The Night Ship – ARC Book Review

Title:- The Night Ship

Author:- Jess Kidd

Date published:- will be published on 4th August 2022

No. of pages:- 400 pages

Genre:- Historical Fiction


Plot:- 5/5

Writing:- 4/5

Overall:- 4.5/5

Based on a real-life event, an epic historical novel from the award-winning author of Things in Jars that illuminates the lives of two characters: a girl shipwrecked on an island off Western Australia and, three hundred years later, a boy finding a home with his grandfather on the very same island.

1629: A newly orphaned young girl named Mayken is bound for the Dutch East Indies on the Batavia, one of the greatest ships of the Dutch Golden Age. Curious and mischievous, Mayken spends the long journey going on misadventures above and below the deck, searching for a mythical monster. But the true monsters might be closer than she thinks.

1989: A lonely boy named Gil is sent to live off the coast of Western Australia among the seasonal fishing community where his late mother once resided. There, on the tiny reef-shrouded island, he discovers the story of an infamous shipwreck…​

With her trademark “thrilling, mysterious, twisted, but more than anything, beautifully written” (Graham Norton, New York Times bestselling author) storytelling, Jess Kidd weaves a unputdownable and charming tale of friendship and sacrifice, brutality and forgiveness.

This is a haunting and beautifully written story that is actually based on a true story.

The story sets back and forth between 1629 and 1989. In the year 1629, after her mother dies, Mayken travels through the ship with her maid, traveling in Batavia, one of the greatests ships at the time. With tales of monsters and stories, Mayken soon experiences the true monster. Back in 1989. a boy named Gil is sent to live on the western coast of Australia and joins the fishing community where his mother used to live, where he hears stories about the shipwreck. Both Mayken and Gil are nine year old and both have lost their mothers when the story is taking place.

This is the first time I am reading from this author and I didn’t expect this book to be really good. Truly haunting and engaging, and it was actually fascinating to read, considering the fact that this was based on a true story. The most interesting parts was when reading Mayken’s part set in 1629–I don’t really read books based in the 15th century so it was actually interesting. There were some heartbreaking and emotional moments in the book, but I found this book really interesting and engaging. The author must have done so much of tremendous research, particularly when describing about the social status, which existed mostly back in the 15th century, unhygienic conditions, brutalities…at times, you could appreciate your life in the present day.Some of the characters are “real” characters and so it shows how much the author has done research in just writing this book. If you like a haunting historical fiction that will draw you into the story, then this book is one for you–worth five stars!

Big thanks to Netgally and the publisher for the ARC in exchange for a honest review

Jess Kidd was brought up in London as part of a large family from county Mayo and has been praised for her unique fictional voice. Her debut, Himself, was shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards in 2016. She won the Costa Short Story Award the same year. Her second novel, The Hoarder, published as Mr. Flood’s Last Resort in the U.S. and Canada was shortlisted for the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year 2019. Both books were BBC Radio 2 Book Club Picks. Her latest book, the Victorian detective tale Things in Jars, has been released to critical acclaim. Jess’s work has been described as ‘Gabriel García Márquez meets The Pogues.’

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