Sea Dust

Written by Margaret Muir
Review by Fenella Miller

After the death of her child, Emma’s life is in ruins. In order to survive she must escape from her brutal husband and bury the guilt from her past. A chance encounter with a French seaman on Whitby cliffs provides her with the opportunity she needs. With his help she stows away on the Morning Star, the same vessel that her 13-year-old son has joined as a cabin boy. Following a vicious attack by a crew member, Emma is nursed back to health by Charles Witton. However when the ship reaches Cape Town more disaster awaits her and her new found happiness is shattered.

This is a well-written and interesting book which has been impeccably researched. The vivid descriptions of Victorian Whitby, and ship board life, bring the places alive. The author makes you feel as though you are walking through the streets and can actually smell the fish entrails and the body odours of the poor folk you pass. The ship-board scenes make the reader understand what it is that draws men to the sea despite its dangers. In this book the characters seem less important than the sea, the ship and the places. It is like looking through a window into the past – catching glimpses of emotions and events but remaining outside, not becoming involved. Sea Dust is a love story, but not between the main characters, but a romance of the sea and tall sailing ships.

This novel will appeal to anyone who has an interest in things maritime and a love of the past.