Dangerous Crossing – Rachel Rhys
England, September 1939
Lily Shepherd boards a cruise liner for a new life in Australia and is plunged into a world of cocktails, jazz and glamorous friends. But as the sun beats down, poisonous secrets begin to surface. Suddenly Lily finds herself trapped with nowhere to go …
Australia, six-weeks later
The world is at war, the cruise liner docks, and a beautiful young woman is escorted onto dry land in handcuffs.
What has she done?
My thanks to Alison at Transworld for my review copy and to Anne for giving me the chance to join the tour.
All Aboard – the Dangerous Crossing Blog Tour is about to leave the harbour…
A young woman is leaving England to sail to a new life in Australia. She leaves behind her family and is taking the memory of her beau but a fresh start in a far-off land awaits. But all may not go according to plan as when the boat reaches Australia the police are waiting.
Dangerous Crossing opens with the promise to the readers that something unpleasant has happened on the long voyage. But we learn no more at that stage as Rachel Rhys takes us from one harbour (in the Southern Hemisphere) back to 5 weeks earlier when the same ship is leaving England and we meet Lily saying her farewells to her family.
The scenes are set brilliantly with Rachel Rhys capturing the feeling of the time and the mood of the passengers. It is 1939, the world is on the cusp of war but Mr Chamberlain has promised peace and as the crowds on the harbour-side wave off their friends the feeling of optimism and excitement flows from the pages.
As we join the travelers and get drawn into the story we discover more about the key characters. Lily and her new cabin-mates are all heading south to enter domestic service. Their fees have been paid but their cabin is of cattle class standard and functional at best. However, there are opportunities to meet the first class travelers too and one family in particular are breaking ranks and not mixing in the ‘better class circles’. Why they choose to mix outwith their social groups is one of the mysteries we need to discover as we read.
The story unfolds at a pace I found perfectly suited a cruise liner making its way through the oceans. Life on board is wonderfully depicted: finding a 4th for cards, bouts of sea-sickness, dining in polite company and the irritations of living in the pockets of strangers. Throw into the mix the political tension with a war brewing, some who believe Mr Hitler is a positive force who are sailing beside people they know to be Jewish. We have stops in Gibraltar and Italy (where the Italians cause outrage by not behaving in the way a Brit finds acceptable) and you can feel that you are very much taking part in the Dangerous Journey too.
Oh yes – don’t forget the name of the book…as nice as things may seem on the surface there is trouble ahead. Once you are deep into the pages you will want to keep reading as Rachel Rhys weaves her world around you.
This is not a high octane thriller but it doesn’t need to be – it is hugely engaging and wonderfully written. It gave off an Agatha Christie vibe and was every bit entertaining as any of Dame Agatha’s tales. I very much enjoyed Dangerous Crossing and would not hesitate to recommend it.
Dangerous Crossing is published by Black Swan and is available in paperback and digital format. You can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dangerous-Crossing-captivating-Richard-page-turner-ebook/dp/B01IW4A22Q/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8