Masterpiece Classic: Small Island

“Small Island” is a two-part drama adapted for television, included in the BBC Masterpiece Classic Collection, based on a novel by the same title written by Andrea Levy.


Hortense is a very unusual name, don’t you think? In my entire life, have known two ladies with that name. In the social networks, the online writing communities, blogger groups and communities, professional networks, neighborhoods, churches, schools … have not met another by that name.  In the world of fiction – movies and/or books – have only come across one character named “Hortense”.

Small Island DVDSmall Island” is a BBC Masterpiece Theater presentation and the name of the main character is Hortense, an idealistic “proper” young Jamaican woman who dreams of living in England and she will fulfill her dream! It may take a little bit of conniving but …

The setting is the 1940s; during and after the World War II – Jamaica and London. Naomie Harris plays Hortense.  She is something else!!

Naomie Harris. That name sound familiar? It should. Starred in the James Bond movie, “Skyfall”. At the end of the movie she finally formally introduced to Mr. Bond as “Miss Moneypenny”. Seriously? Incredible! Why not cast Sandra Bullock to play “Tina Turner” instead of Angela Bassett??! Smiley


Never mind. Moving on.


So Hortense has a friend who has a fiancé and that fiancé is in the military and intends to take the friend, who will be his wife, with him when he goes to England. Uh huh. That was the original plan. But Hortense figured out a way to get the guy to lose the friend and take her to England instead.

David Oyelowo plays Gilbert, the fiancé, scratch that ex-fiancé … dot dot dash … husband of “convenience”.

David Oyelowo. That name sound familiar? He was “Danny” in the popular BBC spook TV show, “MI-5”. Also chosen for the role of “Dr. Martin Luther King”, in the Oscar-nominated film “Selma” about the Civil Rights Movement in America.

Finishing up.


“Small Island” is a love story. You will love all of the characters; the ones in the starring roles and the supporting roles. They are very realistic and you will feel like you’re a part of their lives. One word to describe this masterpiece? Delightful!

Most memorable line? “Gilbert! I’m perishin’ in this bed!”

Small Island: Andrea Levy’s Award-winning Novel [Kindle Edition]




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  1. Melissa Reese Etheridge

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