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4.4 out of 5 stars18
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 5 January 2001
This book is in the same vein as previous novels of Caroline Harvey: of intrepid English women surviving and falling in love in far flung corners of the world. This one is slightly different in that it is set in the twentieth century yet follows the pattern of being set in a former colony. Set during the Second World War in Malta this is a lovely story of love and survival in a historical setting. What I would class as educational easy reading!
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on 14 July 2008
Have just finished reading this towards the end of a two-week holiday on the outskirts of Valletta. It had been left in our rented apartment by a previous tenant; otherwise, I would not have chosen to read this type of novel. However, in the torrid heat of a July afternoon, I have thoroughly enjoyed it as an easy read, but also as offering good background detail to the history of Malta. Joanna has done her research: indeed one feels that she must have visited the island herself. The setting is backed up by everything we have read in the guidebooks and seen for ourselves. A previous reviewer has commented that the heroine would have had difficulty cycling up all the hills. What hills? Yes, there is a bit of one going up to Mdina, but, since we come from Scotland, it would constitute no diffculty at all!
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on 8 December 2001
This is the story of Lila Cunningham who was forced to move to Malta from pre World War 2 England to try and make a living for herself and her father. Gradually, she begins to get used to the locals and the local way of doing things when War breaks out. After the war, she is unsure of herself and wonders whether she ought to leave the island (and all its emotional baggage) to return to England or not.

Living in Malta gave me an added perspective on this book. I was not only able to identify with the places but also with the war stories that I used to hear on my grandpa's lap. It is light reading and very pleasant; Trollope does not have a heavy hand when it comes to writing and prefers to let the reader fill in some minor details. The only part which spoilt the book for me was when Lila was supposed to have cycled a fairly long distance to work and back - not entirely unbelievable if you go by distance (as non-Maltese readers would) but given the steep hills and the terrain that I know exists, it would be a tough exercise regime, first thing in the morning. Of course, perhaps under the duress of war, people did all sorts of abnormal things, but ...
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VINE VOICEon 20 October 2002
On the surface this looks like just such a novel. It even has the standard formula of princes and castles and what not. Why would I have even attempted this novel? My wife insisted that Caroline Harvey; Joanna Trollope was not mindless. O.K. so I was challenged to red this one.
Ha! I spotted the formula and as soon as Lila Cunningham hit Malta I figured out pretty much how it was going to end. A curious thing happened. By then I was hooked and had to go on. There were many details that I did not guess. Unlike most formula books that try to hook you on romance or those ones that have endless nonsensical descriptions, this book had the feel that it was going somewhere and only described what was necessary to tell the story.
After I finished the book I said "See it was a formula book." Why would someone want to read about some girl in Malta? It was pointed out that the setting is to depict a different lifestyle. This is not so much of an escape from reality, but a diversion of a different reality. Later you see that the castle and prince and even the Perrimans are the backdrop of real people that we run across everyday. Lila's situations and decisions are ones we may have to make. The real story is about Lila, her choices and consequences. The story implies that she grows up. Personally I think she changed but that does not constitute growing up.
Ayn Rand says that love is a reflection of your values as seen in the other person. You can see this as Lila's values changed, so has the target of her love. Ayn Rand also says that you should not just live for love. You should have a career and or a purpose beyond love. Lila and others discover this throughout the novel. So this novel leaves you with many after thoughts.
Well done Caroline Harvey.
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VINE VOICEon 7 September 2008
On the surface this looks like just such a novel. It even has the standard formula of princes and castles and what not. Why would I have even attempted this novel? My wife insisted that Caroline Harvey; Joanna Trollope was not mindless. O.K. so I was challenged to red this one.
Ha! I spotted the formula and as soon as Lila Cunningham hit Malta I figured out pretty much how it was going to end. A curious thing happened. By then I was hooked and had to go on. There were many details that I did not guess. Unlike most formula books that try to hook you on romance or those ones that have endless nonsensical descriptions, this book had the feel that it was going somewhere and only described what was necessary to tell the story.
After I finished the book I said "See it was a formula book." Why would someone want to read about some girl in Malta? It was pointed out that the setting is to depict a different lifestyle. This is not so much of an escape from reality, but a diversion of a different reality. Later you see that the castle and prince and even the Perrimans are the backdrop of real people that we run across everyday. Lila's situations and decisions are ones we may have to make. The real story is about Lila, her choices and consequences. The story implies that she grows up. Personally I think she changed but that does not constitute growing up.
Ayn Rand says that love is a reflection of your values as seen in the other person. You can see this as Lila's values changed, so has the target of her love. Ayn Rand also says that you should not just live for love. You should have a career and or a purpose beyond love. Lila and others discover this throughout the novel. So this novel leaves you with many after thoughts.
Well done Caroline Harvey.
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VINE VOICEon 7 August 2013
Someone recommended this to me as I have a brass dolphin door knocker which came from Malta - as per the title of the book. It is about a girl and her father who are compelled by financial reasons (mainly father's improvidence) to leave the country and go to Malta just as war is about to break out. The facts of the war are pretty much ignored in favour of a fairly drivelling romantic yarn. I am not surprised Joanna Trollope wrote this under another name: it is not worthy of her and definitely not a literary piece. A potboiler.
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on 29 October 2011
This book was recommended to me just before I set off for a holiday in Malta. It arrived in plenty of time for me to take with me and was in very good condition for a used book. I read it whilst on holiday and was able to picture the places mentioned in the book thus very much enhancing the enjoyment of the story.
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on 22 June 2012
Having just had a holiday in Malta I was keen to read this book. Found it interesting and brought home to me just how much they suffered in Malta during World War Two. It brought the country to life again for me and found the storyline interesting even if predictable.
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on 30 May 2013
About to move to Malta, I though this might give me an insight and background to the island. Saw it on sale at 'The Malt Experience' in Valletta on a previous visit. I've enjoyed reading it an will explore some of the areas it describes once I get there.
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on 1 January 2013
Having lived in Malta for two years in the sixtys, while serving in the navy, I could picture in my mind all the places mentionrd in the book. Malta has changed dramaticaly since then and will be great when they get it finished!!
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