This is a first for me. I’ve been reviewing books for years, and this is the first book that I just couldn’t make myself finish. When reading for pleasure, I typically will jettison a book that doesn’t suck me in within the first few chapters. I gave No Ocean Too Wide a serious try. I read over half of the book! I just couldn’t force myself to go any further. I tried. I really tried.
No Ocean Too Wide was the sort of book I usually love: historical fiction. Set at the turn of the century, it chronicles the story of four siblings, three of which found themselves as “British Home Children”.
Between 1869 and the late 1930s, over 100,000 juvenile migrants were sent to Canada from the British Isles during the child emigration movement. Motivated by social and economic forces, churches and philanthropic organizations sent orphaned, abandoned and pauper children to Canada. Many believed that these children would have a better chance for a healthy, moral life in rural Canada, where families welcomed them as a source of cheap farm labour and domestic help.
After arriving by ship, the children were sent to distributing and receiving homes, such as Fairknowe in Brockville, and then sent on to farmers in the area. Although many of the children were poorly treated and abused, others experienced a better life here than if they had remained in the urban slums of England. Many served with the Canadian and British Forces during both World Wars.https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/immigration/immigration-records/home-children-1869-1930/Pages/home-children.aspx
Having just read Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate, I was expecting something similar (I highly recommend Before We Were Yours, by the way!). While there are similarities in the stories, there’s no comparison in the books. I just could not believe how slow-moving the storyline is in No Ocean Too Wide or how little character development there was.
I can’t recommend this one.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.