Growing up in Victorian England, 14-year-old Kit Lovell has not had an easy childhood. She never knew her father - a sea captain who went down with his ship, the Invincible, before she was born. And now her strict and protective mother, having relied on the charity of her sister, has made the radical decision to sail with Katherine to the new colony of Australia on the strength of an arranged marriage to a lighthouse keeper on the lonely and isolated Kangaroo Island. But the journey to that faraway land - with its melting pot of passengers and crew, and the terrible events that take place - will shape their lives forever. A powerful and beautifully wrought work of historic fiction with fascinating characters and dramatic action that propels us through this fascinating coming-of-age journey.
cout is set in the 1800's and apart from a brief stop-over (about a third into the novel) at Rio De Janeiro, the events in the novel take place entirely at sea.
The descriptions are really vivid - the waves and sea-sickness, the decks and cramped quarters and the gentry living amongst the sailors - it was all painted so wonderfully.
The voice is distinctly from that era - a little bit formal, with this underlying quiet, amused humour in parts and it was easy to imagine the accompanying mannerisms and etiquette of the time. The narrative is like a re-telling, written as a journal after the fact.
The pacing is deliberate and it unfolds in such a gentle and compelling way that I was surprised to suddenly find myself completely sucked in. Hidden amongst the prose are such lovely little details - random intriguing pieces snuck into the story - often these are things I remember the most from stories:
what happened to the horse in the first storm - ooh - it was horrific
someone mentioning their first husband in passing: "He'd been desperately handsome but had stepped on a rusty nail and died"
details of cannibalism in shipwreck times (choosing which sailor to eat first, etc)
As for the characters: Kit (our charming protag) is loyal, quietly fierce, smart and observant and I love her story arc - by the end she is bold and full of hope, although scarred from all she witnessed.
The romance in it is understated which somehow gives it a genuine vibe and the scenes where Angel and Kit are together are a charming portrayal of a young girl experiencing feelings for the first time.
There's also Kit's new friend, Clarissa, who I loved. She's wild and daring and works hard and pushes the boundaries. She's a lot of fun and her morals anatagonise Kit's mum...
As for Kit's mum. She's so concerned with what others think and with being decent and respectable that she'd rather starve than be thought to be greedy. The relationship between Kit and her mum is so deftly done - her mum will frustrate readers in her small-mindedness (I was especially ready to wring her neck in a particular scene in Rio De Janeiro) but somehow, all this little shades of grey are drawn in their relationship that lets you see how Kit's mum truly does care for her.
It has a bittersweet ending in some ways - but ends on great hope for Kit - who has endured so much and I think the impact of the journey will shape her character for the rest of her life.There is tragedy and deaths and it's haunting - the story itself is a re-imagining but based on research from real ships sailing to Australia.
You can earn a 5% commission by selling Scout paperback book / softback on your website. It's easy to get started - we will give you example code. After you're set-up, your website can earn you money while you work, play or even sleep!
Are you the Author/Publisher? Improve sales by submitting additional information on this title.