‘It was a first class deception that would change her life forever’
A Dangerous Crossing is written by Rachel Rhys ( the pen name for Tammy Cohen, a successful author of suspense ~ see bio below)
Published by Doubleday books and due for release on the 6th April, mark it in your diaries folks!!!
This is a truly wonderful book, inspired by a real diary discovered accidentally by the author.
‘This diary was written with extraordinary detail by a young girl in service who travelled from England to Australia on a cruise liner in the late 1930s.’
Please continue reading for my full thoughts…..
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 onboard: 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 realizes 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.
Okay, let’s get one very important fact out of the way immediately…I absolutely loved and adored A Dangerous Crossing.
Now it’s no secret that I am attracted to books of a certain era and this fit the bill in every way.
Lily Shepherd sets sail on the Orontes on 29th July 1939 from Tilbury Docks in Essex.
‘She has seen photographs of the Orontes in leaflets, but nothing prepared her for the scale of it, the sheer grey wall towering over the quayside, beside which the passengers and stewards scurry along like ants‘
Lily, like many travelling with her, is availing of a government scheme allowing her assisted passage to Australia. For a two year period, she must be prepared to go into domestic service in one of the large British-owned family houses there. Lily, while despairing at the prospect of being separated from her family, is also tremendously excited at the thought of the great adventure that lies ahead.
Lily is travelling in the company of a chaperone provided by the government and is allocated a room with others in a similar situation to herself. Lily is carrying a secret close to her heart and hopes that this move to the other side of the world will inspire her to move on with her life and make amends with herself.
But…Lily isn’t the only one looking to make a change.
Edward Fletcher and his sister Helena, are travelling with a secret of their own. George Price, a rather fascist individual, with a very unsavory personality is en route to an uncle’s farm in New Zealand. Among the passengers, there are Jews escaping the oncoming terror of the Nazi regime, Italian women joining their menfolk who travelled before them and lots more folk looking to make a new life in Australia.
It’s not long before Lily is completely enamored and captivated by the world in which she now finds herself. The divisions in society that normally exist between the different strata on terra firma all but disappear for Lily on board the Orontes. She soon finds herself mixing with folk that she would normally be serving herself. Lily is exposed to the cocktail lifestyle of the intriguing and very wealthy Max and Eliza Campbell. Initially Lily is in awe but the veneer drops on a number of occasions and Lily soon discovers that all is not what it seems.
With a mixture of ‘Sparkling Cocktails and Poisonous Secrets‘ Rachel Rhys delivers a first-class story of life on the high seas in that turbulent time in the early 20th century.
A Dangerous Crossing takes the reader on a voyage, stopping off at Gibraltar with the famous macaques, passing through the Suez Canal where the sheer scale of the scene before Lily is so vivid off the descriptions on the pages. The Nile Delta and the Great Pyramids, The Islands off the coast of Australia and of course the approach to Australia itself, all so eloquently described by Rachel Rhys.
A Dangerous Crossing is more than just a story of a young girl’s journey to a new world. It is also a journey for the reader. You will find yourself transported back in time, where you will hear the cacophony of sounds and smell the foreign scents of each port the Orontes docks at.
Yes there is a very human story running parallel. A story of courage, of love, of dreams shattered and lives destroyed. There is murder on the high seas and, as Rachel Rhys alludes too, this voyage is A Very Dangerous Crossing.
I highly recommend you join Lily and set your own sail for a wonderful adventure back to a time in history many of us can only dream about….
Purchase Link : A Dangerous Crossing
Meet The Author:
Rachel Rhys is the pen name of author Tammy Cohen.
‘So, here’s the thing. At the end of last year, having written three psychological thrillers in a row, I started to fantasise about writing something completely different – new genre, new name even – but had no idea what……..
There is a wonderful post by Tammy Cohen on her reasons for the pen name so I’ll let you read it yourself here…