Between the years of 1869 to 1939 more than 100,000 poor British children were sent across the ocean to Canada with the promise of a better life. Those who took them in to work as farm laborers or household servants were told they were orphans–but was that the truth?
After the tragic loss of their father, the McAlister family is living at the edge of the poorhouse in London in 1908, leaving their mother to scrape by for her three younger children, while oldest daughter, Laura, works on a large estate more than an hour away. When Edna McAlister falls gravely ill and is hospitalized, twins Katie and Garth and eight-year-old Grace are forced into an orphans’ home before Laura is notified about her family’s unfortunate turn of events in London. With hundreds of British children sent on ships to Canada, whether truly orphans or not, Laura knows she must act quickly. But finding her siblings and taking care of her family may cost her everything.
Andrew Fraser, a wealthy young British lawyer and heir to the estate where Laura is in service, discovers that this common practice of finding new homes for penniless children might not be all that it seems. Together Laura and Andrew form an unlikely partnership. Will they arrive in time? Will their friendship blossom into something more?
Inspired by true events, this moving novel follows Laura as she seeks to reunite her family and her siblings who, in their darkest hours, must cling to the words from Isaiah: “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God”.
History comes to life within the pages of this latest novel from Carrie Turansky. Prior to picking up this book, I was not aware of the painful, heart-wrenching history of the English Home Children. Before I started reading this book I took a little time to familiarize myself with some of this history. I saw the faces of some of the real-life children that lived through this reality. However, picking up this book bought it all vividly to life.
I appreciated the character growth throughout the story. We witness first hand how Laura McAlister takes matters into her own hands and watches as her choices to rush ahead of God instead of taking time to pray to lead her down a few difficult paths that could have been avoided. This is something that I feel we all could learn from. It’s so easy to think that we know the right answer and to rush ahead.
Andrew Fraser has a big heart and desires to help others less fortunate. However, because of his affluent upbringing, he often sees things a little more rose-colored than they are. As time progresses, he begins to gain a clearer picture. Through it all His big heart shines through. He has a strong faith, and while he’s not perfect and makes mistakes, he shares his faith with others and helps bolster them along the journey.
It is easy to read this story and feel heartbroken for the children and what they went through in this story and yet have a measure of disconnect because it is all the past. The sad reality is that children are still being mistreated and hurt today. It is just as important today that we watch out for children as it was 100 years ago!
While this is a heavy topic, there are moments of laughter and sweet moments of new love. Within the pages, you are invited to an intimate look at both the worst and the best of humanity. I do have to say that I was not satisfied with the ending, as I was hoping for a little more closure. I’m really glad that there will be more stories to come, and you can be sure that I’ll be first in line to see what happens next!
(I receive complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including Netgalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own.)
No Ocean Too Wide (McAlister Family #1)
About the Author:
Carrie Turanksy has loved reading since she first visited the library as a young child and checked out a tall stack of picture books. Her love for writing began when she penned her first novel at age twelve. She is now the award-winning author of seventeen inspirational romance novels and novellas. Carrie and her husband, Scott, who is a pastor, author, and speaker, have been married for more than thirty-five years and make their home in New Jersey. They often travel together on ministry trips and to visit their five adult children and three grandchildren. Carrie leads women’s ministry at her church, and when she is not writing she enjoys spending time working in her flower gardens and cooking healthy meals for friends and family. She loves to connect with reading friends.
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No Ocean Too Wide (McAlister Family #1)