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3.92  ·  Rating details ·  745 Ratings  ·  55 Reviews
Follow the extraordinary journey of Jemimah Lawley, a proud English heiress, as she makes her desperate escape from brutal captivity across the windswept tracts of Central Asia to Witchwood Hall, her ancestral mansion.

With no resources but determination and a resilience born of her years of suffering,
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Published November 1st 1989 by Ulverscroft Soundings Ltd (first published 1984)
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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
I've got some GR friends who are big Madeleine Brent fans, and I bought Golden Urchin several months ago and really enjoyed it, so I was excited to see that my local library had a couple more of her (his*) books, which are historical romance/adventure books written in the 70's and 80's.

Stormswift starts out with a bang: Jemimah Lawley is a young woman whose parents were killed, 2 1/2 years before the book begins, in the Kabul, Afghanistan massacre of the British of 1879 (shout-out to The Far Pav
In my antique painted cabinet I have a shelf for books to "keep." This will go there.

I love the turns and twists and surprises in Brent's books! There is an interesting contrast between the way he writes and the storyline. The writing is understated while the events are not and may even be shocking. Not a lot of dramatic description but somehow it works. I had the same feeling when I started Golden Urchin by this author. This is a bit dry...but then, I quickly became completely immersed and real

This could very possibly be Madeleine Brent's best book... I'm still deciding, but it a close call with Golden Urchin.

I loved this book completely and unlike Moonraker's Bride that had me wanting more interaction between the hero and heroine, this book was perfect. I can't think of anything I'd like to change, other than giving absolutely every character I liked a perfectly unrealistic happy ending. Also, I liked this hero more than the one in Golden Urchin.

From reviews, it seems a lot of peop
Another thoroughly enjoyable adventure by Madeleine Brent.

In this story our heroine escapes the massacre of Kabul (1879) which killed her parents only to be kidnapped and sold to a tribal chief, Deenbur. On learning of the chief's plan to trade her for another wife, she plans a great escape. An escape that surely would have failed if not for the help of a mountain trader, Kassim. What follows is an exciting 500 mile trek across Afghanistan to possible freedom...

I won't go any further in describ
Sep 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Adventure tale with widespread location and occupation is a far more interesting read than the current fare in this related genre. And the character development for the protagonist and at least 5 or 6 other characters is incredible. In conversational tone, and at other times of transition, it almost would remind you of the "English novel of manners" of the more literate tomes of this late Victorian era. It is a romance only in a far wider sense of acknowledging that our heroine will likely want ...more
Jan 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book moved slowly - there's a lot of history. It starts in Afghanistan, [not quite sure when but definitely a long time ago] and ends in England.

The font was small, which means I was easily distracted, [and constantly]. The plot moved rather slowly in the beginning, but once I hit that halfway mark the story just jumped out at me and I couldn't stop reading.

Major plot twist, any guess I might have had was totally tossed out the window...on fire, haha. It was a crazy ride, and I am glad that
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Very interesting historical fiction set in the late 1800s about an English girl in Afghanistan who is the only one to survive an attack on the British Mission, only to be captured and live as a slave for two years. She is given the chance to escape, and then her trouble begins. I really enjoy this author.
Erica Matthews
Jan 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another great story by M. Brent. I thought it was going one way, and it went in another direction altogether. Brent is great at developing strong heroines who face their difficulties with courage and determination. His heros aren't too shabby either - I fell in love with Caspar.
Apr 22, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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Mar 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love how the trauma of Jemimah is palpable without ever having been described in details. She's a great character - as are all of Madeleine Brent's leading ladies - essentially good, strong, self-reliant but flawed all the same. I also love that for so long from Jemimah's standpoint it is not a love story at all. It is her story, how she endures and grows. And then in the end there's love. The fact that it's (view spoiler) ...more
Jul 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really love her books. They are written very well sometimes the story drags on a bit but it all comes together in the end. No fowl language no bedroom scenes. Safe reading. I will read more if her books.
Oct 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting story. It kept me guessing for sure! Not my favorite of this author but it was good.
Anthony Harms
I don't often read gothic romance novels but not many of such novelists begin their books with their heroine piloting a sailboat through a Carribean hurricane or (in this case) practicing as a barefoot doctor in nineteenth century Nuristan. And that of course is because Madeleine Brent is the nom de plume for Peter O'Donnell, creator of Modesty Blaise. And all these women are, of course, Modesty in some way but not written with the care he put into his "own" books. Writing a "bodice ripper" allo ...more
E Wilson
Jul 22, 2010 rated it liked it
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May 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
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Mar 09, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gothic-fiction
Certainly not one of Madeleine Brent's (Peter O'Connell's) best stories. As some people mentioned, the first half of the story as much better, particularly the trek across Afghanistan and the horrible circumstance the heroine, Lalla, had to go through. The second half in England was a bit tedious, and all I wanted was for Lalla to be with Caspar, one of the two love interests. However, there was something missing in the chemistry between the characters, and I definitely think that Lalla ended up ...more
May 25, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Somewhere between a 2 and a 3. The main character was strong and easy to root for (her back story at the start involves surviving rape and other horrors--all off-stage--and her life doesn't get easier from there), and the story was engaging. It's an interesting adventure/character study, though there were some places where Brent could have drawn out the suspense more (more time with the main villain and the mystery of the stolen identities, less time with Punch and Judy maybe). As a romance, it ...more
Apr 14, 2009 rated it liked it
"Lalla" escapes from the massacre of the British garrison in Kabul. She spends 2 years as a slave to a Kafiri tribesman in Afghanistan and is rescues to return triumphantly to England--or so she thinks. But imposters have stolen her fortune and in her quest to figure out who she is, Lalla comes in contact with true evil. Evil because the person looks like an angel and seems genuinely kind--until she starts to pluck at your soul like a vampire to suck the life out of you. How she is saved from "S ...more
Jul 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
This book is more of a 3.5 than a 4. It's my least favorite Brent book. The characters blended well together but they weren't my favorite set. The ending was a little different than the normal formula so that was refreshing. I liked the heroin a lot and thought that her character development was the most interesting part of the story. The romance took second place to this. The two men in the story were interesting characters but I did not fall in love with either of them. And I didn't listen to ...more
Jun 27, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Maybe 2.5. I ordered this book sight unseen and was concerned about the contents because of the picture on the cover. Thankfully, the book inside did not match AT ALL the cover (I felt I had to go around reading it in a paper bag). The book was somewhat sweet, although I like my romance novels very focused on one hero and not a couple. It was hard to know who to "root" for. Not to spoil it, but the romance part left much to be desired. The adventure part was interesting. Not my favorite book by ...more
Stacy Brookerd
Aug 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
All of Madeleine Brent's books are easy, entertaining reads, sometimes just what you need. I will go ahead and say that I detest the "new" covers and descriptions. They are not in any way representative of the content of these books. All of the heroines begin the story in a foreign land through (usually) unfortuitous circumstances and the story involves them making their way back to England and "into their own". Stormswift is a favorite!
Aug 20, 2009 rated it liked it
I liked this book...didn't love this book. It was good in the fact that it wasn't as predictable as other books that I've read by this same author, which may be why I didn't like it as well either. I like this author because she's pretty accurate in her descriptions of the areas where the stories are set. In fact, some of the things that were mentioned, like food that the people ate, were also mentioned in Three Cups of Tea, which is a true story.
This novel is a little different from Brent's other novels. Usually, the girl starts out poor, then discovers she's from a family with money or something similar. In this case, she starts out wealthy, but loses it when she realizes someone stole her identity while she was held captive in Afghanistan.

I really like how Lalla/Mim has to figure out how to survive. And I like that the romance was unexpected.

Great book!
Apr 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
The harrowing escape of this prisoner of war through the mountains of Afghanistan is a great story line that is suddenly corrupted by a clownish turn of events that sort of ruined the whole novel for me. Oh well, Madeleine Brent (who is a guy!) definitely knows how to tell a story, albeit they are usually pretty unrealistic!
Varsha Seshan
Jun 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The story of a girl caught in a foreign culture, a foreign land, always excites me. So how can I not like Madeleine Brent?
And I'm always amused at the little author bio at the beginning of the book. Madeleine Brent. I know 'she' is one of the writers I can read over and over again.
For a real review:
I exhausted my energy writing that one!
Linda Orvis
Mar 16, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Adventure enthusiasts and armchair travelers
Recommended to Linda by: Vanessa H.
Shelves: historicals
Many believe this is Brent/O'Donnell's best novel. (See my review of The Golden Urchin to learn a little about the author) Stormswift is set in Afghanistan, Pakistan and England. There is much adventure, a love triangle, and, as usual, character development. Brent's books are a great way to learn of exotic lands and the customs of their people.
Misha Crews
Nov 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a great surprise! I thought I had read it before, but it turned out I hadn't. STORMSWIFT is another wonderful read from Madeleine Brent. It takes the reader from the wilds of Afghanistan to a traveling Punch and Judy Show, the white-pillared terraces of English nobility...and then back again. Would recommend this one to anyone who enjoys historical romantic suspense.
Jun 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
I thought that I had the plot figured out. I figured that this book whould read like the last Madeleine Brent novel, but to my surprise and delight it took turns that I never imagined. Great story of female heroin who is not afraid of anything.
Janis T
Jan 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Madeleine Brent has long been a favorite author. Her books are hard to put down. I'm currently re-reading Stormswift. It starts in the Hindu Kush with our heroine as a slave to Deenbur Pasha. Her escape and her life afterwards is very exciting. I highly recommend any of Madeleine Brent's books.
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Madeleine Brent is a pseudonym used by Peter O'Donnell.

Peter O'Donnell was born on 11 April 1920 in Lewisham, London, England, UK. He was interested in writing as a child, and began writing professionally at the age of 16. During World War II he served in the Royal Signals Corps, and was stationed in Persia, Syria, Egypt, the Western Desert, Italy, and Greece. After the war, he worked as a comic s
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