly recommend it to anyone looking for a really good read.

Valerie Penny



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