Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Book review: No Moon by Irene N. Watts

No Moon by Irene N. Watts (Published by Tundra Books, April 13, 2010)

Fourteen-year-old Louisa Gardener is the second-oldest child in a large working-class family living in London in 1911. She left school a couple of years ago to help her mother with housework and caring for her younger siblings, but now she wants to have a real job, like her older sister Kathleen. Louisa is very lucky - on her first job interview, she is hired to be a nursemaid to two little girls, the daughters of a wealthy titled family in London, the Miltons. Louisa has always loved children, having helped to care for her four younger siblings. And it is a very good position, as the servants in this household are treated very well. Louisa is a bit unhappy that Nanny Macintosh, whom she assists in the nursery, is very strict, but overall she is happy with her job, and very fond of Alexandra and Portia, the little girls she helps care for.

Almost a year goes by, and Louisa is very settled in her routine of helping to care for the girls. She is also anticipating having time off to spend with her family, as Lord and Lady Milton are planning to bring the girls on a trip to New York to visit relatives. Because Louisa's little brother drowned during a trip to the seashore when Louisa was just five years old, Louisa is very afraid of water, and she blames herself for not protecting her brother, even though she was just a little girl herself. So she is quite relieved to be staying behind in London while Nanny Macintosh accompanies the girls and their parents on the maiden voyage of the Titanic. But then a few days before the trip, Nanny Macintosh falls down the stairs, and is too injured to travel. Louisa must take her place or lose her job. Will she be able to overcome her fear of the water to save herself and her young charges when disaster strikes?

Although the description on the back cover of this book makes it sound like the voyage on the Titanic is the major focus of the story, it actually doesn't take place until the second half of the novel. The first half is mostly about Louisa's life in London, settling into her new job, and the memories of her brother's death that haunt her years later. Even though it's not written as a diary, the writing style of this book still reminded me a lot of the Dear America series, and I think it would appeal to the same readers. My one complaint is that some of the historical facts seemed a bit forced, such as Louisa having a conversation about how there aren't enough lifeboats while talking a walk on the deck the day before the ship sinks.

Disclosure: Review copy provided by publisher.

1 comment:

Betty said...

I've not read this author before. Your review was interesting. I'm just finishing a wonderful historical fiction book called "The Scorpion's Bite" by author Aileen G. Baron. It's about an women archaeologists in the Middle East during WWII. What makes it really good is that the author is also an archaeologists and actually worked in this part of the world.

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