The Voyage of the Sandpiper
Hope House Press
Published July 17, 2019
About The Voyage of the Sandpiper
“Your life will never be exciting if you’re afraid to risk becoming cold and wet. You and I, we throw caution to the wind! We swim to the greatest depths! We face the sea!”
Summer, 1939. When fifteen-year-old Agatha’s mother falls gravely ill, she is shipped off to the coast of Maine to live with her aunt, Edith Philipa Gordan, an eccentric writer who hasn’t finished a novel in decades and paints birds obsessively. What begins as a dull summer immediately takes a turn towards adventure with the arrival of Edie’s old beau, Horatio Macleay, and his handsome nephew.
With WWII looming on the horizon, Agatha and her new group of friends s race against time and across continents to complete their mission before it is too late. Along the way, Agatha learns the importance of trusting in the perfect timing of God and discovers the power of hope.
I think my favorite thing about this book is the time at which the story is set. If you read historical fiction at all, you’ve probably read at least one book about WWII– there are tons of books that focus on that time period, and it’s easy to understand why.
I liked that THE VOYAGE OF THE SANDPIPER showed events leading up to the war. There were a couple of moments where things came up that I had never thought about, known, or realized before. (For instance, when Germany adopted laws stripping Jewish citizens of certain rights, one character speaks against it, and another responds pointing out that she’s an American and making a comparison between the German laws against Jews and the Jim Crow laws against black Americans. I can’t believe I’ve never thought of those two things side by side before– both horribly wrong. I just hadn’t considered them both in the same breath.)
Another thing I liked was the slow burn romance. There’s some tension and attraction, but so many other thing are happening. It wouldn’t have felt authentic at all if the characters stopped in the midst of a crisis to explore their feelings for one another. I think it would have been more satisfying if there had been a more active resolution to that part of the story, though.
I do wish that Agatha (who’s called Piper in the book) had more of an active role in the story. In terms of the active, heroic role, the story belongs more to her aunt Edie, and Agatha functions more as a sort of sidekick. I found myself wishing that it had been Agatha in the driver’s seat for some of the big intense moments in the story, instead of Agatha waiting to hear how her aunt manages to save the day.
I thought the spiritual elements were well-integrated into the story and felt natural to the characters. And I enjoyed the evolution of the characters and their relationships with one another. Overall, I think this is a nice read for historical fiction fans, and does a great job exploring some events leading up to WWII.
Recommended for Ages 13 up.
Some characters are Jewish. All are European or American.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Some attraction between Agatha and a boy.
Agatha and her aunt depend on their faith and take courage from reading the Bible to face their fears. A couple times, the story shows Agatha reading the Bible and how the scriptures specifically apply to situations she faces.
A brief description of a concentration camp. Situations of peril or urgency.
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