Between Two Seas

Written by Marie-Louise Jensen
Review by Val Loh

Marianne begins her story in Grimsby in a world of poverty, cruelty and illness. The victim of bullies, Marianne, is illegitimate and is not allowed to forget it. This heartbreaking situation only adds to her misery and distress as she tries to cope with her ailing mother, who is dying. She makes a promise to her mother that once she has died Marianne will travel to Denmark to find her father. Her mother has hidden sufficient funds to pay for her daughter’s passage, even though she desperately needed medicine.

The journey Marianne embarks upon to reach the treacherous Danish shores is described carefully and with detail. The town she arrives in is no stranger to wrecks, storms, flooding and death; yet they continue and adapt in order to survive.

Marianne is finding her own identity as she is born of two cultures. She is also between her past and her present. Keeping her promise to seek out her father, who knows nothing of her, she has to be strong enough to face an uncertain future on her own if she is to be rejected. It is with great uncertainty that she embarks on a journey from which there is no going back.

The descriptive narrative, told in the first person, drives the story. Marianne faces a culture which is very different to that of her mother’s, but she too strives to adapt and find happiness. This is a very vivid and dramatic book suitable for a more mature reader.