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Trade Wind (Book Club Edition)

3.97  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,129 Ratings  ·  102 Reviews
The year is 1859 and Hero Hollis, beautiful and headstrong niece of the American consul, arrives in Zanzibar. It is an earthly paradise; it is also the last outpost of the Slave Trade. A passionate opponent of slavery, Hero is swept into a turmoil of royal intrigue, abduction, piracy, smuggling, and a virulent cholera epidemic. There in Zanzibar, the most cruelly beautiful ...more
Hardcover , 623 pages
Published 1981 by St. Martin's Press (first published 1963)
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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 isl
Trade Wind is, bar none, my favorite book...period.

I first read it when I was 16 years old, and now I'm 46. 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 stro
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
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 woman, and all that, and also because I promised myself I wouldn't pick up another nov
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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 g
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 th
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
Nov 27, 2014 Misfit rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just as awesome the second time around.
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)
Dec 11, 2014 Jaima rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 histor
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 d
Amy Hsiao
Nov 25, 2014 Amy Hsiao rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 K
Sep 07, 2014 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 01, 2011 Jan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 03, 2010 Juliana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to Juliana by: Heather
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Diane Lynn
Jan 05, 2015 Diane Lynn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Loved this reread as much as the first time.
Michelle Dee
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 ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 02, 2010 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all M.M. Kaye's fans
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 fu
Nov 24, 2014 Kathy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book except for (view spoiler)
Aug 09, 2012 Shelley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my all time favorite books for historical fiction. I read it every year or two.
Three stars because well-written and enjoyable to read but My God! there are some serious issues in this book which made me decide on a two-stars rating. Beware spoilers!

First,the rape was pretty badly plotted in order to make it an acceptable part of the romantic plot. It's logical considering the two characters but unnecessary to the story and a little sadistic, and even sadomaso, on the part of the author. What's more, there's another rape of a local girl by a white character and that's wholl
God...this is a total guilty-pleasure book. I read this when I was a teenager and just recently found a raggedy copy of it. The corner was torn (eaten?) off and it feels vaguely grimy. I don't know if it's any good or I just like it for nostalgic reasons or pleasure you derive from something that is familiar to you. (I feel the same way about the music of Melanie, those "Push-Pop" ice-cream things and corduroy pants, BTW)

In my defense, the cover has NOTHING to do with the story. The heroine isn'
Aug 22, 2007 Kelly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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.
Jacqui Wood
Sep 01, 2015 Jacqui Wood rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sarah Conner
Feb 11, 2013 Sarah Conner rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 27, 2011 MashJ rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Emory Frost- probably my top hero ever despite the infamous scene.
Jul 24, 2008 Sali rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this first - then read Death in Zanzibar!
Jan 27, 2014 Bt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was certainly well-written and kept me turning the pages, but it's hard to say how much I actually enjoyed it. It has just occurred to me that there are two kinds of can't-put-it-down books: the ones where I want to know what happens and the ones where I'm enjoying every second of the ride. And I guess Trade Wind was more the first. I was certainly immersed in the story and it very much came to life, but... I don't know. At any given moment, I had issues with where the story was going. Probab ...more
Jaime Contreras
Okay, this was read on a dare by my friend. I could do without some of the syrupy and heavy-handed romance between Hero Hollis (the young and naive heroine) and Captain Rory Frost, a slave trade captain but the revelations of the last slave trade route in 1859, the society and culture of Zanzibar was very good. Miss M. M. Kaye, the author does a wonderful job in creating Ms. Hollis, a headstrong niece of the American Consul to Zanzibar. I found this novel capable of taking one on a journey of a ...more
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
The Far Pavilions...: Trade Wind Chapters 27-31 53 23 Dec 23, 2014 03:23AM  
The Far Pavilions...: * Background Information 31 25 Dec 22, 2014 02:37PM  
The Far Pavilions...: Trade Wind Chapters 16-20 13 13 Dec 15, 2014 11:06PM  
The Far Pavilions...: Trade Wind Chapters 11-15 33 17 Dec 15, 2014 11:01PM  
The Far Pavilions...: Trade Wind: Final Thoughts 25 20 Dec 10, 2014 03:37PM  
The Far Pavilions...: Trade Wind Chapters 35-40 and Postscript 17 17 Dec 09, 2014 07:04PM  
The Far Pavilions...: Trade Wind Chapters 1-5: 41 18 Dec 03, 2014 08:30PM  
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M. M. Kaye (Mary Margaret) was born in India and spent her early childhood and much of her early-married life there. Her family ties with the country are strong: her grandfather, father, brother and husband all served the British Raj. After India's independence, her husband, Major-General Goff Hamilton of Queen Victoria's Own Corps of Guides (the famous Indian Army regiment featured in The Far Pav ...more
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