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The ship has been like a world within itself, a vast floating city outside of normal rules. But the longer the journey continues, the more confined it is starting to feel, deck upon deck, passenger upon passenger, all of them churning around each other without anywhere to go....
It is 1939. Europe is on the brink of war when young Lily Shepherd boards an ocean liner in Essex, bound for Australia. She is ready to start anew, leaving behind the shadows in her past. The passage proves magical, complete with live music, cocktails, and fancy dress balls. With stops at exotic locations along the way - Naples, Cairo, Ceylon - the voyage shows Lily places she'd only ever dreamed of and enables her to make friends with those above her social station, people who would ordinarily never give her the time of day. She even allows herself to hope that a man she couldn't possibly have a future with outside the cocoon of the ship might return her feelings.
But Lily soon realizes that she's not the only one hiding secrets. Her newfound friends - the toxic wealthy couple Eliza and Max; Cambridge graduate Edward; Jewish refugee Maria; fascist George - are also running away from their pasts. As the glamour of the voyage fades, the stage is set for something sinister to occur. By the time the ship docks, two passengers are dead, war has been declared, and Lily's life will be changed irrevocably.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Linda Lou on 01-13-18
DO NOT FALL FOR THIS SYNOPIS!
I love Agatha Christie, so of course I’d be interested to listen a story “in the style” of Christie. NOT EVEN CLOSE! This is not Death On The Nile. More like Death Of Eleven Hours Of Your Life! There is no mystery in this story. The characters are vapid, shallow and under-developed. The main character, Lily, is as dumb as a box of hair. She inserts herself into every aspect of every character in the book. Murder, abortion, disappearance - she’s there, front row seat, and not in a good way. A friend goes missing ON A CRUISE SHIP so Lily just goes to sleep then tours the port city the next day. She is in love with one man but gets caught about to have sex with the husband of a companion under the tarpaulin IN ONE OF THE UNDEPLOYED RESCUE BOATS! No moral compass at all.
The author spends a lot of time with flashbacks of Lily’s life in England. But it’s unconnected snippets which are hard to follow. More importantly, I thought the book was about Europeans going to Australia to start anew. There’s too much focus on the impending World War II that makes no sense. So - enter Stage Left - a Jewish woman fleeing Nazi Austria.
As I endured a day-by-day account of weeks on this ship, I felt like I was in labor - waiting for a baby that never comes. There’s no plot here, no compelling story, no interesting characters. What’s worse is that Lily is supposed to be based on a real character in the 1930s who sailed from England to Australia. The failure of this story is stretching it to 11 hours of the most boring saga ever! Download at your own risk!
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
By Susan Vilas Grulee on 05-27-18
Best listen in a very long time!
This intriguing, character driven story is based on real people and actual events. The fact that it takes place on an ocean crossing during the xenophobic buildup to WWll reminded me of Katherine Anne Porter’s “Ship of Fools;” but this book is far more intimate and compelling, in part due to the narrative point of view, as well as the content of the story and the finely developed cast of characters. Ms. Manners’ narration is superb. I am so sad that this binge listen is over. I absolutely will return to this stellar new classic!
1 of 1 people found this review helpful