Read Trade Wind by M.M. Kaye Online


The scene is teeming Zanzibar just before the American Civil War, when the Isle of Cloves was a center of African slave trade. To it comes Hero Athena Hollis, a Boston bluestocking filled with self-righteousness and bent on good deeds.Then she meets Rory Frost, a cynical, wicked, shrewd and good-humored trader in slaves. What is Hero to make of him (and of her feelings forThe scene is teeming Zanzibar just before the American Civil War, when the Isle of Cloves was a center of African slave trade. To it comes Hero Athena Hollis, a Boston bluestocking filled with self-righteousness and bent on good deeds.Then she meets Rory Frost, a cynical, wicked, shrewd and good-humored trader in slaves. What is Hero to make of him (and of her feelings for him)?"Tightly plotted, crammed with detail and irresistibly romantic." (Cosmopolitan)Note: M.M. Kaye is the author of The Far Pavilions, one of the great stories to emerge from British India....

Title : Trade Wind
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780553253115
Format Type : Mass Market Paperback
Number of Pages : 553 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Trade Wind Reviews

  • Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
    2019-03-11 05:59

    This review did not want to be written. Some reviews (typically the snarky ones) spring from your brain like Athena, pretty much fully formed; others need to be mulled over for a while you grapple for the right words to explain what the book meant to you. Trade Wind left me so conflicted that I wasn't even certain how to rate this book, much less what to say about it.But because I am strong and invincible and all that, and also because I promised myself I wouldn't pick up another novel until I wrote this review . . . The island of Zanzibar, off the eastern coast of Africa. The late 1850s. Hero Hollis, an orphaned young American woman with a large fortune, an overabundance of self-confidence and a determination to rid the world of all its evils, sails to Zanzibar to join her relatives for an extended stay. This is the heyday of the slave trade in Africa, and Zanzibar is at the center of the slave trade. Hero is washed overboard in a storm and, luckily, is picked up by Captain Rory Frost, whose ship smuggles guns and other contraband . . . which has included slaves. And so begins the love-hate relationship between the self-righteous crusader Hero and the independent British captain, who breaks all rules except his own.Hero was a hard character to identify with. She's so completely certain that she's right that she barges ahead and often ends up doing far more damage than good. Part of this book is her journey toward self-awareness, but it takes a good long while for her to get there.Unless you love the (seriously) bad boys and the anti-heroes, Rory is even more difficult to accept than Hero. He's done some coldhearted things in his life. Things come to a head eventually with a scene that's a deal-breaker for many readers (serious spoilers here): (view spoiler)[Rory kidnaps and deliberately rapes Hero. He has his reasons; they're understandable, especially given the circumstances, the culture and his character, but clearly these don't justify the deed in any way. There's no real question that their first time together is a rape, and not a forced seduction, although the bedroom door is firmly closed. The second is more mutual, though he's still taking advantage of her. The question is, after this happens, and given Rory Frost's character in general, can you bring yourself to accept that the two eventually fall in love?(hide spoiler)]The more I thought about this, and tried to figure out if there was any way to accept (view spoiler)[their eventual romantic relationship (hide spoiler)], the more muddled I felt. In a weird way I wanted to be able to accept it, or at least believe that people could accept it--I like to believe in HEAs and all--but I invariably kept circling back to the idea that ultimately, there are some things that are just not to be tolerated. Some behavior goes too far. Your mileage may vary.Aside from this extremely problematic part of the plot, there is a lot to love in Trade Wind. M.M. Kaye is great at exploring the history of other cultures, giving respect to different ways of life and viewpoints, and evoking the feel for what it would have been really like to live through some turbulent times in history. She gives a more nuanced view of the problems with eradicating slavery than I previously was aware of . . . maybe a little too nuanced, as she almost justified it in some circumstances. Maybe she was just trying to get the reader inside of the heads of those who were part of this culture.This is a well-researched, complex and fascinating story, but I had too many issues with it to really love it.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Hannah
    2019-03-23 09:00

    Trade Wind is, bar none, my favorite book...period.I first read it when I was 16 years old, and now I'm 53. Even after 15+ readings (I've lost count), I still love it. I always hesitate to recommend it to friends, because it's almost like my baby--I don't want people to think it's ugly. It combines beautiful writing with in-depth factual information about the history and island of Zanzibar of the mid-1800's. The plot is well maintained throughout the book. Kaye's writing is both lyrical and strong; painting word pictures, expressing the emotions of the characters and triggering an emotional response in the reader. The romance is secondary to the story, but wow, what a romance Kaye delivers. Kaye truely fleshed out the main characters of Hero and Rory extremely well; exposing them with all their strengths and weaknesses. You won't find a Mary Sue/Gary Stu in the pages of this novel. Even secondary characters (i.e. Batty Potter, Dan Larrimore, Salme, Amrah and Sultan Majid) are well drawn and sympathetic. Without attempting to give away any major spoilers, I will tell potential readers that a part of this book is very controversial. It appears to be the "tipping point" why some readers rate Trade Wind with 1-2 stars. For myself, I think the action is justified within the context of the plotline and the motivation of the lead male character, and personally didn't have a problem with it as it pertains to this story. However, I totally understand that others could find it so.I only regret I cannot give this 10 stars instead of a paltry 5.

  • Algernon
    2019-03-19 09:56

    A journey of ten thousand leagues has to start somewhere, and in this historical epic it starts in the kitchen of a grand mansion from Boston, in or around the middle of the nineteen century, prior to the american Civil War. A small girl with a ridiculously ponderous name, Hero Athena Hollis, has her palm read by an old Irish crone named Biddy jason: She spoke in a hoarse, low sing-song, barely above a whisper: "There's sun in your hand, and wind and salt water. And rain ... warm rain and an island full of black men ..." I have mentioned the Secessionist War because M M Kaye has written here her own version of Margaret Mitchell's sprawling saga, a sort of "Gone With the Trade Winds", describing passionate lives caught in a conflict over slavery, with a hefty dose of romance thrown in. The garish cover is actually a pretty good capture of the 'bodice-ripping' part of the novel, but it fails to evoque the real strength of the narrative that comes from the author's own passion for the study of the history and people of the island of Zanzibar. I have first read "Trade Wind" almost thirty years ago, and in the meantime I have become quite the fanboy of M M Kaye for her two famous Indian epics ("The Far Pavilions" and "Shadow of the Moon") and for her sense of humour displayed in a lighter series of whodunits. The re-read revealed some nasty undercurrents of imperialism and condescension towards the 'darkies', but the overall thrill of the exotic adventures is still strong in this one. How could it not, when hurricanes at sea are followed by journeys on pirate ships, sea battles against slave traders, harem visits and plots to overthrow the sultan of the land, bloody revolutions and hidden treasures worthy of the Arabian Tales, daring prison escapes and merciless plague, elopements and kidnappings (view spoiler)[ and an uncomfortable high quota of good old-fashioned bodice-ripping, also known as statutory rape(hide spoiler)] and betrayals and over all the constantly blowing winds?At the centre of all tis turmoil is an American young lady, an orphan heiress Boston riding on an unusually moral high horse, driven to do good for the world, whether the world wants it or not: "Good? What sort of good?""Helping people. Setting things to rights!""Humph. What sort of things?"Miss Hollis sketched a small impatient gesture: "Slavery. Ignorance. Dirt and disease. I don't believe in sitting around with folded hands and saying 'The Lord's Will be done,' when there are so many things being done that cannot possibly be the Lord's Will. One should start right in and do something about it." Her missionary zeal, coupled with the well remembered prophecy from her childhood, puts Hero on a ship for Zanzibar, a den of slavery, disease and injustice that the young woman feels it is her mission in life to redress. The first obstacle in her course is one renegade British Captain of the slave ship "virago", a scoundrel named Errol Flynn ... pardon! named Emory ('Rory') Frost. He is everything Hero despises : an opportunist, amoral, debauched rogue ... you can see where this is leading to, dont you?There must be something in the nature of a woman that drives her inexorably towards shawshbuckling bad boys, as M M Kaye is not the only author to pick the so-called 'Alpha' for her heroine, even as she portrays said heroine as an early and fiery poster girl of the budding feminist movement. I have a feeling this deeply entrenched emotional need goes beyond mere sexuality and addresses a universal human aspiration. Who really wants a boring, nine-to-five life when he or she can have danger and adventure and passion? Rory Frost himself heard the call of the faraway lands in his early childhood, reading a famous anonymous British poem: With a host of furious fanciesWhereof I am commander,With a burning spear and a horse of airTo the wilderness I wander.By a knight of ghosts and shadowsI summoned am to tourneyTen leagues beyond the wide world's end.Methinks it is no journey. The verses capture brilliantly the wildness of character and the restless spirit of Rory, but the reader will have to wait for the end of the novel to find out if the idealistic and naive Hero can awaken thoughts of hearth and marital bliss in the heart of the wanderer.Speaking of idealistic crusaders, I think I read somewhere that the cruelest dictators and war criminals in history have been the ones who truly believed that they are the chosen ones to lead humanity into a better future. (Pasternak?) Hero Athena Hollis is a fitting case study of the practical problems resulting from inflexible moral principles. A longer part of her childhood prophecy warns Hero that she will cause a lot of bloodshed and pain before she can find her true heart, and her stay in Zanzibar will challenge sorely her earlier certainties about right and wrong. Hero, and with her most of the rest of the European community of the island, is guilty of judging harshly the local population and its traditions and customs, automatically assuming the Arabs and the Africans are backward, lazy and dirty and that they need a firm guiding hand as they are quite incapable of governing themselves. Something along the lines of : I must occupy your country in order to prevent you from wasting its resources and in order to prevent other dirty empires getting their hands on said resources. Someday someone is going to see that you get the blessing of Progress, Western style, whether you want it or not. And if you don't want it you'll get it crammed down your throat with a rifle butt. I have noticed this strong undercurrent of "white man's burden" in the pages of the two other major epics written by Kaye, a heritage of her Imperial British upbringing that informs everything she writes, even as she admits mistakes and abuses were made. The central assumption of superiority of the 'white' culture is never renounced. It is to be found in actions, both from Hero and from Rory, even as their words claim the opposite. The English have always been great ones at grabbing everything they can lay hands on and then piously pretending that they only did it for the previous owner's good. A hypocritical lot.says Rory, who on the other hand despises the local Sultan and the local traders for indecision, for venality and for general squalor. Hero wants to liberate the slaves, but she is scandalized when she finds out one of her acquaintances has a dark-skinned mistress. The list is long, but in her defense, Mrs. Kaye does point out the inconsistencies and the fallacies of the Western atitudes. I was worried though about her apparent and repeated defense of the instituton of slavery. She condemns the bad practices, the death ships and the forceful marches across the continent, but not the principle of the thing.Were the well-fed black slaves of the Zanzibar Arabs so much worse off than the wizened children of 'free' whites, who worked in factories and mines? And would Salme think that a grimy, fog-filled and smoke-blackened market in some industrial town was so much to be preferred above the hot, teeming, colourful bazaars of her native Island? To me, this sounds like a bad argument. Both practices are equally reprehensible, and one bad deed does not excuse the other. On the one hand, the author feels... a savage anger against all those Europeans who despised the East as uncivilized, and yet considered that when living there the colour of their own skins gave them the right to behave as they pleased, and automatically placed them in a superior - and governing - class. , on the other hand, she cannot stop looking at the island from the perspective of a superior being slumming it among the natives.I should stop with my complaints though, because I don't want to give the wrong impression. I enjoyed the ride, and I was reminded of my own childhood fantasies of becoming a sailor and of journeying to faraway lands with names like Antananarivo or Pitcairn or Valparaiso, of becoming a hero for the local populations and of having a beautiful maiden swoon into my muscular arms. The best part of the present novel is the island of Zanzibar itself, and here the research done by the author is impressive and her portrait is equally enchanting and informative. It was not surprising that a man born and bred among the harsh, sun baked sands of Arabia should have been caught by the beauty of this green and gracious island and left his heart, and at the last his body, on that lovelt shore. The young Frenchman, Jules Dubail, had been right when he described it as a 'Paradise on earth, colourful and exotic and of a beauty inconceivable.' and so had those long-ago Arabs who had named it 'Zayn za'l barr' - 'Fair is this land.' Is this escapism? Partly, yes. The reader feels like he or she has passed through a magical portal into a fairytale, one of the good old-fashioned and scary ones where wolfes eat the little Red Riding Hood and a witch will cook the lost children in her oven. It was the fact that the door stood ajar that decided her. Had it been closed she would probably (though by no means certainly) have turned back. But looking at it she could catch a glimpse of sun-dappled shade and the crimson fire of hibiscus beyond it, and suddenly she was no longer Hero Athena Hollis, but Eve or Pandorra or Bluebeard's wife. She stood quite still for several minutes, not in doubt, but to listen, and hearing no sound but the surf and sea wind, ran lightly up the steps. Hero should have paid more attention to her fairytales and kept away from enchanting palaces by the coral sea with mystical names like 'Kivulimi'. Yes, the place might hold hidden treasures, but there might also be ogres protecting it. Her innocence and credulity is not the best armor against predators and an earlier fanciful reference from a cousin might turn into a nightmare: ... her ebullient cousin, Hartley Crayne, had nicknamed her 'The Sleeping Beauty': kindly explaining that he "reckoned she was sound asleep behind her hedge of prickles, and that any Prince who had the idea of waking her up was going to have to take a goddamned hatchet to hack his way through 'em!""Might try it myself," Hartley had added, "if I weren't so doggone idle. I'm all for the waking up with a kiss, but chopping down thorn trees ain't in my line." (view spoiler)[ One of the most controversial scenes in the novel is the waking up of the sleeping beauty of Hero with a revenge rape. The problem comes not so much from the act itself, as from the writer's atitude that Rory's action is somewhat excused by the fact that he was taking retribution for a similar rape of his former mistress by Hero's fiance; and by the fact that Rory is subconsciously already in love with Hero. To make matters worse, the rape scene is repeated the following night, after the man gets the young girl stinkingly drunk!!! If this scene was written by a man, feminist all around the world would be up in arms. How can we really rationalize the crime by the author's claim that it takes two to tango and that the two actors were secretly in love with each other? Hero herself was a touch too phlegmatic on the following morning about the whole shebang(hide spoiler)]My final quotes are both offered in atonement for some of the bitterness of the critical notes above, and as a reccomendation to visit Zanzibar in the company of Hero Athena Hollis with an open mind and with an expectation of wonder: He has seen the squalor and the enchantment, and known that although the world was shrinking with the relentless swiftness of a sandbar when the tide has turned, it was still, for a little while longer, a vast and mysterious place full of unexplored territories, secret cities and beautiful, beckoning horizons. >><<>><<>><<>><< Fireflies in the shadows and the scent of strange flowers; the sound of surf on a coral beach.'Teach me to hear mermaids singing'

  • Misfit
    2019-03-20 02:46

    This is the story of Hero Athena Hollis, an extremely independent woman of the 19th century, vehemently opposed to slavery and all of society's injustices and determined to use her wealth to stamp them out. After Hero's father dies, she is invited to join her family in Zanzibar where her uncle is serving as the American Counsel. Hero's family always expected that she would marry her aunt's son by a first marriage, even though she is not sure she's in love with him. While on voyage to Zanzibar during a huge storm, Hero is washed off the boat deck and presumed dead. However, another ship captained by the infamous slave trader Rory Frost pulls up their rigging out of the sea and finds a half drowned, bruised and battered Hero. Since Hero is such a bruised mess from her ordeal, Rory has no idea what a beauty she is until sometime after she has been returned to her family. To say more of the story than this would be revealing the entire plot, which I don't like to do. M.M. Kaye's knowledge of the Far East shines through, as it does in all her books. She stays as historically accurate as she can, and pulls no punches when describing the customs of the Island, the slave trade, the cholera epidemic and more. And once again, Kaye is able through her books to remind us that the west and east are two different and completely disparate cultures and will never see eye to eye. One other lesson brought to home in this story is when Hero's eyes are opened to the fact that for all her good intentions, going barging in to another culture you know nothing about and trying to change them "for the better" to the more "civilized culture" is inherently wrong, and one should look to correct what is one own's back yard first before trying to change the world. This was a wonderful tale and I had a hard time putting it down. Out of print, but readily available at my county library. *******SPOILERS DISCUSSED**** I see some of the other reviewers on Amazon were distressed by the rape scene(s) towards the end of the book. While I do not condone rape under any circumstance, one must remember this was 19th century, in a remote island off the east coast of Africa, during a very turbulent time in that island's history. Kaye set the plot well leading up to the rape and Rory's actions, while not fully justified, did fit in with the story line. There were no graphic descriptions; everything was left to the reader's imagination, with no gratuitous sex at all. Rory showed remorse the next day and while those same reviewers felt that the second night was a rape, I did not get that at all. I was surprised at the vehemence of those reviewers who reacted so strongly and I'm glad I reserved judgment and read the book for myself. It's funny how so many of our soap opera heroes began as rapists after attacking the woman who would eventually become his true love and redeemed by Hollywood to become yet another super couple, yet people found this rape to be highly offensive. I don't get it.

  • Dorcas
    2019-03-24 04:05

    At 553 pages, this isn't a book to read in one sitting; but well worth the read however long it takes. It's probably one of the most unusual books Ive read. By that I mean, nothing is black and white. The protagonists are neither all good or all bad.For example, the heroine, in her attempt to reform the world ends up doing more harm than good; at least at first. She is impetuous, stubborn and naive. But over the course of her experiences in Zanzibar, many of which were unpleasant, she learns a great deal about herself and other people's way of life.The hero ( I almost shudder to call him that), also has to learn the hard way what NOT to do to make a success of himself, not materially because he does very well in that department, but as a person. He however, never claims to be virtuous. So when he makes some VERY outrageously bad decisions, we're disappointed but not overly surprised, especially when you learn his family background. At some point in the story (around page 350) you'll come to a scene behind closed doors which will shock and disgust you (as it should); but I wouldn't give up on the story just yet. I recommend waiting it out to see how it all ends. Sometimes people do change. And even the unforgivable is not necessarily unforgivable.While I would never call this male protagonist "hero material", the book had a gritty realism that is hard to argue with. No one lives in a fairy tale ...Really, if I was to give this book a theme it would be: NOTHING IS AS IT SEEMSThe story deals with many things: shipwreck, slave traders, royal revolt and annual pirates "traders". Also the climax of the book is the most chilling: the cholera plague which ultimately killed over 20,000 people. And the most sobering thing about this book is that most of it is absolutely true.Bottom line: If you like epic tales of history with plenty of excitement and intrigue, you may love Trade Wind. This can not be called a romance by any stretch of the imagination as it (the romance) makes up so little of the book; maybe 2%. It's primarily an adventure and a character study.CONTENT:VIOLENCE: Very little. Fratricide is mentioned, and one man is shot through the head as he is carrying the plague.LANGUAGE: moderate, sprinkled throughout. Mainly D's and B's (fatherless offspring)SEX: None shown, but there is a rape and you know what happens. Immoral "arrangements" are also spoken of as having taken place by various characters, again, not shown to the reader.For thematic elements I would rate this PG-13.

  • Tweety
    2019-03-14 09:13

    Every bit as good the second time round! In fact better, because now I was throughly prepared for how things would go and able to love it anyway. Something I noticed that I hadn't before is that many of the characters that I started out with a dislike for, acquitted themselves by the end. And, while some of them never do or never can (as the case may be), make up for the past for the most part I am happy with how they all "grew", even those who considered themselves well versed in the ways of the world. I loved Hero's determination to set things to rights, even if she was naive to think she could really do it. She had fire and as Captain Rory Frost thought,"Hero angry, Hero defiant, Hero asleep... A dozen Heros; but none of them afraid and none of them defeated."And he was right, even when she lands herself in scrapes, Hero is never defeated. Batty Potter remains one of my favorite characters in this book, sure he was nothing but a common thief for most of his life, but in his old age he mellowed and I cannot but love him. He showed his gentleness best with a little girl named Amrah. Now, as for the controversial bit in this story; (view spoiler)[ it's the only thing that makes me question my five stars, and this book gets those five stars anyway, in case you're wondering based on my first review. I guess that while I don't like or agree with Rory Frost's way of claiming Hero, I do understand why he behaved that way. No, I'm not letting him off the hook, but I'm saying he wasn't all bad all the time and that if Hero could forgive him, then I can at least try to forget it. Rory had a lousy childhood, and since he was never taken to task the right way, it's no surprise that he goes on to make stupid decisions he can't undo, not that he was ever terribly sorry. It's not too surprising really, that he acted this way and while I'd like to say he pays he doesn't really, except that he does do an about turn in his life style. And Emory Frost always keeps his word, (when it suits him and in this case I believe it does). However, when alls said and done I am sorry that because of the rape I can't happily give this ten stars like I feel the rest of the book deserves. But, for every one who can't understand why she fell in love with him, I say just look at her fiancée, and maybe you won't be so surprised. He lied to her through his teeth, while Rory always let her know where he stood. Hero was someone who likes people to be what the seem, not put on a facade.(hide spoiler)]Note: I think this book is better than Zemindar, which was also very good, I just happen to like this story better. PG-13We have a rape behind closed doors (the controversy), some "mercy" killing and swears ranging from Ds, Hs, to all three Bs. Several characters have mistresses and there is mention of prostitutes. Also, in the Cholera epidemic we have many, many bodies lying around so that can be rather gritty.

  • Hana
    2019-03-14 08:55

    Well, the best part was reading it with some great friends. Now, as for the book....I wavered between two and four stars from one chapter to the next so I’ll go for a final rating of three.On the plus side: the wonderfully evocative descriptions of Zanzibar—beautiful and terrible—and fascinating historical details that seem very well-researched. While none of the main characters were particularly likable all had interesting though not completely believable character arcs. There were some thought–provoking insights into slavery and Arab colonialism in Africa, as well as the perils of European colonial expansion and adventurism. On the minus side: an overstuffed plot with some very improbable twists and turns; a ‘romantic triangle’ that has our nearly-dumb-as-a-post heroine (view spoiler)[caught between two rapists one of whom is the book's 'hero' who might be more accurately described by police today as a 'perp' (hide spoiler)]. On balance: Not up to the incredibly high standards of The Far Pavilions, but an interesting read for those who love epic historical fiction set in far away places. I think part of my lack of enthusiasm stemmed from the fact that I was reading it concurrently with a series of utterly gripping non-fiction books; against really good history, fiction pales for me.Content rating PG warning: some crude language, mature thematic situations (slavery, concubinage, rape, war). Zanzibar! for my Around-the-World reading challenge and our Group Read for November!

  • Moonlight Reader
    2019-03-18 11:05

    I have been sick for a couple of days, and I really should've been sleeping last night, instead of finishing this book. But, instead, I was finishing this book.I am not even sure where to begin with the writing process here. This book is a mass of contradictions: problematic, beautiful, shocking, deplorable, and incredibly compelling. The characters, even more so, with no one character being all good or all bad, even while they are doing things that are horrifying.This book is about the slave trade in a very real way - and all of the characters (both European and native) are involved in it in some capacity or another, and their opinion of it seems to be informed by and based upon the level to which they personally benefit from it. And the main character, Hero, is a young woman who is deeply opposed to slavery, but who also, as a result of her arrogance and naivete, interferes in the government of Zanzibar and causes the death of dozens of natives. Her interference likely kills as many Zanzibar natives as the slave trade did, in the year that she was there. Does her "pure" heart excuse her from responsibility? What about the fact that her "pure" heart is esentially acting out of ignorance and arrogance, seeking to supplant her judgment (when she has been in Zanzibar for all of about ten days) for the judgment of the native government?"He said meditatively: ‘Leaving aside the larger issues, why, specifically, do you abominate slave traders? Because they make money out of it?’‘No.’ Hero’s voice was ice. ‘I told you once before and I am quite certain that you have not forgotten it. But if you really wish to hear me repeat it I shall be happy to oblige you. I abominate them because they are personally responsible for the death and agony and degradation of thousands of people. Of innocent human beings who have done them no harm and with whom they have no quarrel. Because they callously condemn to appalling suffering and misery—–’ ‘Yes, that’s what I thought. I just wanted to make sure I hadn’t got it wrong. Then perhaps, Miss Hollis, you can tell me how it is that, while holding such views, you have recently been doing your damnedest to make yourself personally responsible for the death or mutilation of several hundred human beings who cannot have done you any harm, and with whom – as far as I know – you can hardly have quarrelled? And furthermore, why you should have thought fit to assist in the extension of a trade you profess to abhor? I will absolve you from the charge of doing either of these things for the sake of personal profit; though that at least would have been a more understandable motive than a mere love of meddling. But I confess I find it interesting.’To Hero's credit, I suppose, she is horrified to learn that she has been used by those who are far more cunning than she was to advance their own interests. But I feel like I am going horribly off track here - again. Let me try to get myself back to the point.I can't figure out M.M. Kaye, and maybe that is because she, herself, was a mass of contradictions. She, at times, exhibits remarkable insight into the colonial arrogance, with quotes like these:Yet saving only yourself, I have never yet met a white man who did not consider that I and my people would derive great benefit by changing our ways and imitating theirs, or who did not try and impress upon me the immense superiority of all white laws and customs. It is very strange.’ (a statement by the Sultan Majid to Rory Frost).Or this:Why, I ask you, should we of the East forsake the laws and customs of our forefathers at the bidding of ignorant and contentious foreigners whose own governments and priests cannot agree among themselves? Tell me that?’‘Because,’ said Rory unkindly, ‘you are not going to be given the option. Not in the long run. You can’t argue with a gunboat if all you have is a canoe and a throwing spear – no aspersions on your fleet, you understand, I was speaking metaphorically. There is a certain tiresome and time-honoured argument that has been in use since the dawn of history and can be best summed up by that elegant sentence: “If you don’t, I’ll kick yourteeth in.”That, my friend, is what you are up against!’ The Sultan wagged his head and said sadly: ‘There are times when I fear you may be right.’‘I wish I only feared it instead of being sure of it,’ said Rory with regret. ‘This is only the morning of the White Man’s Day, Majid. The sun hasn’t reached its zenith yet, and it won’t sink until every Western nation in turn has done its best to foist its own particular Message onto the older civilizations of the East. And by that time, the lesson will have been learned too well and there will be nowhere left in all the world where a man can escape from Progress and do what he damn’ well pleases – or find room to breathe in!’ (a conversation between Rory Frost and the Sultan, Majid)Or this:Somehow Hero did not think so, and for the first time it occurred to her that there were aspects of Western cities and Western civilization that might appear as ugly, crude and appalling to Eastern eyes as Zanzibar and some of its customs had appeared to her. (Hero's ruminations on Seyidda Salme, who has fallen in love with a young German man and fled to Europe to marry him).And then, at other times, she seems sympathetic to the worst excesses of colonialism. Kaye herself was born in India, the daughter of a British officer in the Indian Army who was raised, first in India, and then in a British boarding school. She returned to India after completing school, and married a British army officer there, and ended up moving 27 times in 19 years, all over the world. I haven't even gotten to the characters yet, or the so-called romance, and this review is already incredibly long. But I do need to say a few things about them before I close this meandering collection of thoughts. It is rare in a book to see so much complexity in characters. Each of the main characters, in his or her own way, demonstrated remarkable growth throughout the course of events in this book. Hero, herself, is the most obvious of these - she grows from a young woman with all of the answers to a young woman with none of the answers, while assisting in a failed rebellion, being abducted and raped, and then, finally nursing abandoned or orphaned children through a cholera epidemic with no thought to her own health. Rory, as well, exhibits enormous growth of character, from a young man who cares only for revenge and money, to something more.But, I have to talk about the relationship between Hero and Rory. Since I closed the book, I've thought about their reconciliation and their ultimate decision to be together, and it is really difficult for me to process, and here I will get a bit spoilery, so be warned.Rory abducted and raped Hero in retaliation for Hero's fiance, Clay, raping a young slave, Zorah, who had borne him a child. And while the rape itself is not described graphically, there is no question but that this was a rape, not a so-called "forced seduction," as was fairly common in books of this vintage. There is a second night, as well, where the question of rape is somewhat less clear, but, nonetheless, I am going to assert that was a rape as well, as it is pretty clear that Hero did not consent on either occasion.So, wow. Rape was a fairly common trope in books of this sort that were published in the 1970's, so if that is a deal breaker for you, dear reader, by all means skip this book. And, the idea that a woman would fall in love with, and agree to marry, the man who has abducted and raped her, even if he does feel really ashamed of it and even if she might've been developing warm feelings about him before he abducted and raped her, that is really a bridge too far for me, personally. But, on the other hand, the rape is really central to the narrative arc of this story, so while it is a deal breaker for me as far as Rory's character goes - no matter what, I can't root for the rapist - I am not sure that Kaye could've written this book without it.This book raises so many questions for me, not the least of relates to writing fiction about abhorrent aspects of our shared historical past. What is the *right* way, if there is a right way, to handle that? Reading about characters who act or speak in concert prevailing attitudes that served to oppress women, native populations, black people or whoever the minority might have been is incredibly uncomfortable, and it can be perceived as defending those attitudes and practices themselves. But, at the same time, it is important to be historically accurate, and those attitudes and practices did prevail, and it does not help confront those attitudes to pretend that they didn't. As well, I do believe that it is important for authors to not shy away from tackling tough historical subjects. I would not say that this book glorifies the slave trade. But many of its characters do not condemn it. To sum up, this book is super, super problematic with elements of colonialism, comment on the slave trade, white savior narratives, and rape. And in spite of all of that, it is also complicated, well-written and absolutely riveting.

  • Caitlin
    2019-03-12 04:58

    No doubt a lot of people will be able to enjoy this story. I enjoyed it myself for about 300 pages or so. It's adventurous and intriguing, although not as good as The Far Pavilions or Shadow of the Moon. There's just one sticking point that dropped this book down for me...The reason for the one star isn't because of the quality of writing but because of a turn in the plot that made it difficult for me to stomach anything that came before or after it. (view spoiler)[If there's a rapist in a story I feel like he should either be the villain of the story or else he better have quite the character growth in order to become the anti-hero, but God forbid he be the romantic hero of the story.I've read books with rape in it. Rape is a reality, sadly, in many people's lives, and so it's fitting to have books about it, but I never want to see rape resulting in any sort of romantic coupling between the rapist and the victim. I just can't bring myself to find anything redeeming in a book wherein a girl "needs" to be raped in order to become a better person and then falls in love with her rapist, nor a book where the "hero" doesn't feel any regret for raping the girl beyond a moment of, "oh, maybe I shouldn't have done that". After all, he enjoyed it, so how could he regret it? Plus, he realizes that one of the reasons he raped her was because he wanted to take her before her fiancee could. And that conclusion is supposed to be his realization that he has loved her for a long time. Now that's swoon-worthy. I understand that what Rory did was probably very much in line with his character but it didn't have to be written off as justifiable or romantic or as if the action fell into the gray area. It was not a gray-area action. It was premeditated, for one thing, and just plain sick.And after he rapes her? There's this little gem of a comment by him, "It's nice to know that you are unlikely to forget me." I'm not sure if that's how you want to be unforgettable. And the quote pops up later in the story as the girl remembers it fondly and realizes she’s in love. The whole thing leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I think I'll just stick with Shadow of the Moon rereads to remind myself why I liked M.M. Kaye in the first place. (hide spoiler)]

  • Jaima
    2019-03-04 10:48

    Group read November 2014. Trade Wind is panoramic historical romance, in the style of M.M. Kaye’s others, Shadow of the Moon and Far Pavilions, both of which I read years ago, before Amazon and Goodreads made it possible for me to find more of her books. Trade Wind is still out of print, but I was able to obtain a used paperback copy. Despite the yellowing pages and the cheesy cover, it was easy to sink into this story—it’s vivid, sensory writing, delivering the harsh and sometimes absurd historical realities with deadpan ease. Because it’s Kaye, the story begins before the heroine’s birth, the aptly named Hero Hollis. The formative years are a little thick (view spoiler)[(I thought the fortuneteller, Biddy Jason, was a shade too much—I was skeptical that a child so young would remember something so exactly and design her whole life around it, cause most kids at that age are still planning on careers as superheroes).(hide spoiler)] But it didn’t take too long before the redoubtable Hero (prissy, determined, and not entirely likeable) was dumped into the ocean and into the hero, Captain Emory Frost’s lap. Which was, I must say, entirely satisfying. It's a match-up of an unprincipled rogue and a high-minded, 'I know best' girl with a judgement complex, but it gets more complicated than that. I like a romance that isn’t all about romance—where there are real, important, gut clenching things happening, and Trade Wind is certainly that. Kaye doesn’t flinch from describing the horrors of the slave trade, or sickening realities—that freed slaves often ended up being worse off because they couldn’t find work, or they ended up being recaptured and sold again. The principals, Hero and Rory, spar quite wonderfully, but it’s not merely the kind of sly bantering I associate with romance. (There's some great banter, but there's some rip-roaring argument too). Rory and Hero are battling over real, terrifying things: Rory’s business as a slave trader (Yep, you got that right), Hero’s attempt to aid rebels in overthrowing the Sultan of Zanzibar, which leads to fighting and many deaths, arms dealing, revenge, rape, epidemic cholera, neglect, and murder. It makes issues of class or insta-dislike seem…oh, just a little trite. It’s a romance, but it isn’t. The historical ‘adventure’ is a huge part of the story, but, like Shadow of the Moon and the Far Pavilions, it’s a story about two people who survive as the world they know burns, singeing away everything (almost) but their love for each other. And yet, it isn’t that simple. Rory and Hero both do as much harm as good, to their world and to each other. (view spoiler)[Rory, a pragmatist, has excellent excuses for selling people: he’s not as bad as the others, he helps the ‘real baddies’ get caught, and though he trades arms and has fingers in polictical pies, he maintains the status quo, arguably the least evil situation. But the bottom line is, he’s still selling people! No matter how you dress it up, slavery is an inexcusable blight. Hero, with her crusading motives, her dogmatic, ‘white-man’s burden’ mind, has great intentions, but endangers herself and others with her naiveté, and is taken advantage of by everyone she encounters, including Rory (in more ways than one).(hide spoiler)]But, (and this book is full of buts) she and Rory do change each other, and for the better. Rory leaves the slave trade, and though I doubt he’ll ever be squeaky clean, he is reconciled to a life as Hero’s consort on her campaigns of good works. Together, they steady each other, and actually do a great deal of good, and, we are led to believe, will continue to do so. He tempers her desperate idealism, and she redirects his skill. Or something like that. Misguided broadsword-philanthropy is a disaster, but Hero has realized she can succeed on a smaller, more personal scale. (view spoiler)[ And then there’s the rape. Troubling, no matter how you look at it. Whether it belongs in situ, or in the romantic-rape culture of the 60s when the book was written, it is ugly, especially since they are in love with each other, though at the point of the rape, unwilling to admit it. It really shouldn’t, but for me the act is tempered by several things: Hero and Rory do have passionate feelings for each other and treat the event as a passionate, not a violent one. Rory, though he said he didn’t regret it, felt remorse, (he’s not the kind of man who apologizes, but he does let Hero rule him after that—giving in to her about setting up the hospital, and approaching her tentatively afterward, giving her the key decision making about them and their relationship. I took this as his recognition that he needed to atone.(hide spoiler)]. In fact, the redemptive backfilling at the end, while very satisfying does seem a little…well, a little much maybe, though I enjoyed every bit of it. (view spoiler)[ I cried when Zorah died, and Rory’s child, when Hero lost her baby, and at the descriptions of the children orphaned by the cholera.(hide spoiler)]It seemed a little Shakespearean, that just about everyone ended up getting married, except Clay, who deserves to be kicked around the world. Twice. I expected a ripping yarn and was not disappointed, though moral ambiguities certainly abound. However, I enjoyed the book so much I’d be a hypocrite if I gave it less than 4 stars. If M.M. Kaye had written more of these doorstoppers, I’d be greedily thumbing through them too.

  • Tweety
    2019-03-02 11:05

    M.M. Kaye has a beautiful way with words. I finished this book faster than I have ever finished a 551 page book. And yet, I can't quite bring myself to give it five stars. Maybe I can manage a 4 1/2? Just.Batty ( a sailor on Captain Rory's ship ) who was a rogue through and through, was still a likable sort because he had a heart. Clay, I thoroughly disliked as he was a selfish blackard. Whille, Hero ( the heroine ) was a "leap and then look" sort of person. She was full of good ideas, but she didn't think them out first ( which lead to all sorts of disasters ). As for Captain Rory Frost, (the Hero!??), I do not admire him, but I am very sorry for him.This isn't really a romance, it's more of an epic tale, and more fact than fiction. The story itself deserves five stars the characters took of a star because I couldn't root for most of them and I didn't believe the love story part. (girl falls in love with a dispicable man? I think not.) I still enjoyed Trade Wind and would read it again. I would have liked Captain Frost to change a bit more however.There was a fair bit of language (mainly H's, D's and B's) and not much in the way of violence other than someone getting shot, (no details thankfully). There was a rape but, it was behind closed doors. FYI there was some mention of mistresses and prostitutes throughout. Also there was a hand reading by a fortune teller and some superstitions. And no matter how how bad the characters may seem, most of them are not what you think and often have an explanation, but maybe not very good ones…

  • Laura
    2019-03-18 05:12

    All the sea is not deep enough to wash away blood relationship. What is written is written...Visit those you love, though your abode be distant,And clouds and darkness have arisen between you...This is the extraordinary story of Hero Hollis and Rory Frost which is settled in Zanzibar. The author did a splendid work by describing the story of this not-well know island during slavery in the 19th century, showing the unfair game between France and England in order to profit of these workers.For further information, please see the wonderful reviews by Misfit and Hannahr. Certainly this book will be included in my favorite books I have ever read, really magnificent!!

  • Theresa
    2019-03-01 04:46

    Hero Hollis is adamantly opposed to slavery. Falling overboard and finding herself rescued by a sea captain who himself participates in the slave trade, she finds that all of her zeal and attempts to reform the society of the island of Zanzibar will not only be greatly challenged but largely unsuccessful. The author presents the slavery dilemma realistically and looks at all sides of the question, examining it from the standpoint of both the slaves that are well cared for and provided for, and those that are treated so unjustly and inhumanely as to defy belief in human nature itself.Slavery though is only one of the themes that this author addresses in this epic novel of a turbulent time period.“It had never before seemed possible to Hero that there could be any comparison between life in the East and the west that was not greatly to the West’s advantage, but now she found herself thinking about it from the standpoint of a girl who had been born in Zanzibar and known no other country, and who would soon be exchanging her bright silks and exotic jewelry for sober dresses of heavy, dark-colored woolen cloth, and landing at the teeming, industrial port of Hamburg, where the docks would be full of merchant ships and the sky heavy with smoke from factory chimneys, and where there would be poverty, drunkenness and crime as well as gas-lamps and opera-houses and the opulent mansions of the rich.”Although not greatly admiring the name of the heroine (Hero Athena? I wish the author had chosen something else...), on the whole I was pulling for her throughout the book. As her naiveté and generously pure motives were balanced by unforeseen circumstances and complications, Hero painfully matures and finds herself questioning even her own beliefs in the nobility of human nature (something that eventually happens to just about everyone, as we face the many challenges life has to offer!) Hero comes to the place where she can look back realistically and objectively, and the reader cannot but sympathise with her plight. Although vastly different in both plot and characterization, Hero's 'coming-of-age' story reminded me somewhat of the character of Austen’s “Emma", when the 'light-bulb' comes on.M.M. Kaye is a talented writer, able to put flesh and blood into her characters. Although somewhat predictable, her writing reflects the popular romantic style for that time period. The insipid Victorian-ish reactions of Hero's Aunt Abby and her daughter, Cressy, to various situations in the novel are sometimes a bit overdone, but not a surprise to any reader of Regency-era novels. However the lush descriptions of Zanzibar and the historical aspect of the novel made this for an enthralling read and I simply could not pick up anything else until I came to the ending.The author does disclose which events are true and which are fictional at the end of the book, which helps to place the events of the story and make it real for and the reader.Rory Frost, Hero's rescuer, remains (at least in my mind), an enigma. I never did come to a full appreciation of this complex character. The author does a good job of explaining his background and subsequent motivations, but for me, the explanation failed to justify his actions.“Against the background of the dark a score of disconnected incidents from his past life rose up before him, and it was as though, standing on the crest of a ridge, he turned to look back at a road he had traveled along. A long road that dipped into dark valleys and climbed out again on plateaus and hill crests, but that seen from this vantage point gave the appearance of being a joyous and unbroken line.He knew that the continuity of that line was an illusion, and that the valleys were there, for he had plodded through them. But now they lay below the level of his vision and were unimportant, and it was only the mountain tops that he saw, joined together by distance and bathed in retrospective sunlight. Life might have dealt him an indifferent hand but he had played it recklessly and to his own advantage...”If you are looking for an escapist read, it’s all here. Hidden treasure. Plots and counter-plots. Danger, romance, the English gentlemen soldier contrasted with the dastardly desperado, piracy, rescues, twists and turns, surprises, revelations, and intrigues. I was not at all familiar with the island of Zanzibar and the author cleverly brings this mysterious island and culture to life for the reader. An unforgettable story, this is a book I will not soon forget. Having read "The Far Pavilions" years ago, I knew M.M. Kaye had the ability to spin a long, involved historical epic that would hold my interest, and I was not disappointed.

  • Laura
    2019-03-19 11:10

    Last summer I became acquainted with M.M.Kaye reader-heaven in The Far Pavilions and Shadow of the Moon. I got a second-hand copy of Trade Wind right afterwards, but I have been saving it up. This summer again I gave way.We are now in a different universe, Zanzibar at around mid nineteenth-century, and our heroine is an American heiress heading there to become reunited with relatives and a man whom she may marry or not (she hasn't quite made up her mind yet). And from very early on the reader and the heroine are plunged into a whirlwind of adventure, featuring shipwrecks, epidemics, royal intrigues, abduction... This includes a point that can prove controversial, as shown in many reviews on this site. Parts dealing with an epidemic were also quite harrowing, reminding me of The Siege of Krishnapur (Farrell) and A Journal of the Plague Year (Defoe), as well as Shadow of the Moon. In Trade Wind the protagonists, hero and heroine, are flawed people (who isn't?) who learn to overcome some of their defects, whilst also attempting to remain true to their own nature. For Hero, it is her benevolence and eagerness to change conditions in Zanzibar for the better; for Rory, it is his illegal activities that fund his love for a life of freedom, away from "civilized" Europe and industrialization. It is more relevant today than ever to read his complaints about how nature and simple ways of life were being displaced by a form of "globalization": he even states how terrible it is that all places are becoming more and more alike in this process. Bearing in mind that the book was originally published in 1963, I found this especially insightful, although I suppose the process was certainly well on its way by then.There are many other interesting characters in this Zanzibar of Kaye's: foreign diplomats and company employees; unoccupied European ladies; a multitude of Muslim princes and princesses; servants, sailors and traffickers... My favourite character seemed taken out of a Jane Austen novel: a man deeply in love, extremely honourable and tenacious, keeping an impeccable front at all times of distress. If my ship were to encounter a storm, I only wish to be rescued by Lieutenant Daniel Larrimore!

  • Amy Hsiao
    2019-03-13 11:01

    Update after finishing listening to audio book version.I cried over the half-caste girl's death. Strangely, it wasn't so infectious when I read this book for the first time in Chinese. Maybe it's because the translation isn't very good. Maybe it's because reading is more emotional than written words. Karen Chilton did a very good job in mimicking various accents and tones.--Have read Chinese version a few years ago and reread in the original in the form of audio book while commuting. Listening Kaye's work is quite amusing in a different way from reading, but I imagine this book is probably more suitable in audio form than The Far Pavilions due to the rather innocent tone of Hero.For yeas since I last read Trade Wind, I still couldn't fathom the way Hero acts and thinks and how she ignores her surroundings insisting what she thinks right. Innocence is perpetually a myth to me.

  • Jan
    2019-02-27 08:50

    The best thing about this book was the colorful and descriptive history of the island at that time. I enjoyed that part of it, and much of the adventure at the beginning of the story. The love story, however, was disappointing and unsatisfying, in my opinion. Whoever heard of a moral woman ( which this main character was)strong self image ( which she had) choosing between two rapists, and marrying the one who had actually raped HER? Sorry, I don't buy it.

  • Juliana
    2019-02-28 06:08

    Starting off on a strong note, I found it virtually impossible to put down. The plot itself is captivating, while the characters are brought right off the page. Hero (ironically named) is very easy to relate to. Who knew Therese was such a skunk? When Clayton's true character was revealed by Rory, I was quite shocked. Here I was thinking Clay loved Hero (and only Hero)...tsk tsk tsk. Maybe I'm just too trusting of characters in books such as this, but shame on him. This book had four major "parts" to it. 1)Hero's arrival to Zanzibar, and her first meeting Rory. My rating: 10/10. 2)The rebellion of Bagrash. My rating: 9.5/10.3)The attack of the Gulf pirates, Zorah's death, and Hero's kidnapping.My rating: 10/10.4) Rory's time in jail, the cholera epidemicMy rating: 10000000/10.This is truly one of those books that you physically and mentally, can't put down. A must read for everyone. The ending was quite satisfying. Some characters had a true change of heart, while others came back to reality. Pure brilliance.

  •  ☆Ruth☆
    2019-03-06 09:57

    This is one of those books where you feel like giving the heroine a real good smack! In fact nearly all the women in this historical romance are portrayed as silly, gullible and incapable of rational thought processes. Having said that, it's a book full of romance and exotic locations, and the author has incorporated interesting historical events. The attitudes to slavery are brutal and disturbing but representative of the age. I think that if I had read this in my late teens or early twenties I would have been entranced - nowadays I'm a little harder to dazzle but it was still a good read and I would rate it 3.5 stars.

  • Virginia
    2019-03-04 04:54

    Could have been an ok book IF IT WASN'T FOR MAKING THE MAIN LOVE INTEREST A RAPIST. I'm sorry but no, I can't get past that. I don't care if he claimed he loved her all along, he raped her. I just could not get on board with this. Did not finish.

  • Diane Lynn
    2019-03-17 10:10

    Loved this reread as much as the first time.

  • Michelle Dee
    2019-03-16 08:44

    This book was entirely not what I suspected yet I loved it anyway. Eventually. Trade Wind was a slow read for me. I can’t remember the last time it took me six weeks to finish a book. And it wasn’t that I was putting it aside to read another book when it started to get dense (which I often do), I just read it sparingly in my free time, slowing chipping away at its many pages. For most of the read, I was impatient (with both the characters and the plot) and waiting for the real action to build. I was wondering when Hero would grow the fuck up and when Rory would fall the fuck in love. I’d gotten halfway through and they’d barely even spoken after their initial encounter. But I kept reading because despite the fact Hero was a snobby, naïve bitch, I knew she had so much potential in her and I wanted so badly to see it eventuate. I also knew that Rory, of course, had a heart underneath all the dark, cynical mess and it was so rewarding to see that slowly revealed. When their relationship kicked up a notch in the last quarter of the novel, I was finally engrossed – staying up until 2am on a work night kind of engrossed. The way that ended, the way they happened…it made me sigh with happiness. Despite the (view spoiler)[violence and wrongness of it (hide spoiler)], I couldn’t see it happening any other way. I will have to say though, for those who have read the book or have concerns about rape in books, (view spoiler)[I wasn't entirely happy with the way that sequence was portrayed, even though it worked out for me in the end. Hero did feel violated and she did feel used and as though her body wasn’t even hers anymore after having been raped by Rory. I was glad to see that Kaye didn’t skimp on those details or those feelings that Hero would naturally experience after rape. But, regardless of how initially attracted Hero was to Rory, I found it a stretch that she fell in love with him so quickly after that occurrence. When she was returned to the Consul, she was a rightful mess – completely out of sorts. However, after talking to Clay and realising she loved Rory, she never seemed to think of that occurrence again or feel wronged by it as she should have - only aroused, for crying out loud. Just because she loved him shouldn’t mean he should not be held accountable for what he did to her by her, not by irate Englishmen who wanted an excuse to arrest him. So while I obviously wanted them to end up together, I would have liked more time spent on the aftermath of her being raped by him. End rant and my only real issue with this novel. (hide spoiler)]The best part about this novel, however, is not the romance or relationship between Hero and Rory, though that did fascinate me. It really is the setting of the novel itself. I’ve never thought of Zanzibar before; never thought of its place in history, its involvement with slavery. I’d actually never really thought of the world’s involvement in slavery, to be completely honest. As an Australian inundated with Western – mostly American – media, I feel like a lot of the focus is on America, on the cotton plantations and the too-often-horrible treatment the slaves received in the South (though I’m sure they also received horrible treatment in the North too). A little bit of focus is on the slaver ships and that horrible journey, but a lot of the atrocities focused on are what happened to slaves that were born into the life in America, not brought over on slaver ships. That is what I have encountered as I watched movies and read books about slavery, a subject which has always interested me. I never thought to look further down the chain, to where it started in Africa. I also never thought to think of the rest of the world’s involvement in that terrible practice and trade. Trade Wind expanded my historic world view by simply pointing out the enormity of the problem of slavery. You felt the hopelessness and helplessness of those who wanted to help – Daniel Larrimore, Hero, even the British Consul – because the problem was so large, so convoluted and complicated it would take years to unravel. And it did. Slavery is not unravelled in this novel. Hero doesn’t even make any leeway in her quest to help rid the whole world of slavery. She, instead, ends up doing more harm than good throughout most of the book, only to barely help nurse sick natives in the end. But she doesn’t help with the issue of slavery at all. She actually just (view spoiler)[goes off to England with Rory instead, deciding it’s best to fix her own backyard before she tries to fix another country...even though English isn't her country of birth either. (hide spoiler)]To me, that ending and Hero’s complete and utter inability to help just demonstrated the daunting enormity of slavery. As Rory pointed out many times, African tribes sold their neighbours just to make a bit of money because in that environment it really was survival of the fittest. Many captured slaves were resigned to their fates and didn’t even know what to do with their freedom when it was occasionally given to them because that was their world – it was harsh and it was unforgiving. All they could hope was that they’d survive the unspeakably horrible conditions of the slaver boats and end up at a decent location with a decent owner. Even the French land owners and government were underhandedly promoting the slave trade through Zanzibar and other areas to further their own financial means. It really was a worldwide problem, not just limited to America, and it took many years for the trade to diminish and lose notoriety. Perhaps the most haunting and disturbing aspect of the information Trade Wind imparts is the realisation that slavery is by no means completely eradicated and the racism it bred is alive and well, just hiding behind thin veneer of social acceptance and civil rights.So the best thing about Trade Wind isn’t the romance, though that was natural and sweet. It wasn’t the full-bodied development of all the characters, even though that was expertly executed. It wasn’t the slow-building plot, which was well-thought out and climaxed spectacularly (the image of a disease-ravaged, deserted city is a striking one). It really was the backdrop, the way Kaye fit Zanzibar into the rest of the world, the way she dealt with slavery – not as the main focus (the plot hardly focused on it at all) but that slavery was always there, always present and completely integrated into the daily lives of every character in the novel, so much so they hardly realised the double-standards by which they were living and how hopeless they’d really be without it. Also, the subtle exploration of the Arab and Muslim culture in Zanzibar is well worth reading and pertinent today with all the political furor surrounding Muslim extremists. It serves as a good reminder that not all followers of Islam are extremists, but peaceful practitioners of their religion, and Western culture is not always best, does not always know best, and cannot fix the whole world. This is demonstrated perfectly in the following quote spoken by Nathaniel Hollis, Hero's uncle and the American Consul to Zanzibar. It's my favorite from the novel. It struck me that what was said over fifty years ago about a time hundreds of years ago is still extremely relevant today."It is not our practice to meddle in the conduct or politics of other countries, or to become involved in their domestic disputes. We should strive to remain neutral; if not in thought then at least in deed. And to avoid any appearance of taking sides, because once we start doing that we shall find ourselves committed all over the globe. Committed, as the British are, to interference and responsibility, oppression and suppression - and war. The founders of our country and a great many of its present citizens were and are men who fled from interference and interminable wars. They wanted peace and freedom, and by God, they got it. But the surest way to lose it is by permitting outselves to get mixed up in the unsavoury squabbles of foreign nations."For these reasons, Trade Wind is definitely worth using up some of your quota of patience to read. It’s a marvellous book and will make you wonder just how far the world has come after all...

  • Jenny
    2019-03-01 04:50

    Trade Wind is one of those delightful books that you can tell belongs to another decade, just from the sentence structure and style of storytelling. I couldn't quite tell while I was reading whether the historical setting was meant to be a device to advance the story, or whether the main characters' lives were an opportunity to write about the political and social situation in Zanzibar. Yes - Zanzibar.Hero Athena Hollis (our heroine) is on her way to her uncle's family in Zanzibar when she manages to get tossed overboard in a storm and rescued by the despicable - yet dashing - captain of a slave ship. Once desposited with her relatives at the American Consulate, Hero, being a devout crusader against all manner of injustice, manages to embroil herself in dangerous local politics. Amid all rebellion and intrigue, Hero must also make a decision about a husband. There's Clayton, her uncle's step-son, to whom she has been practically engaged for several years... and of course, Rory Frost, the dashing captain who is decidedly not suitable.There's really no question about who Hero will ultimately end up with, though many readers will be horrified by her treatment at the hands of Captain Frost, who rapes her in response to the rape and subsequent suicide of his mistress - crimes laid at Clayton's feet. It's Kaye's treatment of this rape that really unsettled me. The act itself was not described, and only aluded to in vague terms. But Hero seems to understand why he does it, is not overly perturbed, and after a discussion with Clayton, ends up at least partially blaming herself. (If she had slept with Clayton, he wouldn't have needed to rape Frost's mistress, and none of it would have happened...) She is upset with Clayton, but still willing to consider him as a potential husband. And she forgives Frost without him ever offering an apology - as if he had nothing to apologize for. Highly disturbing all the way around. But despite all that, probably because of Kaye's skillful writing, it's difficult to be disturbed while in the middle of it all. I truly enjoyed the book, and was pleased by the ending, though it was certainly not without problems. I've already put another of Kaye's historical novels on hold, and am awaiting it eagerly.

  • Shelley
    2019-03-19 08:52

    This is one of my all time favorite books for historical fiction. I read it every year or two.

  • Katy
    2019-02-24 04:09

    I enjoyed this book except for (view spoiler)[the face that our heroine falls in love with her rapist. That is an unacceptable message for anyone. (hide spoiler)]

  • Kelly
    2019-03-16 04:01

    I read this soon after reading my favorite MM Kaye book "Shadow of the Moon." I did like this when I first read it, but it hasn't aged as well. This history of Zanzibar is interesting, but the main character, Hero, is kind of an irritating fanatic. Also, as a grown-up, I find the idea of non-consensual sex leading to true love kind of distasteful.

  • Anneceleste
    2019-03-10 10:46

    6-stars. What am I going to do now that this book has ended? I don't feel like reading anything else at the moment.

  • Sarah Conner
    2019-03-12 05:47

    I read this book in high school (40+) years ago. Loved it then and I am not sure I have read many books I liked as well in all the years that followed.

  • Sali
    2019-03-24 04:10

    Read this first - then read Death in Zanzibar!

  • Jacqui Wood
    2019-03-09 02:43

    First book I read of this author. To say it was enthralling would be an understatement. Has power and passion with everything else thrown in! Brilliant read.

  • MashJ
    2019-03-06 04:58

    Emory Frost- probably my top hero ever despite the infamous scene.