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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

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.

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. 

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.   

Jane’s quest for an altered life and Sir Ralph’s endeavours become locked together as the story journeys across the globe - from the confines of an English tearoom to the rainforests of a tropical island via the slums of Dublin and the transgressive fancy-dress boutiques of Paris.

Islands of Mercy is a novel that ignites the senses and is a bold exploration of the human urge to seek places of sanctuary in a pitiless world.

©2020 Rose Tremain (P)2020 Penguin Audio

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Katie McGrath Is Perfect

Katies voice is perfect and calming, she could read me the back of a shampoo bottle and it would entrance me and be the best thing id ever heard

11 people found this helpful

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Islands of Mercy - Is Right

I listened to (and read) this novel avidly in large chunks. I generally enjoyed it, though finally thought that the novel ended without the key story-line being given the space and attention that I felt it warranted. I am going to have to re-listen and re-read the last pages dealing with the main female character to see if I have misread and so adjust my view. To suggest doing this shows that I take the novel seriously. I am a fan of Rose Tremain, really. In ideas, plotting, language, narrative skill, characterisation etc. etc. she is always a force to be relied upon. As a male reader I felt a bit battered by the end of the novel as male characters were so often weak, misguided, arrogant, jealous or downright unpleasant. All the 'fizz' is with the women. As to the narrative performance I'm sad to say that I felt a bit underwhelmed. It felt too confidential and I wanted a bit more. I liked the idea of Rose Tremain's islands of mercy; rather than life's rich pageant.

8 people found this helpful

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Brilliant

Although many people have been drawn to this book because it had been narrated by Katie Mcgrath, who has done an impeccable job, the writing of this exceptional author I second to none, and I would happily recommend it.

6 people found this helpful

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.

The best thing about this book, except it being a historian lesbian love story, is that Katie Mcgrath narrated it and I'd very much enjoy to listen to more books narrated by her.

5 people found this helpful

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Such a disappointment. Both the story and narratio

I am so disappointed. I was looking forward to this one. I am so fussy about literature and the last rose tremain book I listened to was good. This one however. I don't understand how this is the same author. The story line is so shallow and disjointed. The actual writing is empty and not at all engaging. And the narration well! Those voices are so unconvincing and amateurish sounding. I really persisted with it. I kept on skipping forward to try to find an entry into the writing because I know I get very deeply affected if I try to read inferior writing. This one just made me feel I was wasting my life listening to it. In contrast with Anthony Trollope s writing which I adore and could listen to forever.

4 people found this helpful

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YES

Yeeted myself into this book when i saw that Katie McGrath is the narrator. Absolutely worth it! One of the most beautifully books I've ever read/listened to.

3 people found this helpful

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Surprisingly good book

Narrator was my sole reason to get rhis book but it ended up being an excelent book!

3 people found this helpful

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Accents not credible.

I'm afraid I was put off by the over-the-top plummy tones of various characters which distracted me from the writing. Narrator's own Irish lilt was beautiful though!

2 people found this helpful

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Excellent!

I absolutely loved this book, and Katie McGrath's voice feels perfectly fitting for it.
Simultaneously heart-warming and heart-wrenching, with its multitude of characters, Rose Tremain has an excellent command of emotive language.
I will definitely be listening to it again and again.

2 people found this helpful

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  • KV
  • 15-10-20

Good

I like Rose Tremain's style of writing. Interesting characters. and descriptions of different lands. Good

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-10-20

Tremain and McGrath, amazing combo

Katie McGrath brough this book to life in such a magnificent manner! And she did left me speechless by her performance! I might have enjoyed this book as a standalone paperback, but waaaay less than this very version read by Miss McGrath! Anyhow, back to the book, this was the first book by Rose Tremain I have encountered but I did enjoy the plot, the characters, the prose, the way the writing ran smoothly... And, I like the book ending.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 18-09-20

AMAZING!

Its a greay story. I enjoyed it. I cannot get enough of Jane. And as for the narrator, would like to hear more of Katie McGrath.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 19-09-20

Fascinating

An enthralling story, beautifully written and narrated. The characters are very relatable, with their personal struggles, journeys and desires.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 17-09-20

La voz de Katie es perfecta!

La colaboración es maravillosa e impecable, sin duda vale la pena escuchar todas las horas que toma terminar el libro, y la historia tiene algo que te mantiene fácilmente atrapado.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Remy
  • 18-11-21

Amazing

Katie's voice is just so addictive, it's very soothing and wonderful to listen to. The story is also very good.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 31-10-21

Katie McGrath's superb voice redeems mediocre text

I am no fan of Rose Tremain in general, and this book was no exception; I found her characters paint-by-numbers unrelatable, her prose and plots bland at best (frankly, boring) and the parallel plots not drawn together by any thread worth contemplating. The reason I bought this book is one and one only, Katie McGrath's velvety voice, combined with crystal-clear enunciation. Wish you'd give this actress something better to read, one of the classics perhaps. She'd make a wicked Medea (even had her practice run at ancient Greek with her Merlin "dragon-talk")!

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 08-09-21

katie's voice. that's it, that's the review

bought this to listen to katie mcgrath's voice and had to read it twice to actually pay attention to the story. and I was not displeased with it! the changing of scenarios felt a bit confusing, but, in general, the book is more of a contemplation of different lives and people than a story with a beginning, middle and ending per se. I loved the characters and their unstable and dramatic natures, I loved the descriptions and the courage that the author had to go deep into any topic. it was great experience reading it.

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  • Lizomar Ribeiro JR
  • 27-08-21

In love

I'm listen so much, thanks Rose and Katie for this magnificent work. Her voice make me happ.

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  • Cliente de Kindle
  • 02-08-21

finally read this book

katie and her beautiful voice I love it so much, she's amazing, and the book was amazing too

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  • Landie1407
  • 11-06-21

A wonderful story

This was a wonder adventurous story.
I recommend the audio version as listening to Katie McGrath’s soothing voice is a treat. She brings all these complex characters alive.