The Tides Between by Elizabeth Jane Corbett
The Tides Between is a young adult historical fiction novel. Set in 1841 it is about Bridie and her family who are emigrating to Australia from London. The story takes place on The Lady Sophia, a ship bound for Port Phillip near Melbourne. Fifteen year old Bridie, her pregnant mother and her step-father travel in steerage (low cost travel for the poor), where they meet others looking forward to a new life down under.
Bridie’s father died less than a year ago; her family believe Australia will offer new opportunities for employment and a better life than the one they lived in London. But Bridie is frightened and sad about how easily they can leave the memories of their old life behind. Others on the boat are also hoping to escape the past; Welsh couple Rhys and Sian have their own secrets. Natural storytellers, they offer Bridie friendship and understand the stories her father once shared.
I enjoyed the mix of life on an emigrant ship and the Welsh myths told by Rhys and Sian; the stories also struck the hearts of many of their fellow travellers. As the boat neared its destination, the tension grew. Would Australia provide the new life they all dreamed of?
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In the year 1841, on the eve of her departure from London, Bridie’s mother demands she forget her dead father and prepare for a sensible adult life in Port Phillip. Desperate to save her childhood, fifteen-year-old Bridie is determined to smuggle a notebook filled with her father’s fairy tales to the far side of the world.
When Rhys Bevan, a soft-voiced young storyteller and fellow traveller realises Bridie is hiding something, a magical friendship is born. But Rhys has his own secrets and the words written in Bridie’s notebook carry a dark double meaning.
As they inch towards their destination, Rhys’s past returns to haunt him. Bridie grapples with the implications of her dad’s final message. The pair take refuge in fairy tales, little expecting the trouble it will cause.
When Elizabeth Jane Corbett isn’t writing, she works as a librarian, teaches Welsh at the Melbourne Welsh Church, writes articles for the Historical Novel Review and blogs at elizabethjanecorbett.com. In 2009, her short-story, Beyond the Blackout Curtain, won the Bristol Short Story Prize. Another, Silent Night, was short listed for the Allan Marshall Short Story Award. Her historical coming-of-age novel, The Tides Between, was published by Odyssey Books in October 2017. Elizabeth lives with her husband, in a renovated timber cottage in Melbourne’s inner-north. She likes red shoes, dark chocolate, commuter cycling, and reading quirky, character driven novels set once-upon-a-time in lands far away.