A mysterious pendant. A sinister suitor. And an epic chase to the Edge of the Map... 1706. The rival Dutch and English East India Companies sail the world s oceans, bringing back exotic treasures and tales of fantastical lands. In coastal Hollyport, Margaret faces a terrible choice: to abandon herself to a marriage that could erase her very soul, or to risk all aboard a shA mysterious pendant. A sinister suitor. And an epic chase to the Edge of the Map... 1706. The rival Dutch and English East India Companies sail the world s oceans, bringing back exotic treasures and tales of fantastical lands. In coastal Hollyport, Margaret faces a terrible choice: to abandon herself to a marriage that could erase her very soul, or to risk all aboard a ship bound for dangerous waters. With her betrothed husband, the sinister Mr Van Guelder in pursuit, Margaret embarks on a journey like no other: where pirates, flying islands and secret empires await; along with unexpected friendship from troubled young nobleman Taro, whose estate holds surprises and sorrows of its own. But Van Guelder is never far behind, nor is the power of the mysterious lodestone round his neck, and Margaret will have to learn the true nature of suffering before she can ever be free....
|Number of Pages||:||291 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
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Silver Hands Reviews
Set in 1706 this is a unique mix of travel, fairy tales, adventures on the high seas, and a very scary suitor in the guise of Mr Van Guelder. Margaret(our heroine) fears Van Guelder will control her, body mind and soul, once they are married, so she decides she must escape, and so, with him in pursuit, her journey begins. Elizabeth has really done her research here & historical facts blend together with fantasy to produce an excellent adventure story. Loved it! Thank you to Goodreads and Elizabeth for this first reads giveaway.
Overall/Tl;dr3.5 stars. A very interesting book that reminded me of Gulliver's Travels, or something by Jules Verne. It's written in first-person from a female character's perspective. I'd recommend the book for anyone interested in similar literature, or age-of-sail history/adventure fans.Setting/World-buildingThe story begins in July, 1706, and the author's knowledge of the period is clear. The fantasy elements are very much in tune with Swift or Verne - magical lodestones, and flying islands 'off the map'. It's the magic of exoticism, which I thought worked well as an homage, but didn't really excite me.PlotPart adventure, part romance. Our protagonist moves through a lot of time and space in 300 pages. The over-arching drive behind this is escape from an undesirable betrothal, but her betrothed is not not so easily escaped. I struggled a bit with the adventure plot. It felt a bit forced, with this strange man targeting the main character inexplicably. I might have missed it, but I never quite did figure this out. I will say the transition from adventure to romance worked well, and I found my interest increase once it did.CharactersOur main character is Elizabeth, the daughter of a reasonably well to-do English merchant. She goes through quite a lot in the book (some of which actually might have been a little over the top) and her resilience certainly gained my respect. Her decision-making seemed occasionally questionable, but her youth made this feel real enough. By the end of the book, I was cheering for her.We meet a variety of other interesting characters on Elizabeth's journey, from learned doctors to Chinese pirate-lords to a Samurai Daimyo. Basically all of them bring something interesting to the table.For me the strangest character was Elizabeth's betrothed and nemesis, Mr. Van Guelder. I didn't like him, which is fine, but I didn't understand him. I suppose ultimately one doesn't need to understand, but considering the vast powers of this character, it felt like a bit of a missed opportunity not to make him more interesting.WritingI might have given the book a slightly lower rating were it not for the writing. It's efficient and polished, literary but approachable. More than anything this got me through any flaws in the adventure plot and makes the book worthwhile.Final thoughtsUltimately I want to see more from the author and enjoyed many things about the book. I'll also perhaps point out that I read the physical version, and it is a beautifully made/designed paperback, so well-done Top Hat Books.
There is plenty of scope in the genre-mix of fantasy-history, and Elizabeth Hopkinson has made the most of it, blending a Grimm fairy tale, elements of “Gulliver’s Travels” and the history of the East India Trading Company into an original and tender story. Expect pirates, kimonos, a powerful lodestone and storms at sea!
Romance laced with fantasy, set in the early 18th century, notably in England and Japan and on the high seas. Margaret, a 16-year-old, the eldest child of an English family involved in maritime trade, is about to be married, but something seems fishy about her fiancé -- and she runs away. Her adventures take her across the globe -- and up into the air -- ultimately to a happy ending. The story is exciting, the pace never flags. Well written, with lively, varied characters and an exceptionally vivid sense of place, both on land and at sea. The ending struck me as a "deus ex machina" that wraps things up too tidily, too quickly, leaving some key matters unresolved -- but otherwise, a fine story.
Silver Hands belongs to another of those genres that I’ve said ‘I don’t read’. Part historical and part fantasy it is a wonderful blend of characterisation and setting that reminded me very much of Gulliver’s Travels. The lands that Margaret (our heroine) visits on her escape from the threat of marriage to someone who would absorb her into himself, are many and very varied and her adventures keep the reader on the edge of their seat. Set in 1706, I really wasn’t sure I’d enjoy it, but I loved every bit of it. Elizabeth has a fabulous talent for blending historical fact and myth into a new whole and I’m looking forward to getting my hands on her next novel ‘Cage of Nightingales’, when it is published. This is definitely one to be recommended.
I'm not really the Fantasy fan. But as I love history, Elizabeth Hopkinson had me hooked from the first page with her lively account of life in a sea-side town and at sea somewhen towards the end of the 17th century, and further on in Japan. Examplary research that doesn't press on the reader or stifle the story.Also the predicament and courage of the heroine drew me in immediately. I could really feel with her as the sense of dread and grwoing danger seems to stifle her. And the story just begins with her daring escape...This is not only a book for Fantasy fans but for everybody who likes a thrilling, enchanting, absorbing read.