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Harbor of Spies


A captivating thriller-at-sea set in Spanish colonial Havana in the 1860s.
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Discuss Harbor of Spies by Robin Lloyd:
Why do you think Emma was so compelled to get involved?

Created: 05/17/18

Replies: 11

Posted May. 17, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1626

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Why do you think Emma was so compelled to get involved?

Emma tells Townsend, "We've got to find Abbott and help Grace Backhouse discover who killed her husband." Why do you think she was so compelled to get involved?


Posted May. 19, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
AmberH

Join Date: 05/09/18

Posts: 15

RE: Why do you think Emma was so compelled to get involved?

I am curious about what others think. Initially, I thought Emma had some sort of romantic interest in Michael Abbott, but then later on that seemed not to be the case due to her interest in Townsend. I wish we find out more about this. Perhaps Emma is just a "do-gooder??"


Posted May. 19, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
laurief

Join Date: 09/08/12

Posts: 41

RE: Why do you think Emma was so compelled to get involved?

Living in the boarding house she was exposed to the conversations of the wheelers and dealers of the slave trade. And she could not avoid seeing how slaves were treated if she ventured out onto the streets. Like Townsend, she represented a younger generation with new ideals which caused her to act.


Posted May. 20, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
renem

Join Date: 12/01/16

Posts: 185

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RE: Why do you think Emma was so compelled to get involved?

I agree with laurief and AmberH. I also would have liked more background information about Emma.


Posted May. 20, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
rebajane

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 211

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RE: Why do you think Emma was so compelled to get involved?

I agree with everything said. I, too, thought her involvement was romantic


Posted May. 21, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Cynthia

Join Date: 06/07/17

Posts: 36

RE: Why do you think Emma was so compelled to get involved?

I too, agree with everything said so far: she was a compassionate ("do-gooder") person in general and heard a lot in the boarding house that upset her; also she and her mother were sympathetic to the the "urchins" who roamed the streets -- they fed them. She was sympathetic to Grace Backhouse's agony and wanted to help her find who was responsible for her husband's murder. She was a good friend to Padre Pablo Uribe (against human suffering in any form). And while Townsend initially assumed she was romantically interested in Abbott, she informed him that it was not her, but her mother and Abbott who were involved. So at least some of this was in support of that relationship -- she liked Abbott.


Posted May. 21, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
peggyt

Join Date: 08/10/17

Posts: 48

RE: Why do you think Emma was so compelled to get involved?

Emma had a friendly relationship with Grace Backhouse and she would have wanted to help find out what happened to her husband for that reason. Also, at one point she tells Townsend that she thought Abbott would be the right man for her mother, not for herself. Emma seemed to have high ideals and was very caring for humanity in general.


Posted May. 22, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
clapshot

Join Date: 11/05/16

Posts: 16

RE: Why do you think Emma was so compelled to get involved?

Emma may just be bored and looking for something to do. Or maybe Lloyd is writing her as a do-gooder as women of the nineteenth century often have been written. At times she seems to have an approach-avoidance relationship with the world, doesn't she?


Posted May. 24, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ruthiea

Join Date: 02/03/14

Posts: 114

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RE: Why do you think Emma was so compelled to get involved?

I hope it was because she was exposed to views other than "slavery is necessary" and other tropes that were spouted to justify slavery and it's cruelty - she was naive enough to think she could make a difference and was passionate about her cause. the people she met helped her get "woke" as was the case with many other swho were opposed to and fought to end slavery in that era. She did not live on a plantation so did not have to justify the practice.


Posted Jun. 02, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
jenbrinkley

Join Date: 04/05/16

Posts: 4

RE: Why do you think Emma was so compelled to get involved?

Emma was a modern woman. She and her mother were forced to be independent due to the circumstances of being left without a husband and father in the household. If her father had been present she may have been shielded from hearing political discussions or from expressing her views about slavey. As a result of this lifestyle she was allowed to think for herself and become involved in justice for Michael Abbott.


Posted Jun. 03, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
PinkLady

Join Date: 01/22/18

Posts: 40

RE: Why do you think Emma was so compelled to get involved?

I think she was looking for a purpose in her life. She was a bright, independent woman and needed something to provide substance. And certainly she was against slavery and felt her involvement could have some impact.


Posted Jun. 22, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
viquig

Join Date: 06/25/14

Posts: 24

RE: Why do you think Emma was so compelled to get involved?

Emma was very condescending toward Townsend when he was reluctant to continue to investigate Michael Aboot's disappearance. I felt that this righteous behaviour was out of character for a young woman living in a hispanic culture in the 1860's. I had a hard time accepting Emma's naivete.


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