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April book club - A Dangerous Crossing

(104 Posts)
CariGransnet (GNHQ) Tue 04-Apr-17 10:20:36

Copies of our wonderful April book - A Dangerous Crossing - are on their way so here's the thread for your comments etc. Don't forget, if you do receive a free copy of the book you will need to leave your questions for the author/reviews (don't forget to mark anything that gives things away with a spoiler alert!) etc on here by the end of the month

Rinouchka Wed 19-Apr-17 08:37:08

This was a very enjoyable read, rich in historical detail, period atmosphere and characters with a dark past, looking for a better future.. I truly did feel that I was on the Orantes myself, observing the actions and lives of others in this dark, psychological novel, even feeling the odd bout of sympathetic seasickness, myself! Yes, the ship is the perfect setting for the story to unfold and certainly cinematographic in every sense. I like the flawed characters, both the main ones and those on the sidelines. We know what Lily went on to achieve, what happened to Eliza, Edward, Helena. Maria's past life can be imagined and how she died eventually is described. Yes, perhaps the "inappropriate touching" phrase is too modern for the time, but only a small error in otherwise excellent writing and period detail.

I did guess the ending after comments about Edward sounding like Eliza at times but still found the finale moving, if not surprising.

Questions: What will your next novel be about? Is historical fiction your preferred genre? Will you be writing more historical fiction under the Rachel Rhys pen name? So many stories still to be told on the other passengers( the Neumanns and the Jewish community heading for Australia, the Italians, even Ida), such rich material. Please do develop.
(I would like to add that the book cover design was perfect!)

GG62 Wed 19-Apr-17 09:05:56

I'm unlucky again! Maybe I'm doing something wrong? Does anyone know how many books are sent and how many are requested?

harrigran Wed 19-Apr-17 09:09:18

GG when GN tell you in the newsletter what the book of the month is they also tell you how many they have to give away. With thousands of Gnetters not everyone that applies will receive a book.

CariGransnet (GNHQ) Wed 19-Apr-17 09:45:10


I'm unlucky again! Maybe I'm doing something wrong? Does anyone know how many books are sent and how many are requested?

Hi GG - we give 50 copies away and always have several hundred entrants. The winners are drawn at random but there is another great book coming up later this week so fingers crossed!

CariGransnet (GNHQ) Wed 19-Apr-17 09:46:43


Iv just joined today. I'm, enjoying looking around the site. My Hobby is reading books is there a chat page please? I can talk to other people yours sincerely

Hi Dolly - you will find lots of book chat under the book club topic on the forums. Also we will be announcing the May book club choice within the next couple of days so look out for that

gillybob Wed 19-Apr-17 22:47:23

I have just finished reading this book tonight. I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it. The characters were all so real. I loved the descriptions of the various ports as the ship docked in each one. I loved the descriptions of the outfits worn by the ladies (both the upper and the lower classes) although I have to say that Lily seemed to have a massive wardrobe, given her humble circumstances. I absolutely knew there was something fishy about Edward.

moleswife Thu 20-Apr-17 10:22:44

I am enjoying this book very much especially as my own mother made that journey a few years after Lily's in 1948 - one of her favourite stories was about the box of liquorice allsorts she had put in the bottom of her wardrobe only to find them eaten by a thousand ants!! She was one of the post war emigrants looking for something better but she didn't stay in Oz. Thank you for my copy.

MargaretX Thu 20-Apr-17 11:00:54


I am an avid reader and check up the 'what are you reading now thread.
If you can't find it because it is not so active, look on the list of threads or search for it.

Greenfinch Thu 20-Apr-17 12:12:43

I am still really enjoying this book and it brings back memories for me from when we did the journey in 1949. The heat of the Red Sea,sleeping up on deck and all the British women being called Mrs.Simpson at Port Said.I am at the point where they are heading for Aden.I have a photo of myself there.My parents returned from Australia after two years My mother was very unhappy and the climate did not suit me.They left behind many unhappy families who could not afford the passage home.Just off to read a chapter now while everyone else is out!!

Emptynester Thu 20-Apr-17 13:51:29

I am not in any way doubting your research, but I was amazed to see that Lily and her friends were treated so well on the ship, even though they had the lowest grade tickets. That was not the impression I had been given. Whilst I guessed the denouement, how the story ended was quite a surprise and was fully entertained from start to finish. I loved the detail of the clothes.

Thankyou, a super read.

Greenfinch Sun 23-Apr-17 12:05:53

I haven't enjoyed a book so much in ages.It was extremely well written and held the suspense throughout.I had no idea the book would end like that.All the characters were well defined and all so totally different from each other.There was no-one who did not arouse some sympathy even poor old George.The atmosphere aboard ship was brought out well and the use of the present tense effective.As someone who made this dangerous crossing as a very small child I was delighted by the Crossing the Line ceremony description as I remember being terrified by seeing people being thrown into the swimming pool and fearing the same fate for myself.I still have my certificate from Neptune. I would like to have known a little bit more about Ida and I would like to ask the author how someone like Lily could arouse such passionate feelings in the men she met? They all seemed to have different needs with regard to her.All together a very good read and many thanks for that.

Cosafina Mon 24-Apr-17 15:54:44

I thoroughly enjoyed this book (it was one of those where I even switch the TV off to read a bit more of it) - and it's really made me want to go on a cruise!

I did guess about Edward - leastways, I figured he was probably gay, but now I'm not sure: is he gay or just a crossdresser?

I had expected more of a dark past from George, and I'd have liked to hear more about what became of the Neumanns, as well as Lily's cabin-mates.

Overall, a thoroughly enjoyable read.

granh1 Mon 24-Apr-17 17:26:06

The book is set in 1939, and I was attracted to the cover picture which has the simplicity and impact of a 30’s travel poster. The cover included ‘absorbing’ and ‘deception’, which describes the book. But ‘thrilling’ was not an apt word, I thought the story was too slow to merit this word. I thought it wasn’t a gripping tale or a page turner – so what was it?

The main interest is the characters and how they relate to each other. Various social classes and nationalities are cooped together on a ship heading from England to Australia. Some keep to the usual barriers of class but some are happy to explore and be more open minded - meals, dances, card games, shore excursions are opportunities for such joint exploration.

Each of them has a hidden reason to be heading towards a new life, and their stories gradually unfold. I thought that this gradual exposure of stories did not involve suspense, it became somewhat tedious, a bit like gossip half heard, and somewhat predictable. There are two murders towards the end of the book, but only one is recognised and the perpetrator apprehended.

The ship reminds me of a cruise ship. It has lots of people and is claustrophobic, there is too much food, too many distraction activities and too much water! The stop overs are brief, with just enough time to superficially explore, but not enough time to really see a place.
The book was based on a real life diary of such a crossing, but I would like to ask the author if modern cruising had influenced it too.

mumofmadboys Tue 25-Apr-17 06:19:48

I have enjoyed this book although it took me a while to get into it. I initially found some of the similes rather odd. Did anyone else think that? The characters were well described and I could relate and empathise with Lily. The ending also took me by surprise. I was very glad I had the chance to read it. Thank you GN.

inishowen Thu 27-Apr-17 10:25:56

I read the book in a couple of days as it was so enjoyable. Rachel, I would have liked to know more about the character, Ida. I wonder why you didn't expand on her? She had a lot of issues and was very bitter. I kept thinking "why is she like that"?

I've passed the book onto my friend. She made a voyage like that when she was 21. She traveled alone as her friend backed out at the last minute. A year later she was back home with a broken heart!

coffecup Thu 27-Apr-17 14:08:06

i found this book very enjoyable but a little slow and didn't go into enough detail of the characters, but on the whole a good read

Dadima123 Sun 30-Apr-17 10:07:48

I loved reading the book.
Thank you for sending me a copy.
I loved how Rachel created 'a world' on the liner.
It was completely fascinating and absorbing, especially for me as I have never been on a liner or a cruise of any kind.
I loved the details of the clothes the characters wore, the activities and the entertainment that took place on board. The characters were varied and believable in that they all seemed to have real issues/secrets.
They engaged you so that you wanted to read on and find out more about them.
I would certainly like to read more about Lily - I hope, Rachel, that there is going to be a sequel!?
Thank you again for a very entertaining read.

Candelle Sun 30-Apr-17 11:19:37

I enjoyed 'Dangerous Crossing' but found the middle section a trifle slow. The characters were well observed but I wondered about the relationships of Max and Eliza to those travelling in the class beneath them. Were there really no other 'bright young things' in their class of travel; did they really have to repeatedly join in with those a deck below?

I loved the idea of the 'date by date' story - having undertaken a couple of long sea crossings, I think Rachel did portray the long sea days very well. The excitement of seeing a passing ship!

I wondered about Rachel's sections regarding Italians/German-Austrian Jewish passengers - were they really so segmented and ostracised? It seems shocking today. One small thing - Maria receives notification that her parents had been picked up by the police and deported to a camp. This information was sent by a neighbour but I wondered if a neighbour would really know to which port Maria would be travelling - or perhaps the cruise line forwarded the mail? Just a little niggle...

I thought I had understood the relationship of Edward to Max and Lily and was pleased when I read the ending as I was correct but Rachel still kept me guessing until the very end, as I was not absolutely sure.

I think the book would make an excellent film, with strong portrayals of the characters; shorten or enliven the middle section a little and it would do very well.

Thank you GN for the book, I very much enjoyed it.

GrannyGlyn Sun 30-Apr-17 23:26:25

Well it's 30th April, and I'm ashamed to say I haven't finished this book yet. I am struggling to get into it for some reason. I am finding it a bit slow. I will persevere though and will review it properly when I've finished it. Sorry Rachel and Gransnet.

GrannySue2010 Tue 02-May-17 10:07:27

Loved the book which I found poignant and endearing! Having read many more violent and bloodthirsty crime thrillers it was super to read one that transported you to another era. It was also good to re-live some experiences we have had in Egypt and the Far East! I really enjoyed how the characters developed and was quite sad when it ended. I look forward to reading Rachel's next book!

Maggiemaybe Tue 02-May-17 16:40:42

Thank you again for this excellent book - the best read I've had for ages! The characters were all believable and well-drawn, there were some I could empathise with (I can't enjoy a book if I don't like any of the characters), and some I genuinely worried about and wanted to stay safe and do well. The ports, clothes, meals etc were so beautifully and meticulously depicted, and really brought the crossing alive.

I don't doubt that the book was well researched and based on the diary of a family friend, but I was very surprised by the comfortable and glamorous experience of the £10 Poms. My family were all set to emigrate under this scheme in the 1950s - dad's job and a family home all ready and waiting - when my mother decided she didn't want to go just days before they were to sail and the fare they'd paid for my parents and sister was forfeited (I was to travel free as a babe in arms).

Dad was a coal miner, and the Australian mines needed skilled men. How interesting that Australia had a big demand for and shortage of domestic servants too. Did the author's research shed any light as to why this was?

CariGransnet (GNHQ) Tue 02-May-17 17:01:08

Our answers from Rachel above - we will see if she has time to answer the late entries!

Maggiemaybe Tue 02-May-17 23:23:37

confused What answers, Cari?

Greenfinch Wed 03-May-17 06:54:00

I have been searching and searching grin

merlotgran Wed 03-May-17 09:22:43

Sorry, mine is a late entry.

I really enjoyed this book especially the first half of Lily's journey as I did it in reverse as an RAF brat in the early fifties.

Loved all the character and destination depictions and the slow build up to Max's fate. Until the penny dropped where Edward was concerned, I kept hoping it wasn't Lily who was taken off the ship in the first chapter.

I now want to learn about her future so will you be writing a sequel, Rachel?