For the seventh installment of The Alphabet in Historical Fiction which is hosted by the lovely ladies over at Historical Tapestry, I decided to go with Tom Gilling. The Adventures of Miles and Isabel was recommended to me by a librarian friend a while ago and I've been meaning to read it, and this challenge gave me the chance to. The story is set in the late 1800's and early 1900's Australia.
Here's the blurb for The Adventures of Miles and Isabel:
In a crowded playhouse in 1856 Sydney, Australia, two spectacular lives are about to start. During her scandalous turn as Hamlet, a heavily pregnant (an unmarried) actress unexpectedly goes into labor onstage, shocking the audience. Indeed, one patrician spectator - who is also with child - is so moved that she too goes into labor. The babies born that night are Miles and Isabel, two dreamers destined to defy convention - and gravity.
The Adventures of Miles and Isabel is a delightful novel of true love in rough and tumble, turn of the century Sydney. A bestseller in Australia, it follows the separate but strangely converging lives of these two young daredevils. Miles becomes the subject of a sideshow levitation act while Isabel gamely foils her mother's attempts to marry her off to a rich boor. Fearless as she is, Isabel is briefly famous as a hot-air balloonist. Miles develops his own fascination with flight ans, when he finally meets captivating Isabel, is preparing to risk his life by testing his first flying machine. United by the dream of flight - and true love - the couple attempts to rise above the obstacles of class and physics that stand in their way.
With any suggestion that I get from my friend the librarian, I'm always a little skeptical about starting it. We have different tastes in books but occasionally we agree on some.
Once I began reading this book I did not want to put it down. It was quick paced, but you had to make sure you paid attention because every once in a while there's something that make you go "what was that". I love when books have little twists and turns, it keeps the reader attentive. Or maybe it's just me...
I enjoyed the way that Miles and Isabel's lives were always intertwined. And how similar they were considering that they came from two different backgrounds. And that's what made their connection so unique and interesting. The secondary characters weren't so shabby either, my favourite was Balthasar/Wolunsky he was a great story teller but he seemed to be sad and lonely.
I was a little disappointed with ending. It felt like it left me hanging and I want to know where the real ending is.... Anyone?
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The Adventures of Miles and Isabel by Tom Gilling (4.5/5) Historical Fiction; Published: Atlantic Monthly Press (2001); New Author; Alphabet Historical Challenge (7); Books 2010 (32);