Publisher and Publication Date: W. W. Norton Company. June 2, 2020.
Genre: Historical fiction.
Audience: Readers of sea adventures, sister relationships, travel, and romance.
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Thea and Kay are half sisters. They have the same father but different mothers. Thea is the older sister by several years. She is the older sister but also like a mother to Kay. Both of their mothers died when they were young. Their father recently died.
When the story begins it is 1911. The sisters are in Nova Scotia. Thea is a newlywed. Her husband is the commander of the ship, Morning Light. The sisters join Francis during his first command of the ship. Their travels will take them around the world.
Kay is a young girl of 12. While they are in Micronesia, Thea adopts a young boy and he joins the family. Kay has mixed feelings about this decision. Her feelings continue through the years until the story ends.
It is rare to come across a sea adventure story; and especially to find a story of two sisters experiencing a sea adventure and traveling around the world. This reason alone makes The Voyage of the Morning Light a standalone in historical fiction. This is the first reason why I love this story: it is a unique story and a unique environment for two females.
2. I love reading all the details related by Kay of what she saw and experienced. Life on board the ship. The waves, storms, and the various colors of the ocean. Sea life. The islands, including the people who lived there. The Anglo-Western people who lived on the islands or continents. They were often missionaries, teachers, and pastors.
3. Kay is a strong-willed and intelligent young girl. Her personality and Thea’s more Victorian thought and behavior caused friction. They are two females from different generations.
4. The sisters love one another but their relationship led to disagreements and strife. So in this story there is a family-sister theme.
5. Thea is a newly married woman who has a focus of pleasing her husband. I saw through Kay’s eyes marriage and family during this era.
6. I understand a little better the Western thought and attitude versus people who were not.
What I did not like about the story is the rushed feel towards the last part of the book. They return to life on land. Francis joins the war during World War I. Kay grows up. The story had moved at a steady pace in order to understand the characters and their individual stories. The last part of the book felt rushed, and I felt rushed and wanted to skip the whole last part except for the boy who had been adopted by Thea. Lastly, he alone should have his own story.
Themes in the story: perseverance, courage, bravery, acceptance, family honor, circle of life, honor, romance, marriage, pregnancy, resistance, conformity, hope, and tolerance.