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  • Writer's pictureThe Bossy Bookworm

Review of The Night Ship by Jess Kidd

Kidd's dual-timeline historical fiction, based on actual events, shines in its vivid settings, richly imagined characters, sea voyage details, and magical realism elements.

The Night Ship is historical fiction with a magical realism undercurrent that's told in two timelines. I didn't realize up front that this is based upon a true story, and now I'm even more deeply haunted.

The Night Ship centers around the dilemmas, conflicts, and discoveries of two characters separated by three centuries: Mayken, a Dutch girl on an ocean voyage who is shipwrecked off the coast of Australia, and Gil, an eccentric Australian boy living three hundred years later on the same island, trying to move past trauma and make a home with his grandfather, a stranger to him.

As with Things in Jars, in The Night Ship Kidd offers twists and turns, irresistible protagonists, and vivid setting detail. I absolutely adore Kidd's writing and her gorgeous, evocative settings, her wonderfully imperfect and intriguing characters, her foreboding undercurrents, and her pacing and structure.

I was particularly taken with the echoes through time that linked Mayken and Gil--shadowy, dark forces; the scrying stone; their struggles to overcome broken and lost mothers; the way they each literally held in their hands the last remnants of their mothers and considered allowing them to drift away in the wind.

Do you have any Bossy thoughts about this book?

Jess Kidd is the author of Things in Jars, a mystery I gave four Bossy stars--and listed in two Greedy Reading Lists, Six Spooky, Gothic Tales and Six Historical Fiction Mysteries Sure to Intrigue You.

Kidd is also the author of Himself and Mr. Flood's Last Resort.

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