Madeleine Brent, ah, Madeleine Brent. So many of your books are based on the same thing – an English girl in a foreign land, falling in love with an Englishman under impossible circumstances. How is it that I love them all?
The power of the narrative just gripped me right through the book. A sense of peace always came with the eager anticipation of the next twist in the tale. I think that’s something I could probably say about all Brent’s works.
Is Stormswift exceptional? I don’t know. I want to say that it is because I was just swept away by the tide of the tale, poring over page after page even though I’ve read the book before. An English girl, sold to a pacha in Afghanistan, whipped into sexual submission, discarded as barren, adopted as a servant by a half-Greek-half-French doctor in captivity… All this happens even before the book has begun. Jemima Lawley, the English girl, thinks of herself as a coward time and time again, simply because she does not have the strength to face up to all her emotions. She is a coward because she simply accepts everything knowing that if she lives the trauma, she will go mad. And she is most certainly a coward because she wants to run away from being sold to yet another king. Emotions run high right through the book, making your fingers and toes grow cold – and then making you laugh at the most unexpected moments.
I’m sure I’ll read it again. And enjoy it again. And again.