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Islands of Mercy

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First of all, this is extremely well written as you would expect from a writer of the calibre of Rose Tremain. It beautifully and almost forensically reflects the times - it’s social mores, beliefs, attitudes, the scientific understanding and medical beliefs in particular, as this is intrinsic to the storytelling. The female characters are admirable- I love Clorinda’s work ethic and desire to overcome the poverty and famine of her native Ireland, I love Jane’s independence and unconventionality which is at total odds with the times, something she perhaps inherits from her artist Aunt Emmeline. The Male characters are less likeable with perhaps the exception of Jane’s father Sir William Adearne an eminent Bath surgeon. Valentine Ross gets less and less likeable as the book progresses as he perceives he will not be able to control Jane. I’m not sure what to make of The Rajah Sir Ralph Savage who is so rich he spends his money on pointless things just because he can - maybe that’s the point! All the characters are searching for something that’s possibly elusive and unattainable - be it love (whether of the kind at odds with society at the time), friendship, freedom, some are ambitious and ruthless in seeking their desires but all are trying to survive the constraints of the times and circumstances. There are some lovely descriptions of places especially Bath, London and the Paris of Haussmann but I found it harder to engage with Borneo. This is also true of the storytelling set in Borneo which I find less interesting and overlong. In the city of Bath, in the year 1865, an extraordinary young woman, renowned for her nursing skills, is convinced that some other destiny will one day show itself to her. But when she finds herself torn between a dangerous affair with a female lover and the promise of a conventional marriage to an apparently respectable doctor, her desires begin to lead her towards a future she had never imagined. The story of Islands of mercy consists of two narratives. One takes place in Victorian Bath, and the other on the exotic island of Borneo. Both loosely connected by a family link between brothers Edmund and Valentine Ross. I put this book down at 8% after reading the first four chapters. Unfortunately, I couldn't get past the writing style. The author has attempted to emulate the typical writing and narrative styles of the 19th century, when the book is set, which has resulted in a rather dry and, to put it bluntly, boring book (as far as I read). Nothing about the first few chapters gripped me and the way certain themes were handled and discussed (such as miscarriages) made me uncomfortable. To be entirely honest, I have other books I would rather read and forcing myself to continue with a book I wasn't enjoying would be unproductive. I started this book as it was narrated by the one and only Katie McGrath, and it didn’t disappoint.

You may change or cancel your subscription or trial at any time online. Simply log into Settings & Account and select "Cancel" on the right-hand side. Meanwhile, on the wild island of Borneo, an eccentric British ‘rajah’, Sir Ralph Savage, overflowing with philanthropy but compromised by his passions, sees his schemes relentlessly undermined by his own fragility, by man’s innate greed and by the invasive power of the forest itself.That being said, this book in itself was magnificent. I loved everything about it, from the characters to their different plots and the writing, chefs' kiss. This was my first Tremain book and i am so glad i came across her. I can't really describe it but her writing made me feel some type of way and i want to feel that way again. So first of all, I listened to it on Audible, cause hearing Katie McGrath amazing voice acting out the dialogues and everything made my whole month (I might be in love honestly). I intend while analysis, Clorinda Morressey won my heart. She is poor, yet she wants to be an independent female, not happy to be a servant, as well as with cash she receives from offering family heirloom, she establishes herself in the centre of Bathroom. The path she chooses is not the easiest for a lady in Victorian England, and yet she is successful, not just in her organization.

A novel which has several protagonists, all so different and peculiar and interconnected, and who are special in their own ways, and who seek something or run away from something. This makes for a striking comparison: most of the women’s stories in Islands of Mercy are triumphant, and beautifully told; by contrast, the medical men are helpless without them, and the preening English rajah is in fact a diminished nobody, more Basil Fawlty than degenerate Kurtz. However, in the light of this amplification of women’s voices, it is difficult to know what to make of the relative silence of Savage’s subjects. In one scene he observes a group of Chinese workers, who with their “small, slim bodies and their wide conical straw hats, [appear to him] … to resemble little mushrooms, bobbing out, scrabbling for a place in the earth”. It’s a reductive image, reflecting the homogenising perspective of a coloniser. But nowadays a historical novel in which “lost tribes” remain lost runs the risk of appearing out of step. Tremain – who, after all, is one of the best novelists writing today – does not quite make this mistake. She has Savage’s servant, Leon, whom he has taken as his “primary bed companion”, articulate the frustration of having to kowtow to a buffoon: when Sir Ralph shows him the completed Savage Road, he exclaims: “White and strong, Rajah, Sir – just like you and the British empire!” Leon is also as blunt and clear-sighted as any of the female characters, pointing out, for example, that the Englishmen are thieves: “You come. Take our gold. Sail away.” An exhilarating exploration of love, life, loss and death... A thrilling and seductive story... Vivid and beguiling Rowan Mantell, Eastern Daily PressFor cost savings, you can change your plan at any time online in the “Settings & Account” section. If you’d like to retain your premium access and save 20%, you can opt to pay annually at the end of the trial. Sir Raff,' said Leon? 'There is no "where" in Sarawak. There is only Nature. Men begin; Nature finishes.' Over a distinguished literary career, Rose Tremain has traversed genres with her customary flair... in her portrayal of the ways in which individual longing and frustration unfold against the constraints of forces beyond our control, Tremain has long been one of our most accomplished novelists, and here is further confirmation Stephanie Merritt, The Observer If you do nothing, you will be auto-enrolled in our premium digital monthly subscription plan and retain complete access for 65 € per month.

The world, Jane already knew, reeked horribly of old, exhausted things. Day could follow day without a single original or exciting moment stirring her pulse. But now Aunt Emmeline - by far the most exceptional and independent person the Adeane family - was going to reveal something new. She was ‘The Angel of the Baths’, the one woman whose touch everybody yearned for. Yet she would do more. She was certain of that. An interesting, engaging historical fiction novel set mostly in Bath, England and Borneo in 1865. In Bath, Jane Adearne, a tall young nurse, works with Valentine Ross, a doctor. Valentine proposes marriage to Jane but she refuses to marry him, leaving Bath to go to London. In Borneo are Sir Ralph Savage and Edmund Ross, brother of Valentine. Sir Ralph is very rich and spends his money trying to do good in Borneo. Edmund goes off into the jungle on a nature expedition.Meanwhile, on the wild island of Borneo, an eccentric British 'rajah', Sir Ralph Savage, overflowing with philanthropy but compromised by his passions, sees his schemes relentlessly undermined by his own fragility, by man's innate greed and by the invasive power of the forest itself. I dont know if I d grab this book to read of my own volition, coz this is not always the genre I prefer, to be honest, but finding out it was narrated by wonderful Katie McGrath, spurred me on to get the audio version of the book. Just started it, but I ll properly comment on it when I finish it... Katie McGrath narrating book made the entire experience so much better, and I'd gladly sign a petition for her to narrate more books.

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