Aussie Book Review: The Trader’s Wife by Anna Jacobs

The Trader's Wife Anna Jacobs- The Trader’s Wife

 Format- Paperback

 Source- Review copy

 Publisher- Hodder & Stoughton (Hachette)

 Synopsis: Singapore in the 1860s is exotic and yet terrifying for a penniless Englishwoman, alone and vulnerable after her mother’s death. Too pretty to obtain a governess’s job, Isabella Saunders accepts an offer from a Singapore merchant to teach him English and live with his family.
Two years later Bram Deagan arrives in Singapore, determined to make his fortune as a trader. Mr Lee sees a way to expand his business connections and persuades Isabella to marry Bram.
Bravely, she sets sail for a new land and life. But the past casts a long shadow and together they face unexpected dangers. Will they find a way to achieve their dreams of a successful trading business?

 Review: The Trader’s Wife is the first book of the Trader Series which is a spinoff of the Swan River Series. I recently read Farewell to Lancashire and Beyond the Sunset in that series. Unfortunately I haven’t yet read Destiny’s Path and it seems a romantic connection that would be examined in the final book in the Swan River Series is touched on in the Trader’s Series (so kind of spoiled it a bit for me!). But that doesn’t matter I will still read Destiny’s Path shortly and enjoy finding out how the couple came to be.

Penniless and homeless in Singapore, Englishwoman Isabella Saunders takes a live-in job with Mr Lee and his family to help teach him English and therefore better his business transactions. Her living arrangements cause speculation about her reputation and when someone attempts to kidnap Isabella, she realises after two years with the family it is time for her to move on and leave Singapore.

Irishman, Bram Deagon arrives on the shore of Singapore after a voyage from Australia with the aim to make trade partnerships and purchase materials to take back to WA with the hope of opening his own Bazaar. Bram comes across the stunning red head Isabella and rescues her from the kidnappers. Mr Lee is very impressed by this young man and comes to the conclusion that he should marry Isabella and return to Australia with him. It is a marriage of practicalities albeit the underlying attraction between Isabella and Bram. Reluctant to marry someone she hardly knows, Isabella does agree in the hopes of finding her long lost cousin Alice, who is believed to have gone to Australia.

This arranged marriage blossoms beautifully and it turns out they are matched well for far more than business practicalities. Like many of Jacobs’ books there are many characters and various sub-plots which all seem to overlap at some stage and makes for interesting dramas. Despite the vast number of characters, they are all well developed and unique which is a credit to the author.

What I especially like about Anna Jacobs’ books is that she works with strong protagonists who are smart and determined and make the most of the societal limitations of the times (1860’s). It seems I would recommend any of Anna Jacob’s novels that I have read so far because I have found them so enjoyable.

4/5 rating

Purchase book @

Fishpond/ Amazon/ Book Depository

About the author: Anna Jacobs grew up in Lancashire and emigrated to Australia, but still visits the UK regularly to see her family and do research, something she loves. Her novel Pride of Lancashire won the Australian Romantic Book of the Year Award in 2006.

This book was read as part of the these three challenges:


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