Monday, May 11, 2015
Book Review: An Ocean Atween Us by Angela Morrison
Author: Angela Morrison
Enjoyment Rating: ***
Source: Digital Copy
Content Alert: A clean read
At fourteen, Will Glover has just recognized that he's head over heels in love with Lucie, a girl from his Scottish village, when his father announces that the family is moving to Nova Scotia to work in a newly-established coal mine. Will can't believe his bad luck, and tries everything (even an attempted elopement) to get out of his move. As the years pass, Will's role changes from dependent child to responsible adult, but his love for Lucie doesn't fade, at least until he meets Jenny.
There were many admirable things about An Ocean Atween Us. Morrison, who drew on old family journals and stories to create her novel, definitely did her homework. She got the details of coal mines and transatlantic voyages down pat. She also wrote the book in a Scottish brogue, which, frankly, I found annoying after a bit because it definitely slowed my reading down and made it so that I always held the characters at a bit of a distance. I think keeping a few of the tags (dinna or lassie, for example) and ditching the rest would have been a better strategy here. Finally, I got really sick of Will mooning over Lucie in the novel, especially after he married Jenny (there's a scene of pretty stark cruelty in their relationship toward the end of the novel that made it hard for me to identify with Will any more). I also think that the setup in the final chapters may lead to a swift demise for Jenny early in the next novel.