Whitby 1901. Sarah Brook has kept diaries for most of her life. Now 85 and at the end of her own journey, she allows her favourite great-niece Esther to read them. But while full of Sarah's thoughts and dreams, and family stories, the diaries also hold dark family secrets about the past, which are about to be exposed... Whitby 1832. When their mother tragically dies, life changes dramatically for Sarah and her siblings.
Arabella is ordered by their father to assume the domestic role - something she fears will destroy her hoped-for relationship with John Sharp, captain of her father's whale ship, the Sea King. Little does she know that Harriet has an idea to ensure she doesn't end up with a hard life like Arabella: she will ensnare John and marry him? Charley too has his own escape plan: determined to forge a life at sea against his father's wishes, he stows away on the Sea King. But when tragedy strikes the Sea King in the Arctic the Brook family, and those near to them, are forced to make crucial assessments about their futures...
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A sense of place
I gained the greatest pleasure from this book in the intense feeling of the presence of Whitby itself that emerged in every chapter. From the first description in the opening lines of the house in which the girls lived I could SEE the town, the walks, the cliffs and the sea. As the story unfolded aspects of the geography of the now historical town came to life before me.
The oldest sister was my favourite character. I feel she was drawn with the greatest complexity and subtlety, embodying both the constraints and the frequently overlooked strengths of the women of her time.
Again, the oldest sister has remained with me most. It is into her head I am most likely to drift still when thinking through dilemmas.
- Amazon Customer