This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Review Exchange Program, which is open to all authors and is completely free. Simply put, you agree to provide an honest review an author's book in exchange for the author doing the same for you. What sites your reviews are posted on (B&N, Amazon, etc.) and whether you send digital (eBook, PDF, Word, etc.) or hard copies of your books to each other for review is up to you. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email, and be sure to describe your book or include a link to your Readers' Favorite review page or Amazon page.
This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Donation Program, which was created to help nonprofit and charitable organizations (schools, libraries, convalescent homes, soldier donation programs, etc.) by providing them with free books and to help authors garner more exposure for their work. This author is willing to donate free copies of their book in exchange for reviews (if circumstances allow) and the knowledge that their book is being read and enjoyed. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email. Be sure to tell the author who you are, what organization you are with, how many books you need, how they will be used, and the number of reviews, if any, you would be able to provide.
Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite
An Ocean Away: A Journey of Hardship and Survival by Peter Clarke is a well-crafted historical novel that is both touching and hopeful. Set in the mid-1800s, the story is about William (a.k.a. Bill) Smith who is sent off by his father to Belfast, hoping that his son would be able to get aboard one of the ships and find a better life in a different place. Being young and inexperienced, William has to rely on his wits in order to get employment. Soon enough, he manages to join the crew of the steamship Lady Grace, en route to Australia, where people pay well to get there for the booming gold rush. Aboard the ship, he learns and hones his craft in seamanship while making new friends. However, it is not smooth sailing (pun intended) as nature’s wrath will threaten their voyage, and one of his fellow crew members will test his limits. If he ever gets to his destination, William will be forced to forget the past and make the best of the future—Australia is his future.
An Ocean Away does not have many complex characters and it is because of this non-complexity that these characters become essential. The characters do have a little similarity in the way Conrad or Melville developed their characters. What makes William three-dimensional is that you know his internal and external characteristics well enough so that you do not question his motivations. Peter Clarke brilliantly combines two conflicts—man versus man and man versus nature. Yet, it has a simple plot line about a young man hoping to find better fortune elsewhere, but the unpredictability of his fate during the voyage induces your curiosity. Even before William boards the ship, there are already intense scenes that pit William against his immediate vicinity and also that of his family. This novel is about the appalling yet hopeful experience of finding your luck in a big, scary world, and if this is what you like to read, An Ocean Away is the book for you.