Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Review : A Dangerous Crossing by Rachel Rhys


Published by : Doubleday
23 March 2017
Copy : Paperback received from Alison Barrow

The Blurb

It was a first class deception that would change her life forever

1939, Europe on the brink of war. Lily Shepherd leaves England on an ocean liner for Australia, escaping her life of drudgery for new horizons. She is instantly seduced by the world onboard: cocktails, black-tie balls and beautiful sunsets. Suddenly, Lily finds herself mingling with people who would otherwise never give her the time of day.

But soon she realizes her glamorous new friends are not what they seem. The rich and hedonistic Max and Eliza Campbell, mysterious and flirtatious Edward, and fascist George are all running away from tragedy and scandal even greater than her own.

By the time the ship docks, two passengers are dead, war has been declared, and life will never be the same again.

The Very Pink Notebook Review

This novel is a drama suspense of which I thoroughly enjoyed.  With beautiful, languid story-telling, I was completely absorbed into the world of Lily Shepherd, on passage aboard the liner, Orontes, to a new adventure to Australia.  Lily, herself 'tourist class', is somewhat caught in the middle of a class war on board.  She is given a glimpse into the world of First Class by the scandalous and morally outcast socialites, The Campbells, whilst also learning passengers may sit on the same class level aboard the great ship are not all seen as equals.  Add to this the tumulus background rumbling of a World War on the brink of an imminent break out, the ground on which these characters find themselves are truly unsteady waters.

Lily is somewhat na├»ve to the world and you find yourself loving her for it, it makes her an honest narrator, if not always reliable given her limited knowledge of the world.  This novel is about so many things but what stood out for me was the personal journey of Lily who grows and has her eyes opened to the harsh realities of the world more in three weeks than she has her entire life.

Lily is more than a likable character, she is lovable.  I found myself wanting to protect her from the harsh reality of life.  She is still so childish in many ways which only goes to highlight the complex lives of the other people on board.  If only they had lived such a sheltered life as Lily, maybe they would be better for it.  Although we learn Lily is running and mourning her own drama, compared to the others it seems so innocent. 

Lily is truly like a central orb in this novel from which everyone rotates, all wanting and needing her for their own selfish gain.  However, Lily is not as weak as she may exude, after all she has chosen and made happen this adventure many would only dream about.

At the end of the book the author notes mention the novel is inspired by the real life diary of a young female passenger who really did embark on a personal journey to Australia and the novel is richer for it.  Beautiful vivid imagery combined with a powerful plot and complex yet likeable characters make this book a compelling read. 

And by the way, you may think you see that twist coming, but you really haven't...

A Dangerous Crossing by Rachel Rhys gets a Very Pink Notebook Review of :

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