Black Water Born
Black Water Born integrates the elements of many different genres: At the beginning, it’s strongly inspirational; at the end, it’s pure adventure. Full of family secrets and scandals, the novel also expresses a political message about the treatment of sealers. Yet any discerning reader will soon discover the book’s true nature: it is a lovely, old-fashioned romance novel.
Lucky has been in love since childhood with Helen, an intelligent redhead from a local Newfoundland family. But Lucky is “black water born”: the son of a woman pulled from the sea who dies without telling anyone her name. Because of this, people are quick to suspect his character. Lucky drinks, fights, and refuses to attend church or school, thus doing everything in his power to support their prejudices. Ostracized because of a misunderstanding – one of many in this story – he flees to St. Johns to look for work. There, he runs illegal booze, hangs out with a prostitute, and takes in a pregnant girl from back home. Meanwhile, the devoted local schoolmaster courts Helen, but her heart is with Lucky. She defies her parents’ wishes by chasing him down, to the point of disguising herself as a sealer and stowing away on a boat bound for the ice floes. There, they are thrust into a struggle for survival, as victims of the horrific treatment of sealers by ship captains in the early 20th century.
Though misunderstanding and miscommunication form many of the conflicts in this novel, Fara Spence has penned a sweet story with a warm heart.