Monday, June 19, 2006


Victory by Susan Cooper, 2006

If you loved the opening battle seqence of Master and Commander or have never missed an episode of Horatio Hornblower, then you will love this book.

Molly Jennings is so homesick for England she can hardly stand it. She is trying to make a the best of her new home in Connecticut and her new stepfamily but she longs for the green parks and red tile roofs of London. She is worried about starting life in a new school where no one will understand about her "sideways" moments. Molly has a mild form of epilepsy.

During a visit to Mystic Seaport she finds an old book on the life of Vice Admiral Lord Nelson in a bookshop. She feels as if the book is calling to her. On the trip home she falls asleep in the car and has her first "dream."

Sam is eleven years old in 1803 when he is captured by a press gang and forced to join the Royal Navy. His new home is HMS Victory, Nelson's flagship. Nelson is hunting the French.

Molly is not aware of her dreams but finds moments from them intruding on her real life. Her book about Nelson yields an amazing discovery, hidden in the binding. The words, "This fragment of the great man's life and death passed on to my by my grandmother at her death in eighteen eighty-nine" written on an old envelope seem tie Molly to the events of October 1805 and Battle of Trafalgar.

Family ties, home and love are at the heart of this story. It was lovely to see step-families presented in such a positive way.

History, mystery, sort of time travel-ly, I loved this book, reading it nonstop, straight through to the end.

HMS Victory Website (the official site but the pages listing the crew do not seem to work)

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