Publisher: Doubleday UK (Transworld)
Publication date: 23rd March 2017
When someone has seen you at your lowest you share something with them that is almost impossible to define and harder to undo. [Quotation taken from a proof copy.]
Departure: 29th July 1939. Tilbury Docks, Essex
Lillian Shepherd experiences conflicting emotions as she boards the Orontes on an assisted passage to Australia: waving goodbye to her family as she braces herself to travel alone VS the anticipation and that delicious lure of escape from her past traumas.
Despite reassurances, it appears England is on the brink of war as a fusion of difference and ignorance is thrust together for five long weeks. During her travels, Lily keeps a diary of her on-board exploits and writes regularly to her folks to keep up with news from home. As the distance between her and the English shore grows their replies bring old news, which is an unnerving prospect when you can’t be sure the world has changed by the time you reach your destination.
Lily’s adventure carries the pressing temptation to rub shoulders with a couple from the upper class deck who have taken her under their wing. Second guessing the motives of her ludicrously odd companions among the tiered system of nobodies, wannabes and the recently scandalised is a mine field in itself. Some of them are just so damned persuasive and besides, if the alternative is spending time with your matronly cabin-mate and her disapproving glare you’d be tempted to ‘forget the pecking order’ and join them too.
It was astonishing to witness the pristine etiquette, mesmerising scenery and enchanting company being swallowed up by the claustrophobia creeping along the deck. There’s no escaping people you grow to dislike or mistrust and sooner or later they will catch up with you, if only to introduce you to your new friend ‘paranoia’.
The intensity of the voyage becomes unbearable at times, but also offers encounters from the admirers Lily attracts, usually without encouragement. Doubts about the extraordinary bonds that are being forged are reinforced as her companions temperaments bob up and down in time with the ocean, while extraordinary secrets are channelled into the journey at well-timed intervals triggering a looming sense of unease.
Arrival: 4th September 1939. Sydney, Australia
Lily has successfully visited the ports of misery, heartbreak, prejudice, and deception.
A Dangerous Crossing is a journey I’ll never forget. I greedily read this book in two sittings, about the same time Lily took to determine the measure of one or two people she dined with! The stunning narration and authentic sense of era effortlessly transported me from one side of the world to the other, although I’m pleased to report my reading journey was infinitely more agreeable than the experience of some of the passengers on board the Orontes.
(A review copy of this title was kindly provided by Alison Barrow of Transworld Publications for which is is my pleasure to provide an unbiased review.)
(Courtesy of Amazon UK)
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 on board: 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 realises 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.
(Courtesy of Publisher’s website)
RACHEL RHYS is the pen-name of a successful psychological suspense author. A Dangerous Crossing is her debut under this name and is inspired by a real life account of a 1930s ocean voyage. A Dangerous Crossing is due to be published around the world. Rachel Rhys lives in North London with her family.