9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars
Beautiful, moving and engrossing, 20 May 2009
This was the first Anthony Capella book I read and I knew nothing about the book or the author before reading it. I read it over one weekend and everything else was neglected. No housework got done, no university work got done, the children were left, more or less, to their own devices and dinner came out of the freezer!
The main character, Robert Wallis is, at the beginning a foppish dandy, seemingly without any redeeming features. He is offered a job he does not particularly want but ends up falling in love with the coffee merchant's beautiful, enigmatic daughter. He is sent far overseas to catalogue coffee and whilst abroad, becomes obsessed with a slave woman, Fikre. Angst, heartbreak and danger follow.
There are many strands to this story; womens' suffrage, slavery and emancipation, colonialism, 19th Century morals and double-standards and lesbianism. Above all though, it is a love story written with Capella's unparalleled verve and sensual descriptions.Flavours, tastes and sensations come alive. He truly paints pictures with words.
I would have liked to award this book 4 1/2 stars, only because I thought the epilogue was slightly disappointing;the book would have been better without it. As it stands I have given it four stars which is to take nothing away from a truly excellent book.If I could only keep one book...this could well be it...