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The Prodigal Son (Graham Saga) Paperback – 13 Jun 2013

4.3 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Paperback, 13 Jun 2013
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Product details

  • Paperback: 392 pages
  • Publisher: Matador (13 Jun. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780885741
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780885742
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.1 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,449,765 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

ANNA BELFRAGE was raised abroad on a pungent mix of Latin American culture, British history and Swedish traditions. For years she combined a challenging career with four children and snatched moments of writing.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
I loved this book, and the author's skill lies in the fact that she can make me care about a man I want to punch repeatedly in the head.

I find Matthew Graham an absolute joy to read, and at the same time I cannot understand how come Alex puts up with him, never mind shows every sign of enjoying his company. Master Graham is one of those principled, stubborn, honourable characters from whom history is made, and given that the bulk of the conflicts of this book come from his absolute inability to compromise (and, it must be said, the English soldiery's delight in provoking him, knowing that he doesn't do compromise) I would have throttled the man by about page 75.

However. He may be a howling menace, but he is admirable, and endearing, and fallible, and feeling, and about as "real" a 17th century Scotsman as it's possible to get inside the skin of. He isn't a paper doll in tartans, or a modern romantic hero transplanted to the past. He is what he is, he's a man with religious and moral principles of his time that are neither necessarily understandable nor sympathetic to a modern reader… but they are the attitudes that he would have had, and the author doesn’t shy away from making Matthew occasionally incomprehensible and unsympathetic. He makes up for it, in other ways….

I also like the way the author entwines the Graham family saga (and God knows that would put the Borgias to shame in places) with the wider political and religious issues of the time. It would be to easy to make Sandy Peden (and, indeed, Matthew, and Joan, to name but two) into caricatured zealots, and yet although their faith is sometimes incomprehensible to us, it's still accessible. We believe in them as people, even if they're people we don't necessarily agree with.
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Format: Paperback
The heroine of this interesting novel is a modern woman's woman, Alex Graham: a women who has fallen through time back into 17th century Scotland taking with her a love of cosmetics, chocolate bars and pool-side vacations. Being a resourceful girl, Alex devises ways round these absences by creating her own herbal oils and a natural swimming pool in a nearby burn. The concept of living out of one's time is dealt with convincingly. Alex has a modern take on what is going on around her, but also accepts and negotiates the difficiluties and dangers of the period, when there was almost none of the medical knowledge and basic education we take for granted. This is a heroine to respect, to admire and empathise with. So when tragedy hits we feel the terrible sadness and, like Alex Graham, want justice. Justice in those days, however, was in the hands of a few high-ranking males - something Alex cannot change.
The underlying theme in this novel is the limitations of real choice within the concept of 'free will'. Having not read any of the author's previous novels in this series, I do not know if Alex can choose to go back to her previous existence, but I suspect she would prefer to stay with her 17th century husband, Matthew, who despite causing her great worry through his religious allegencies, is in every way a wonderful husband. As a reader I wanted to know more about the origins of the relationship; how they came to fall in love. In many respects I wanted this novel to be a 'stand-alone' - it has a fascinating plot and convincing characters, but itseemed the author was holding back, not giving too much information - perhaps assuming her readers already knew the secondary characters and the established family situation. This is a great story, but it may be better to start at the beginning of the series.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The tale of Matthew Graham is both and sad and a happy one. The happiness is gained from the deeply abiding love he shares with Alex – a woman who originates from a time far advanced from his era of the 1660s. The sadness comes as a product of the turbulent times in which they are living. 17th Century Ayrshire, Scotland, is an unstable location to live in where religious persecution and incredible cruelty abounds, the factions of Roman Catholicism at odds with Presbyterian Christian doctrine. The well researched historical aspects shine through in this novel as Anna Belfrage portrays what it was like, on a daily basis, for the families who risked dying, or being mistreated, as a result of the principles maintained and the religious choices made by the man of the house.
The author plunges the reader into the situation where Matthew is torn between choosing to act upon his religious beliefs in helping outlawed preachers, some of these very good friends of his, and continuing to practise his religious observances which have been banned by the king. All of these friendly and supportive acts put his wife and family at serious risk of being punished along with him if he is caught in wrongdoing by the forces of the King and cause strife between him and his wife, Alex. There are many instances of this repeated in the novel, the problem of being detected a continuous one for Matthew Graham. He relents only a little when under pressure from Alex, who is essentially as trapped as he is in her own 21st Century influences.
There are some very tense and indeed some incredibly emotional moments during the long tale when events happen which are outwith the control of Matthew and Alex.
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