Running Against the Tide
It is 1800, and Ginny Marcombe is the son her father, Josiah, never had. She works with him in his shipping firm in the East End of London, but when the son of a friend arrives with plans for a new type of ship that will fit the new West India Dock that is being built, Josiah sees wedding bells. Not interested in domestic pursuits, Ginny resists, wanting to remain a businesswoman. And then she meets Edward, a lighterman, and far beneath her in status.
As Ginny’s story winds its way to a conclusion, helped not a little by an engaging younger sister who is not above blackmail to get her own way, incident is piled on incident – the press gang, a fire, deaths, a birth – giving a picture of what life was like in the early 19th century for the richer magnates and the poorer ferry boat men. Joanna Barnden is a creative writing tutor and short story author. This is her first full-length novel, and is a well-written, pleasant read, although for me it did lack a certain period atmosphere despite the well-researched historical detail.