Whales And Strange Stars is historical fiction, set in Kent in the late half of the 18th century.
In the sleepy waterside hamlet of Wych Ferry, fifteen-year-old Rosamund Euden lives in the Tradewinds Inn with her two uncles, Burto and Joss, and a guardian. Burto is a ferryman taking passengers across the waterway, while Joss transports goods along the river in his boat the Belle Isle.
Most of the uncles’ business comes from transporting goods for the mysterious Mr Antonius. The book opens with Joss transporting a sea captain up the river; this captain stops at the inn and fills Rosamund’s head with tales of adventure. She dreams of a world outside of Wych Ferry, so when she overhears confusing whispered words of magic and the devil her mind works overtime. She finds a useful confidante in Mr Littlebourne, the local Squire, but little does she know that the snippets of information she diligently writes down for him will put her uncles in grave danger.
I loved the way in which the author made the period and the setting come so alive in this book. Joss’ almost human connection to the Belle Isle was a delight; they sailed hand-in-hand up and down the river, knowing every curve and mud bank, in tune with the river’s flow. At this time, smuggling was a constant way of life for many, as the king continued to raise taxes to fund wars in the Americas. The narrative alludes to dubious business dealings by the Euden brothers, supported by more than one skirmish, but it isn’t until the very end that Rosamund and the reader are given confirmation of the trouble her uncles had got themselves into.
This novel is an interesting snippet of life in a quiet English river setting, with some lovely descriptive passages about the life of ordinary people during this century; I was absorbed into the period. The title made me think the book might be about adventure on the high seas (something about the whales!), but I believe it is more a symbol of adventure instead. Even though I was surprised by the content I still enjoyed it very much.
View all my reviews on Goodreads
Series: First book in my new Wych Ferry Series
Genre: historical fiction
Release Date: 12th December, 2017
Publisher: Crooked Cat Books
A world beyond her own.
A sea captain passes through the forgotten port of Wych Ferry, and whiles away an hour relating his traveller’s tales to young Rosamund Euden. He tells her that the stars are different, if you sail far enough, that the horizon isn’t quite real, not when you get there; he speaks of sea serpents and whales, and mysterious islands.
To an impressionable girl who has never left her home, the whales and strange stars of his stories come to symbolise the great outside world she longs to see. The sea captain moves on, unaware of the dramatic events he has set in action as Rosamund’s search for adventure leads her into a world of dangerous secrets in the marshlands of eighteenth century Kent.
Torn between loyalty to her uncles, and her desire to discover what lies beyond the marshes, Rosamund seeks help from an unexpected source. But who can she really trust?
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2CqGR6v
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2CucLhr
Kathy Sharp was born and brought up by the sea in Kent. Life took her inland, and she worked for many years as a desktop publisher for Surrey County Council, and as a tutor in adult education.
And then, one day, she visited a friend who had just moved to the Isle of Portland, Dorset, and fell in love with the place. She has now lived by the sea in the Weymouth and Portland area for more than ten years, and still loves it. The wonderful Jurassic Coast, and Portland in particular, were the inspiration for her Larus Trilogy of novels.
Kathy also sings with, and writes lyrics for, the Island Voices Choir on Portland, and is a keen member of local writing groups, as well as enjoying studying the local flora.
Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2728164.Kathy_Sharp