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Trade Wind

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  2,829 ratings  ·  156 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, 553 pages
Published January 1st 1981 by St. Martin's Press (first published 1963)
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Gildacrow I've read her books. They are representative of the time period. I did not find them unsympathetic to the peoples of the countries. They certainly did…moreI've read her books. They are representative of the time period. I did not find them unsympathetic to the peoples of the countries. They certainly didn't elicit from me any sympathy for the British rulers. They were enlightening and entertaining. Colonialism is still a problem today. See Puerto Rico. Novels are a good way to educate people painlessly and stir interest. Many people know nothing about India or Madagascar. The novels are not meant to be serious history but they do give one some idea of how things were.(less)

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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
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
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 stro
Algernon (Darth Anyan)

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
“There’s sun in your hand, and wind and salt water. And rain…warm rain and an island full of black men…”
“Ye’ll sail halfway round the world to meet the work that is waiting for ye to do and the one who’ll help ye to do it…Ye’ll have a hand in helpin’ a power o’ folk to die and a sight more to live, an’ ye’ll get hard words for the one and no thanks for the other. Ye’ll lay your hand on gold past counting, but no good will ye get of it. And all your life ye’ll do what you have to do. Ye’ll make y
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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
Nov 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Historical fiction fans
Recommended to Tweety by: Hannah
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
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)
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
Christine PNW
Jan 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: vintage-women
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
Nov 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just as awesome the second time around.
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
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Aug 29, 2014 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
Jun 24, 2009 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
Sep 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Amy Chichi Hsiao
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
Aug 01, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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One way or another, all our houses are glass.

M.M. Kaye was a master of intertwining historical facts with her own more or less fictional stories and this way creating a magnificent historical fiction. And I mean not only well written and accurate historical fiction but terrific, stupendous, phenomenal. There were/are few such writers. I am out of real life when I read her book. I even neglect duties.

she did not believe that you could stop loving someone because they hurt or disappointed you—
Jan 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
After finishing this book, I'm having that depressing feeling that I get sometimes when I realized that I burned through all of a beloved author's books too quickly and now don't have any more of their work to look forward to. I know that Kaye also wrote some memoirs and whodunits, (and I'll probably check out the memoirs at some point but maybe not the whodunits since I've never been a huge fan of that genre), but I know that they won't be the same as her three incredible historical epics.

Trade Wind by M. M. Kaye is a lengthy historical romance with pirates, exotic locations, sultans and a cholera epidemic. If you enjoy epics and spending a lot of quality time with a story, this is a good novel for that.

After her father dies, Hero Ellis embarks upon a journey to the island of Zanzibar to be with her uncle, the American consulate at Zanzibar, his family and her bethrothed, Clayton. Hero is a headstrong young woman much concerned about the moral ills of the world and her current ob
Nov 27, 2016 rated it really liked it

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 t
May 06, 2008 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.
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
Jul 06, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: just-awful, dnf
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. ...more
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
Nov 23, 2009 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
(around) ~4~
Queer and engaging with some in/significant 'holes'.

If you want an in-depth story with a genius setting, beautiful descriptions.
If you want main characters with many flaws who do many wrongs and decisions but who develop slowly and violently, brutally, steadily.
With an exotic eastern story of acts of revenge, plottings and murders, harems, royal intrigue...
Historical fiction or an epic tale that is not a romance but a queer love story starring a morally ambiguous love interest you w
Jun 06, 2012 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.
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Retro Reads: Trade Wind: Final Thoughts 29 46 Sep 20, 2020 03:14PM  
Retro Reads: Trade Wind Chapters 27-31 54 54 Sep 17, 2020 02:34PM  
Retro Reads: Trade Wind Chapters 21-26 2 33 Sep 16, 2020 02:51PM  
Retro Reads: Trade Wind Chapters 16-20 14 34 Sep 16, 2020 09:34AM  
Retro Reads: Trade Wind Chapters 11-15 35 37 Sep 14, 2020 10:40AM  
Retro Reads: Trade Wind Chapters 1-5: 44 48 Sep 12, 2020 12:37PM  
Retro Reads: * Background Information 31 50 Dec 22, 2014 02:37PM  

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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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“Patriotism be damned. That whole concept is merely a combination of self-interest and sentimentality” 0 likes
“A man is not responsible for his ancestors, so why should he accept credit or shoulder blame for anything they did? Or, for that matter, be judged in advance by the fact that he happens to have been born on one side or another of some imaginary line? It’s an archaic and dangerous idea and it’s quite time it became outmoded, since it leads to a deal of trouble. People are people; black, white, yellow or brown. You either like someone or you don’t, and the bit of earth they were born on shouldn’t have anything to do with it or be allowed to influence your judgement in any way.” 0 likes
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