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Not Yet Drown'd: A Novel Paperback – September 17, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Reprint edition (September 17, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393333558
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393333558
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,850,850 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Kingman's stately debut historical stars Catherine MacDonald, a young widow in 1822 Edinburgh who is left with the care of Grace, the child from her husband's previous marriage. Just before she is unexpectedly visited by a representative of Grace's uncle, who wishes to take Grace to relatives in Virginia, Catherine receives a mysterious package from her twin brother, who reportedly drowned the previous year in India, containing tea, a fine shawl, and a sheaf of bagpipe music including a tune tantalizingly retitled "Not Yet Drown'd." Circumstances seem designed to compel Catherine to India-to protect her stepdaughter and to solve her brother's mystery-accompanied by her Indian and African maids, the latter an escaped slave. The journey has all of the era's fascination with the Orient, with a dash of the romantic, a little deceit and a central puzzle to keep things interesting. Though things move slowly, Kingman renders period detail-tea figures largely-with attentive care.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

A lyric, romantic first novel. -- Library Journal

Kingman tells a swashbuckler of a story...[her] flashes of wit enliven an engaging yarn. -- Boston Globe

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Daniel A. Scott on September 9, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book is slow. It presents lots of different, interesting, and unique information on a variety of different subjects that were of interest in the 1800's. The author obviously spent lots of time researching and adding these fine little details into the story at appropriate places. The story itself was well written and ended just as well. But it took forever to get to that end. The author just kept the book interesting enough to go on to the next chapter. I almost gave up on it several times, but decided to push on through. That's the only downside of the book and why I only give it three stars. It was just slow and added almost too much information in such a short book to give it the credit others reviewers have.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Luan Gaines HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 5, 2007
Format: Hardcover
In 1822, newly-widowed Catherine MacDonald is settling with her stepdaughter, Grace, into her brother, Hector's Edinburgh home. Recovering from the accidental death of her husband, Catherine is also grieving for her twin brother, Sandy, drowned in the Indian monsoons of 1821. An accomplished bagpipe musician, Sandy's true calling was the cultivation of tea, her sibling convinced that tea could be grown not only in China, but in India. Unfortunately, Sandy runs afoul of his employers, the East India Company, and is assigned to the opium fields shortly before his death in the monsoon season. When Catherine receives a package, the address penned in her twin's hand, she begins to wonder why the body was never found and whether her brother could still be alive. The package contains a Kashmiri shawl, a sheaf of handwritten music for bagpipes, including one titled "Not Yet Drown'd" and an ornate box filled with what appears to be tea leaves.

Before Catherine can pursue her thoughts about Sandy's fate, more serious events transpire that threaten her security and that of eight-year-old Grace. Having traveled all the way from America, a woman arrives on Hector's doorstep announcing her intention to deliver the child to blood relatives in Virginia. Catherine refuses, unleashing the stranger's wrath and a promise to return with the assistance of the law. Although Catherine prepares to flee, she seriously underestimates the perseverance of this woman, who manages a great coup, plucking the hapless Grace from the family. There ensues a dramatic chase and attempted rescue, Catherine suddenly on board ship with her brother, Hector, bound for India, where he intends to test the innovations he has made to the current methods of steamship travel. And Catherine isn't alone.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Busy Mom VINE VOICE on May 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover
When one of my fellow book club members told me that everyone in the club was struggling with reading this book, I was kind of alarmed. I had too many other books piled up and I didn't want to be stuck with a dud of a book.

To my relief, it is one of the better fiction that I've read this year. It helped that I had a big chunk of time to devote to it since it is a slower-paced book, but it is so fascinating. It is so luxurious and tasteful. It is a long smooth ride into the past ... traveling from Scotland to India on a steam ship. It is informative about tea, a twin's longing to see her brother, a wife who misses her husband and more. It is just a sublime book ... much to my surprise. I did thought that the descriptions of the steam ship would be so boring, but it wasn't. Everything moved so smoothly, so freshly and so wonderfully. It was like a vacation of the mind.

The book is about Catherine who had received a message from her twin, Sandy, who was presumed drowned the year before in the monsoons of India. Catherine had just endured her own grieving of losing her beloved husband and raising her stepdaughter when the message came in a cryptic form of a song. Forced to leave Scotland in order to keep her stepdaughter, Gracie, she decided to go to India to see if Sandy was still alive. Accompanied by her older brother, Hector, who was also the designer of the steamboats, his partner Fleming, several other characters, a Hindu maiden and a runaway American slave. Their stories all entwined with Catherine's story ... no matter how small or large their stories were, they were just as interesting as Catherine's story.

As a reader, I was there along for the ride ... feeling the cool breeze on my back as the ship heads south to the equator ...
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By R & S T on October 10, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Are you craving exquisitely crafted language, erudition, mystery and adventure; beautifully drawn characters that are completely engaging? This is the book for you. By turns it is wise, funny, thrilling and learned. I highly recommend it.

This is a work of fiction that gets its facts right--you can learn a lot from it. I was drawn into the story and found it hard to put the book down. I enjoyed traveling with the main character through Scotland, India and back in time.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By kjkstar on September 23, 2007
Format: Hardcover
A fascinating and compelling read. Great characters. Superb writing. Tremendous cultural and historical detail. This book deserves a large and enthusiastic readership.
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Not Yet Drown'd: A Novel
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