The Alexandrite

Written by Dione Jones
Review by Helen Piper

Dione Jones offers an intriguing glimpse into the lives of the British aristocracy in the early 1900s and the present-day in her debut novel. When a professor from New Zealand is found dead outside the Scawton family estate, everyone is flabbergasted. In the course of the investigation, they find a stranger carrying a rare gemstone and a cryptic letter for the Scawton family. When the police struggle to find further clues, Lady Scawton takes matters into her own hands. Her discoveries take her as far as New Zealand, where she uncovers family secrets dating back to the First World War.

The Alexandrite is a gripping story of class, family, and how trauma can affect many generations. It touches on emotional themes such as unwanted pregnancies, adoption, and financial troubles. Jones has a created an interesting cast of characters and her vivid storytelling made me care for all of them, although young Lord Scawton made that challenging at times. This novel is a fascinating account of how the rigidity of the British class system and keeping “a stiff upper lip” can have devastating effects on families. I truly recommend this read.