Alone on a Wide Wide Sea
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A raw and inescapable book of lives as changeable as the sea itself .
Well written in two parts, the first two-thirds of this book is the story of Arthur, a young orphan shipped to Australia in 1947 without family or understanding. He has to leave behind everything he has ever known behind except for a "lucky key" he was given by his sister Kitty until the time they would be reunited, and the song London Bridge is Falling Down in his heart. Although his first sea voyage is miserable and his first years in the outback desperately hard, he grows to love the sea, the Ancient Mariner is his bible, and he becomes a master boat-builder. Life then takes a dive into deep dark water where he flounders for some years before finding `dry land' once again.
The second section of the book has a far more contemporary style: it is largely a diary of one-way conversational e-mails sent back home from the boat on which Allie, Arthur's daughter, returns to England. This is a single handed sailing from Australia to England in her late teens, a sort-of Ellen...
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There were dozens of us on the ship, all ages, boys and girls, and we were all up on deck for the leaving of Liverpool, gulls wheeling and crying over our heads, calling good-bye, I thought they were waving good-bye. None of us spoke. It was a grey day with drizzle in the air, the great sad cranes bowing to the ship from the docks as we steamed past. That is all I remember of England
When orphaned Arthur Hobhouse is shipped to Australia after WWII he loses his sister, his country and everything he knows. The coming years will test him to his limits, as he endures mistreatment, neglect and forced labour in the Australian outback. But Arthur is also saved, again and again, by his love of the sea. And when he meets a nurse whose father owns a boat-building business, all the pieces of his broken life come together.
Now, at the end of his life, Arthur has built a special boat for his daughter Allie, whose love of the sea is as strong and as vital as her father's. Now Allie has a boat that will take her to England solo, across the world's roughest seas, in search of her father's long-lost sister... Will the threads of Arthur's life finally come together?