Ages 12 and up
Random House UK, 2006, 0-370-32891-4
Sam Robbins is not happy living in his family home so when his Uncle Charlie arrives and offers to take Sam to live with him in Chatham, Sam is delighted. Even the prospect of working in the rope works sounds attractive. Unfortunately Sam has barely got used to being away from home when he and Uncle Charlie are seized by a navy press gang and soon the pair are on the Victory, a warship which is going to be fighting the French in the near future. After some time at sea someone very special comes on board the Victory: Admiral Nelson himself.
Hundreds of years into the future Molly Jennings is doing her best to get accustomed to her new life in America. Try as she might however, she cannot help thinking about England and feeling horribly homesick. It’s not that she doesn’t like her mother’s new husband, her stepbrother, and her new baby brother. It’s just that the big house by the sea in Connecticut simply isn’t home.
Then, one wet day Molly and her family go to a bookshop. Molly finds herself buying a book about Nelson. Back at home she discovers that the book contains an incredible genuine memento from the famous battle of Trafalgar. She learns that the memento – a scrap from a flag – once belonged to someone called Sam Robbins.
Somehow Molly and Sam’s lives begin to come together, the past and the present occasionally melding. Both unhappy and both needing some peace of mind and spirit, the two young people reach out to each other across the years.
This extraordinary piece of historical fiction has a spine-tingling element of fantasy and mystery which runs throughout the book. Is Sam’s ghost visiting Molly or is Molly being taken back in time? Is it perhaps a bit of both? Whatever the answer is, the story is gripping, poignant, and leaves the reader feeling thoroughly satisfied and just a little spooked.
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