Thursday, January 11, 2018

Review: A Dangerous Crossing by Rachel Rhys

Title: A Dangerous Crossing
Author: Rachel Rhys
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Atria
Publish Date: January 9, 2018
Source: Publisher

What's the Story?:

From "1939: Europe is on the brink of war when young Lily Shepherd boards an ocean liner in Essex, bound for Australia. She is ready to start anew, leaving behind the shadows in her past. The passage proves magical, complete with live music, cocktails, and fancy dress balls. With stops at exotic locations along the way—Naples, Cairo, Ceylon—the voyage shows Lily places she’d only ever dreamed of and enables her to make friends with those above her social station, people who would ordinarily never give her the time of day. She even allows herself to hope that a man she couldn’t possibly have a future with outside the cocoon of the ship might return her feelings.

But Lily soon realizes that she’s not the only one hiding secrets. Her newfound friends—the toxic wealthy couple Eliza and Max; Cambridge graduate Edward; Jewish refugee Maria; fascist George—are also running away from their pasts. As the glamour of the voyage fades, the stage is set for something sinister to occur. By the time the ship docks, two passengers are dead, war has been declared, and Lily’s life will be changed irrevocably."

My Two Cents:

"A Dangerous Crossing" is the story of Lily, a young woman seeking to put the bad things in her life behind here. Europe is on the cusp of war and she decides to leave England behind for a new life in Australia. The ship that she boards is filled with people from all walks of life, some very different from herself. When she is taken under the wings of some newfound friends, she realizes that appearances can be deceiving and that almost everyone has their own secrets.

The characters had a tendency to surprise throughout the book. Lily is hiding her own secrets in her past that slowly begin to unfurl as the book goes on and we find out what she is running from. Two of the most interesting parts to me were when Lily interacted with a sister and brother traveling together. The sister makes it very clear that she is leaving much behind for her brother but that she is happy to do so. Lily keeps wondering how this can be. The author is at her best when she is slowly showing what is going on with the brother and why he is upending his entire life. This results in one of the most shocking endings I have come across recently.

Rachel Rhys is the pen name for a well-published thriller writer and that style definitely comes across in the book. While this book does feel like a traditional historical fiction, the author is a master at twists and turns. The opening is electric and makes you want to start reading right away. There were a few parts where it seemed like too much was going on and it was hard to keep track of where the story lines were going. I thought things could have been streamlined a bit, however, this was an exciting story.



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