Isabella by Fiona Mountain
|Isabella by Fiona Mountain|
|Genre: Women's Fiction|
|Reviewer: Katie Blow|
|Summary: Fiona Mountain has combined historical fact and myth to re-tell the story of mutineer, Fletcher Christian who disappears following the mutiny on board the Bounty. When rumours emerge that he has returned to England, his long-lost love, Isabella wonders whether he will try to find her and if he does, will he want revenge for her betrayal or to be reunited after many years apart?|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 320||Date: July 2011|
|External links: Author's website|
The fate of mutineer, Fletcher Christian in the 18th century remains a mystery even today but Fiona Mountain has pieced together a dramatic and powerful story based on rumours and clues that Fletcher returned to England to be with his long-lost love, Isabella Curwen. Fletcher, the son of a bankrupt family and Isabella, the sole heiress of a huge fortune are prevented from marrying. Their relationship is manipulated by those around them and a young, naïve Isabella is forced to marry her cousin, John.
Feeling betrayed and knowing that his family's financial problems will mean he can no longer pursue his dream of becoming a lawyer, Fletcher joins the navy and is enlisted on the Bounty. Neither Isabella nor Fletcher is allowed to contact each other and it isn't until the shocking news of the mutiny many years later that Isabella finally hears his name again. A manhunt begins to seek out Fletcher, an alleged traitor and criminal, who is condemned by all who once knew him. Even Isabella doubts the innocence of the man she still loves and is left tormented and afraid, especially when rumours surface that Fletcher has returned to England.
Written through the eyes of Isabella, the novel follows her emotional and psychological battle as she comes to terms with her loss and heart-break and also her guilt at having walked away from Fletcher. The detailed insights from Isabella and the questions she constantly asks herself create a very emotional and poignant narrative, which I found particularly powerful at the end.
Mystery and suspense are sustained throughout the novel by the lack of information and the conflicting facts concerning the mutiny and Fletcher's disappearance. Mountain also skilfully uses the setting of the Lake District to intensify this mystery and suspense. She writes remarkable natural descriptions which accompany the very powerful and raw emotions of fear, loss, separation, pain and isolation to create a gripping read.
A sense of mystery and conflicting messages surround many of the characters and even after finishing the book I felt I didn't quite understand some of them. John, for example is described on the blurb as 'ruthlessly' setting out to win Isabella but ruthless is certainly not a word I would have used to describe him or his actions. But whether or not he really loves her is also unclear, especially when he uses her money to fund his political career.
The lack of dialogue between characters in some parts of the story is very frustrating, especially when the reader craves answers to the many questions which arise. However, Mountain does do a pretty good job of attempting to give satisfactory answers whilst at the same time maintaining a sense of mystery.
Whilst the story doesn't have quite as much as romance as I was hoping for, I found myself gripped by the beautifully-written and poignant tale of love, betrayal and reconciliation. The combination of fact and myth creates a very emotional and compelling read which anyone would be foolish to miss out on.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
Further Reading: You can read more about the mutiny which took place on the Bounty in John Boyne's Mutiny on the Bounty.
Like to comment on this review?
Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.