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To All Appearances a Lady by Marilyn…
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To All Appearances a Lady (original 1989; edition 1992)

by Marilyn Bowering

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
363515,100 (3.44)3
To All Appearances a Lady is Marilyn Bowering's haunting, evocative debut novel and one of her most loved and memorable works. As Robert Lam sets off on his voyage up the coast of Vancouver Island, the last passenger he expects is a ghost. But when the spirit of Lam Fam--the woman who raised him--suddenly and mysteriously appears, the trip they embark on initiates a quest for the truth about a past both have been avoiding for too many years. Together Robert and Lam Fam relive a harrowing story that begins in nineteenth-century China and takes them on a journey through the South China Sea, across the Pacific to the shores of British Columbia and the dangerous, secretive labyrinth of the B.C. opium trade. There follows a rich and compelling tale of love and deception, greed and drugs--all set against a background of fascinating historical detail and the clash of transplanted cultures.… (more)
Member:ReadingGoddess
Title:To All Appearances a Lady
Authors:Marilyn Bowering
Info:Penguin Books Ltd (1992), Edition: New Ed, Paperback, 336 pages
Collections:Your library
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To All Appearances a Lady by Marilyn Bowering (1989)

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There's a tinge of chicklit about this creatively plotted book that employs the conceit of a boat voyage circumnavigating Vancouver Island and a ghost to tell its tale. There's a small dollop of the dreamy romance scene, but not as much as made it hard for this reviewer to finish, say, Diana Gabaldon's romance-infused series (instead, read Jack Whyte, fellers). That notwithstanding, a wonderful historical novel in a region of the world not over-displayed in fiction. ( )
  Muzzorola | Jun 29, 2010 |
Canadian novel that takes place in Victoria, BC from 1888 to the present. Interestingly, it gives historical tidbits about Victoria--such as a leper colony on D'Arcy Island; the Chinese immigration in the late 1800's and opium factories in Victoria itself, approximately where City Hall is now. ( )
  corgidog2 | Mar 27, 2006 |
Showing 3 of 3
I found myself rereading sentences, passages, whole pages, slowly consuming the words and the gorgeous details... Delicious.
added by GYKM | editMalahat Review
 
Bowering synthesizes time past, time present, and time-in-coincidence to create a boundless time and a boundless work of art.
added by GYKM | editThe Times Colonist
 
...[venturing] into the underworld of opium-trading on 19th century Vancouver Island...[t]his spiritual journey is full of fascinating historical detail.
added by GYKM | editThe Globe and Mail
 

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Marilyn Boweringprimary authorall editionscalculated
Dillon, DianeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dillon, LeoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To All Appearances a Lady is Marilyn Bowering's haunting, evocative debut novel and one of her most loved and memorable works. As Robert Lam sets off on his voyage up the coast of Vancouver Island, the last passenger he expects is a ghost. But when the spirit of Lam Fam--the woman who raised him--suddenly and mysteriously appears, the trip they embark on initiates a quest for the truth about a past both have been avoiding for too many years. Together Robert and Lam Fam relive a harrowing story that begins in nineteenth-century China and takes them on a journey through the South China Sea, across the Pacific to the shores of British Columbia and the dangerous, secretive labyrinth of the B.C. opium trade. There follows a rich and compelling tale of love and deception, greed and drugs--all set against a background of fascinating historical detail and the clash of transplanted cultures.

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With the death of his stepmother, Lam Fan, Robert Lam is finally relieved of all family ties, free to cast off and leave behind memories of a painful past. Guided by the ghostly presence of his stepmother, Robert's sea voyage along the coast of Vancouver Island becomes a harrowing journey across the South China Seas to the perilous underworld of British Columbia's opium trade. For Robert this return to the past is an opportunity to solve the riddle of his own identity. Who was his father? What caused his mother's early death?
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