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Islands of Mercy


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An audacious novel about destiny and desire from the incomparable Rose Tremain

About the Author

Rose Tremain's novels and short stories have been published in thirty countries and have won many awards, including the Orange Prize (The Road Home), the Dylan Thomas Award (The Colonel's Daughter and Other Stories), the Whitbread Novel of the Year (Music & Silence), the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and the Prix Femina Etranger (Sacred Country) and the South Bank Sky Arts Award (The Gustav Sonata). Rose Tremain was made a CBE in 2007 and a Dame in 2020. She lives in Norfolk and London with the biographer, Richard Holmes. Of Islands of Mercy, Rose Tremain writes- 'This novel explores the primal and timeless human quest to find meaning in a life, an aspiration which engages people in wildly different ways across the globe. I chose two contrasting locations- the genteel city of Bath and the harsh island of Borneo and unfolded in them both stories of sexual entrapment, material striving, loss of love, untimely death and - through them all - the desperate and unending search for places of consolation and solace.' www.rosetremain.co.uk


A hell of a read - so emotionally sophisticated, so deft with shade and light, more absorbing than most fiction I've read this year -- Johanna Thomas-Corr * Sunday Times *
Terrific -- Louise Carpenter * The Times *
Another gratifyingly well-put-together work... Tremain's long sentences brim with a poised positivity...[and] add lightness to her fond depictions of these imperfect strivers -- Francesca Carington * Sunday Telegraph, *Novel of the Week* *
Subtle, illuminating and captivating -- Eithne Farry * Mail on Sunday *
A moving exploration of love and the sacrifices we're willing to make in its name * Good Housekeeping *
Over a distinguished literary career, Rose Tremain has traversed genres with her customary flair... in her portrayal of the ways in which individual longing and frustration unfold against the constraints of forces beyond our control, Tremain has long been one of our most accomplished novelists, and here is further confirmation -- Stephanie Merritt * The Observer *
An exhilarating exploration of love, life, loss and death... A thrilling and seductive story... Vivid and beguiling -- Rowan Mantell * Eastern Daily Press *
Rose Tremain gives Hilary Mantel a run for her money for the title of Britain's greatest living historical novelist... there are still few writers who can conjure up a version of the past that is so startlingly unfamiliar yet so convincing -- Charlotte Heathcote * Sunday Express *
An enjoyable page-turner -- Robert Douglas-Fairhurst * The Times *
A new book from Rose Tremain is always a cause for celebration. Her exceptionally well-crafted and deeply humane historical novels are invariably a joy and Islands of Mercy is no exception... A rich, rewarding and highly satisfying novel from one of our finest novelists. * Daunt Books *
Vivid, transgressive, explicit and kaleidoscopic -- Rose Shepherd * Saga Magazine *
Triumphant, and beautifully told... [Tremain] is one of the best novelists writing today -- Sara Collins * Guardian *
I loved it, and the images continue to haunt me months later. It offered me the perfect escape -- Rebecca Wallersteiner * Lady, *Books of the Year* *
[A] clever study of human dreams, desires and weakness -- Rebecca Wallersteiner * Lady *
A moving, gorgeously described book about human endeavour * Tatler *

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