Published July 1st 2006 by Margaret K. McElderry Books (first published March 2nd 2006)
Victory is a novel for older children and young adults and can appeal to both boys and girls. It’s the story of an eleven-year old boy who is pressed into English Naval Service in 1806, and a 12-year old girl who is forced to move to Connecticut when her widowed English mother marries an American.
Molly hates where she lives – she hates everything about her new country and pines for London. She purchases a very old book at a Mystic Seaport bookshop and immediately feels some sort of ‘connection’ with it. In its pages is a secret that has been kept for close to 200 years and when she discovers part of it she finds herself haunted by a young sailor who lived hundreds of years before.
11-year old Sam Robbins grew up on an 1800’s English country farm, his family are servant farmers to the family in the ‘big house.’ His father beats him at the slightest provocation; his mother does her best to protect him from dangers that are all around. One day his mother’s brother, Uncle Charlie, visits the family and offers to take Sam back to the coast where he will learn ship building skills. His father agrees – as long as he gets everything the boy earns until he’s an adult. Off Sam goes with Charlie and for the first week he is extremely happy – he has his own bed, new-ish clothes, and for the first time in his life – as much food as he can eat.
One day after work Sam and Uncle Charlie are walking home when they are rounded up by a Press-Gang and find themselves property of the Royal Navy. They immediately put to sea and don’t see Portsmouth again for 3 years. Sam is on board the HMS Victory, Vice-Admiral Lord Nelson’s ship. Sam learns to be a sailor and it is soon what he loves.
Through dreams, or ‘hauntings’, Molly relives Sam’s life on board and it reaches an apex when the Battle of Trafalgar occurs.
This was a very good book. The story kept me involved and even though I finished it yesterday, I’m still thinking about it. I like the way the author wove the stories together, finally putting Sam and Molly together in an unexpected way in the end. The writing is plain – meaning – the author tells her story simply without many extraneous details, historical or otherwise, which would have easily bogged down the book. Susan Cooper is one of The Board’s favorite author.
Rating 4 out of 5 paws
Way back when we read these books and loved them – they’re on our to-read list again to review!!
More books by the author:
The above ship is the HMS Victory.