September 22, 2007
Star of the Sea by Joseph O'Connor
Book Readers Review
This book is set in 1847 and tells the story of the passengers who are emigrating to America on the ship The Star of the Sea in the hope of finding a better life for themselves after the potato famine in Ireland. Grantley Dixon, an American journalist and one of the first class passengers, tells the tale and it is written as though compiled from a variety of historical documents including diaries, letters and eyewitness accounts. The lives of both first class and steerage travellers are interwoven and the story is about why they are on the Star, where they have come from and why they are going to America. Lord Merridith, a bankrupt aristocrat, has had to leave his home in Ireland and is travelling with his wife, young sons and their nurse Mary Duane. The book is described as a murder mystery with Pius Mulvey "The Ghost" having been detailed to murder Lord Merridith.
Once I had got into the story and sorted out the characters I loved the book and had to keep reading. As always in the reading group we were sharply divided in our opinions, but on the whole, more people liked it than not and it ended with a score of 6/10