Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Blog Tour: Far Across the Ocean by Suzie Hull

Right now we seem to be going through a golden age for historical fiction set during WWII. Now, I am still more than happy to read it, but I know that there are plenty of people for whom there is such a thing of too much of a good thing. I therefore bring you a review of Far Across the Ocean by Suzie Hull which brings us some of the familiar themes such as the struggle of surviving war but this time it is the late 1900s through to WWI. And whilst a portion of the book is set in France, the rest of it is set in Madagascar and Bradford in England. I am not sure I have every read a book set in Madagascar. 

Clara Haycroft was just a young girl when she and her missionary parents fled the Indian Ocean island of Madagascar due to an uprising against French colonial rule. When the boat sinks, Clara is separated from her younger sister and her parents and she is the only one to survive. Sent to recover from her injuries to her extended family in Bradford, Clara really isn't sure exactly what happened to her family. Clara's surname is changed to Thornton and she is bought up by her protective guardians, but she is reminded of her past every time she looks in the mirror and sees her scars.

When she is jilted at the altar, Clara decides that the time is right to find the truth, but her strict aunt is against the idea. Luckily, through business connections, she is able to arrange her journey accompanied by her maid. If only it wasn't also with an irritating, uptight and arrogant French man named Xavier Mourain. 

Clara returns to Madagascar, but it does seem as though revisiting the past is raising more questions than answers. What did happen to her mother and younger sister?   The trip does also bring some answers though, particularly as she warms to Xavier and soon they fall in love. They return to Xavier's home in France and settled down in married bliss, until reality interupts in the form of the German invasion of France.

I really enjoyed this book. I loved that the settings were out of the ordinary. I also enjoyed reading as Clara and her family overcame the challenges that were put in front of them through their tenacity and resourcefulness. 

I hadn't heard of Suzie Hull before I was offered this blog tour. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for her next book which will be partially set in Malta, and her debut novel, In This Foreign Land sounds good too!

Rating 4/5

Thanks to Rachel's Random Resources and Netgalley for sending me a copy of this book for review purpose.

About the Book

Far Across The Ocean

Don't miss the next achingly romantic read from Suzie Hull, winner of the RNA Joan Hessayon award 2022

December 1913. Clara Thornton won't allow being jilted at the altar to squash her spirit. Against the wishes of her aunt and uncle, Clara decides to travel to Madagascar to learn more about the tragic shipwreck that took the lives of her missionary family, and marked her forever.

Clara is escorted abroad by Xavier Mourain, a handsome young merchant who works with her uncle. The two of them start off on the wrong foot, but Clara can't help but be drawn to the mysterious Frenchman who helps her unravel the mystery that has always haunted her. But as their love blossoms, war begins. And the world will never be the same again.

For Clara, all the answers seem to lie far across the ocean. But some of them might be closer than she thinks...

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About the Author

Award winning author Suzie Hull lives in Northern Ireland with her family and numerous rescue cats.

As a child she dreamt of being a ballet dancer but instead trained as a Montessori Nursery teacher and has spent the last thirty years working with children in a variety of settings. Suzie has always had an enduring passion for reading and history.

Suzie HulI won the RNA Joan Hessayon Award 2022 with her debut novel, In This Foreign Land.

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