Title: No Ocean Too Wide (McAlister Family #1)
Author: Carrie Turansky
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publishing Date: June 25, 2019
Length: 368 pages
About the Book:
Between the years of 1869 to 1939 more than 100,000 poor British children were sent across the ocean to Canada with the promise of a better life. Those who took them in to work as farm laborers or household servants were told they were orphans–but was that the truth?
After the tragic loss of their father, the McAlister family is living at the edge of the poorhouse in London in 1908, leaving their mother to scrape by for her three younger children, while oldest daughter, Laura, works on a large estate more than an hour away. When Edna McAlister falls gravely ill and is hospitalized, twins Katie and Garth and eight-year-old Grace are forced into an orphans’ home before Laura is notified about her family’s unfortunate turn of events in London. With hundreds of British children sent on ships to Canada, whether truly orphans or not, Laura knows she must act quickly. But finding her siblings and taking care of her family may cost her everything.
Andrew Fraser, a wealthy young British lawyer and heir to the estate where Laura is in service, discovers that this common practice of finding new homes for penniless children might not be all that it seems. Together Laura and Andrew form an unlikely partnership. Will they arrive in time? Will their friendship blossom into something more?
Inspired by true events, this moving novel follows Laura as she seeks to reunite her family and her siblings who, in their darkest hours, must cling to the words from Isaiah: “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God”.
I don’t even have the words to say how deeply this novel sucked me in. It was incredibly written with pages that essentially turned themselves. The deeper I entered the world of the McAlister children, the more I felt like I’d become a part of it. If only we didn’t have to wait until 2020 for the sequel!
While there were four McAlister children, this book was viewed from the eyes of the eldest sister Laura (21) and Katie (14). By writing from the two perspectives, it kept the pages turning even faster because as a reader you needed to know what was going to happen to each of them next. The Onemorechapteritis was impossible to fight! According to the author’s note, Garth (Katie’s twin) and Grace (7) will have their journeys shared in the second book. Believe me when I say I’ll be jumping on it when it releases! This was a story I was clearly not ready to be done with when I finished.
I appreciated the level of research that went into this novel and also the respect for case-by-case results. Not all children went into loving homes, but not all of them were completely unloved either. There were a great number of children that emigrated, and no two stories were the same. I think that the author found a respectful balance that could be reflective of the original history. What amazed me (not in a good way) about the laws in the time, were that they didn’t protect the families–and it made it more difficult for families to be reunited. The world of foster care and adoption was far different 100 years ago than it is today. In many ways I believe the tables have turned too far in the opposite direction today, but families do have more rights. Certainly you wouldn’t wake up to find a child who’d been taken into temporary care shipped overseas overnight–never to be seen from again!
This is another historical fiction novel I recommend as a must-read. When I say I can’t wait for the next one to release, I’m not kidding! This is a story that I’m sure will stay with me. Amazing!
*I received a copy of this book from Waterbrook & Multnomah. Thoughts and opinions expressed are mine alone.