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Caravan [Mass Market Paperback]

Dorothy Gilman
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 13 1993
"A lushly romantic adventure story set in the North African desert in 1914, told by the impeccable Lady Treal as she reminisces in her London town house about her decidedly peccable past...Well-written, expertly plotted, perfectly paced."
NEWSDAY
With her anthropologist husband murdered and their caravan stolen by fierce Tuareg tribesmen, Caressa's choices are death or a life of slavery. Concealing her dangerous beauty beneath the faded robes of an Arab boy, she embarks on the adventrue of her life, harassed by vicious nomads, slave traders and the envious witch doctor, Isa. Only a handful of carnival magic tricks stand between her and oblivion. Then she discovers an inner magic so mysteriously compelling that the desert people call her a sorceress. With it she will secure her freedom and discover the love of her life....

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

The author of the Mrs. Pollifax mysteries applies her talents to romance and danger in this entertaining tale of a young American woman's unexpected adventures in Africa during the early years of WW I. Raised in a circus by her widowed mother (the headless woman) and fortune-telling Grams, who teaches her to juggle and pick pockets, Caressa Horvath is sent to a Boston finishing school, which she leaves after she is caught lifting the wallet of world traveler Jacob Bowman. Capturing his heart, she marries him shortly before they embark for Tripoli, where they assemble a caravan and set off into the Sahara. They are attacked by fierce nomad Tuareg bandits, who kill everyone except Caressa because they fear her wooden finger puppets, made by Grams. A credible series of mishaps, trials and moments of courage keep Caressa alive as she and Bakuli, a captured Zambian youth, escape into the desert. Eventually they are taken as slaves; after helping Bakuli run away to freedom, Caressa is bought by a man who turns out to be a Scottish adventurer--and the love of her life. Encompassing betrayal, treachery, sorrow, heroism and ultimately reunion, Caressa's first-person story, begun in 1980 in order to inform her granddaughter of her background, offers sheer reading pleasure.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Born into a carnival family at the turn of the 20th century, 16-year-old Caressa Horvath finds her life taking a dramatic turn when she attempts to rob Jacob Bowman, a rich, eccentric anthropologist 20 years her senior. Nothing daunted by their unconventional introduction, he marries her, and they travel to Tripoli to explore the Sahara Desert. Nomadic Tuaregs attack their caravan but spare Caressa's life, launching her three-year adventure in the desert, where she befriends a young boy named Bakuli, gets sold into slavery, and eventually meets her great love, a wandering Scotsman named Jared MacKay. Gilman, noted for her Mrs. Pollifax mysteries, takes a slightly different direction here, producing a lively, satisfying novel of adventure, danger, and romance. A good choice for most popular fiction collections.
- Maria A. Perez-Stable, Western Michigan Univ. Libs., Kalamazoo
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing for Mrs. Pollifax fans July 10 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
If you are thinking of reading this because you like the Mrs. Pollifax books, forget it. It has plenty of description from North African countries, like some Pollifax mysteries, but the plot is so full of holes, it's laughable. I don't mind the slightly mystical parts but I do mind the ones that make no sense, i.e., why the widow of a wealthy man is penniless; why an ivory trader doesn't recognize an emerald; why the main character makes no effort to see her family again; and more towards the end that I won't mention.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Take this trip; it's a stunner! Dec 30 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Dorothy Gilman's Mrs. Pollifax mysteries have delighted me. I am late in coming to them. They have been out for years. But I love the pattern of suspense and the new cultural treats that are in store for her readers. I always learn in a Gilman book. And her sense of respect for other ways of living, of relating to God and one another, enrich the tales she gives us.
I recently gleaned the shelves of Half-Price Books and found a few of her titles I had not read, among them was Caravan. And it is a true jewel of a tale.
One feels a bit like this character, a carny child sent to finishing school, is historical, a veritable Unsinkable Molly Brown, and yet the story, as told in retrospect by Lady Teal, encompasses only a small part of a very rich life. And what a vibrant small part that is!
Caressa's survival in the stark desert life of the early 1900's is impressive, and Gilman's finesse in presenting a foreign world and its pecularities make for suspenseful reading beyond the norm. One thing that Gilman never does is shy away from the brutal and the violent realities of her character's situations.
In the primitive 1914 imprisonment that Caressa faces among the conquering Tuareg tribesmen, there are an amazing set of obstacles that just shouldn't have been lived through. No Indiana Jones character could out do Caressa's challenges.
Most beautiful of all are the endearing friendships that she makes with the unusual likes of a fellow slave, a black boy, Bakuli, and earlier with Mohammed, her Arab host in Tripoli.
Delightful endings wrap up Gilman's books with happily ever after as their due. But one is not disappointed with Lady Teal's surprise to readers. In fact, one should have guessed such an ending would be in store.
Typical Gilman in some ways, but very nice escapist reading overall. Brava!
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Format:Mass Market Paperback
Love story. Epic. Adventure. Travel essay. There are many aspects and genres Gilman's novel "Caravan" can be attributed to. Perhaps it is its emotional and physical range that makes the novel so appealing to so many readers. I myself had never read a Dorothy Gilman novel before, but knew of her series of books, such as "The Nun In The Closet" which I began to read shortly after finishing this book.
The number of books I read every year has slowly been dwindling due to unseen circumstances, but of the books I have read this year, I am most grateful that I chose to read Caravan over the rest. Gilman's style and prose, though well researched and pleasant to read, might lack a certain degree of complexity, but she makes up for it with a plot and cast of characters that is unrivaled, say that of the classic epics.
Yet, what I found so alluring and intoxicating of Caravan, was the scenery and montage she depicts so aptly and vividly, that I too crossed the frigid desert at night; I was there in Tripoli, smothered by the smells and masses of people; I shared the campfire of Tauregs beneath a sea of a million stars. Gilman is able to transport the reader in a way that is magical, allowing you and I to feel the sorrow, joy, adventure, and love felt by Lady Treal.
My greatest dissapointment ... finding The Nun In The Closet, my 2nd Gilman novel, mediocre in comparison to the wonderful story of Caravan.
Was this review helpful to you?
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Love story. Epic. Adventure. Travel essay. There are many aspects and genres Gilman's novel "Caravan" can be attributed to. Perhaps it is its emotional and physical range that makes the novel so appealing to so many readers. I myself had never read a Dorothy Gilman novel but knew of her series of books, such as "Nun In The Closet" which began to read shortly after finishing this book.
The number of books I read every year has slowly been dwindling due to unseen circumstances, but of the books I have read this year, I am most grateful that I chose to read Caravan over them all. Gilman's style and prose, though well researched and pleasant to read, might lack a certain degree of complexity, but she makes up for it with a plot and cast of characters that is unrivaled, say that of the classic epics.
Yet, what I found so alluring and intoxicating of Caravan, was the scenery and montage she depicts so aptly that I too crossed the desert at night. I was there in Tripoli, smothered by the smells and masses of people. Gilman is able to transport the read in a way that is magical, allowing you and I to feel the sorry, joy, adventure, and love felt by Lady Treal.
My greatest dissapointment ... finding The Nun In The Closet mediocre in comparison to the wonderful story of Caravan.
Was this review helpful to you?
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Love story. Epic. Adventure. Travel essay. There are many aspects and genres Gilman's novel "Caravan" can be attributed to. Perhaps it is its emotional and physical range that makes the novel so appealing to so many readers. I myself had never read a Dorothy Gilman novel but knew of her series of books, such as "Nun In The Closet" which I began to read shortly after finishing this book.
The number of books I read every year has slowly been dwindling due to unseen circumstances, but of the books I have read this year, I am most grateful that I chose to read Caravan over them all. Gilman's style and prose, though well researched and pleasant to read, might lack a certain degree of complexity, but she makes up for it with a plot and cast of interesting characters that is unrivaled, say that of the classic epics.
Yet, what I found so alluring and intoxicating of Caravan, was the scenery and montage she depicts so aptly, that I too crossed the desert at night. I was there in Tripoli, smothered by the smells and masses of people. And I finally returned to England, to reminisce the adventures, places, and people from my life in Northern Africa.
Gilman is able to transport the reader in a way that is magical, allowing you and I to feel the sorrow, joy, adventure, and love felt by Lady Treal.
My greatest dissapointment ... finding The Nun In The Closet mediocre in comparison to the wonderful story of Caravan.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A fabulous ride
If you like being captivated and lured away to exotic locales for breath-taking escapades, this book is for you. Read more
Published on Feb. 10 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars A great adventure!
I LOVE this book. If I could rate it with more than 5 stars, I would! It is a wonderfully engrossing tale of a girl who has the adventures of a lifetime in the African dessert. Read more
Published on July 20 2001 by Jennifer Miller
5.0 out of 5 stars Set aside the afternoon for this one
This is one of those books I couldn't stop reading...the kind that keep you up late at night. I enjoyed the "exotic" locale as well as the surprise twists and turns of... Read more
Published on April 12 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars Good enough to be read again and again!
This book is a departure from Dorothy Gilman's typical Mrs. Polifax stories, but if you've enoyed those, you're sure to love this novel. Read more
Published on Aug. 12 2000
5.0 out of 5 stars An Exciting Journey
This was an amazing book that kept my interest and intrique through this one woman's journey. Gilman wrote with such clarity that I believed that this woman lived and loved. Read more
Published on March 1 2000 by Jan Russell
5.0 out of 5 stars Dorothy Gilman's best
I have read all of the Mrs. Pollifax books at least twice, but Caravan remains my very favorite of all Mrs. Gilman's books, even though it is not one of the series. Read more
Published on Feb. 15 2000 by M. Peters
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Victorian era story ..
A small book, but very well done with an interesting and believable character, and a great surprise ending. Read more
Published on March 17 1999
4.0 out of 5 stars GOOD SUNDAY AFTERNOON READ
A little childish through the desert scenes, but pretty good overall. Finding herself taken captive, the heroine miraculously escapes several dangerous situations. Read more
Published on Dec 30 1996
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