ABOUT THE BOOK
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”.
No Ocean Too Wide by Carrie Turansky
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Can you imagine being a little seven-year-old girl and wondering when you will see your mommy again? How about fourteen-year-old twins who are separated from each other and feel like they are missing half of themselves? What does a young woman do when she discovers that her two younger sisters and brother have been sent to another country and now appear to be lost to her? These are the situations that the four siblings of the McAlister family encounter in No Ocean Too Wide and it is a story that will remain with you long after you've finished reading it.
Children separated from their parents isn't a new theme in fiction but the story that Carrie Turansky shares is based on true happenings that weren't familiar to me. It is very apparent that she did extensive research to share about these poor or orphaned children in England who were sent to Canada to be placed in what was supposed to be safe havens. Instead, they often encountered abuse and No Ocean Too Wide relates the trauma that these children must have experienced as they were forced to work as indentured servants.
My heart broke for these three younger McAlister children who were removed from their home when their mother was hospitalized and sent by ship to Canada. Fear, longing, and homesickness...so much for young children to handle. I could feel their older sister Laura's determination to somehow find them and her fear that the man who was offering to help her was expecting something in return. I liked and admired the young British lawyer who wanted to help and I could see how he began to realize the faults in this system that was supposed to be helping needy children.
This is a sad story but it is also a story of hope, faith, and determination. The McAlister's and Andrew Fraser were all believers and even though there were times when they wondered why God was allowing this to happen, they still believed in the power of prayer. One of the prayers is especially beautiful as Andrew petitions God to help this family.
"Please help us, Lord. Watch over Garth and see that he is released at the right time. Take care of Grace , wherever she is, and help us find her. Restore Katie's health and spirit and give her a bright future when she returns home to England. Most of all, comfort Laura, take care of her every need, and give her all her heart desires."
I do believe that solicitor Andrew Fraser is a keeper!
Even though this book is set in 1909 it will surely cause today's readers to think about the children who are currently in foster care or awaiting adoption. I recommend No Ocean Too Wide to anyone who enjoys historical Christian fiction and I am looking forward to the next book of the McAlister Family series to learn if this family can finally be reunited!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and I was under no obligation to write a positive review. These are my own opinions.
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