The Little Ship

The Little Ship

4.05 (40 ratings by Goodreads)
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Set largely on the Essex coast before the war, Matt, Guy, and their young cousin Lizzie meet up for holidays and bum around in an old boat. Guy is the eldest, handsome, skilled at everything, a tad selfish. Matt is quieter and has a crippled right arm. Lizzie adores them both, to the extent of putting up with being sea-sick everytime they go out in the old boat and continually getting bashed on the head by the sail. These are idyllic days of sun, and sea, the golden era of the thirties. Lizzie's father is a doctor and, as the thirties progress, they take the daughter of a Viennese colleague into their home, a Jewish girl called Anna, who is miserable and hates England, and misses her Jewish family and friends. The fifth child to join them is Otto, son of a German diplomat, reared in the best traditions of the Hitler doctrine and destined for the army. These five have a tense and highly involved relationship as they grow up. Anna is resented by the English boys but one of them eventually comes to love her. Otto's relationship with her is more complicated. She is, after all, a Jew. They have one wonderful day together when somehow their rivalries are forgotten as they fight the sea in the little ship, and when they all write their names on the mast. Then the world explodes into war and they all go their separate ways. They all meet again at Dunkirk. Anna getting out from France at the last moment with the help of Guy, Otto as part of the victorious Reich, and Lizzie and Matt taking the little ship over to save them from the beaches. It is strong, wonderful, atmospheric, romantic with intriguing characters, all involved with each other in love/hate more

Product details

  • Paperback | 416 pages
  • 106 x 178 x 30mm | 222.26g
  • Transworld Publishers Ltd
  • Corgi Books
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • UK ed.
  • 0552152420
  • 9780552152426
  • 365,284

About Margaret Mayhew

Margaret Mayhew was born in London and her earliest childhood memories were of the London Blitz. She began writing in her mid-thirties and had her first novel published in 1976. She is married to American aviation author, Philip Kaplan, and lives in Gloucestershire. Her novels, Bluebirds, The Crew, The Little Ship, Our Yanks, The Pathfinder and Those In Peril are all published by Corgi more

Back cover copy

At first there were just the three of them who went sailing on the North Sea estuary in the years before the war - Guy, who was so handsome and so good at everything, Matt, his younger brother, determined to succeed despite everything, and Lizzie, their small, shy cousin who adored them both. Later they were joined by two more - Anna, the young Jewish refugee from Vienna, and Otto, a Berliner, sent to an English public school to perfect his knowledge of the language and to spy for his Nazi father. As time passed, the tensions between them grew. Otto and Guy became fierce rivals at school and, in spite of his indoctrination against her race, Otto found himself fascinated by the beautiful Anna who despised him for his beliefs as much as she mocked Guy's conceit. Matt struggled to overcome his secret terror of the sea, while Lizzie battled with her jealousy of Anna. But there was one perfect summer's day when they sailed together on the sunny blue water and, in unaccustomed amity, carved their initials on the port bow of the Rose of England. Then the war exploded about them. It was May 1940 when their paths crossed again, on the desperate retreat from Dunkirk - when the Rose of England, the little ship, against all the odds, sailed to the more

Rating details

40 ratings
4.05 out of 5 stars
5 38% (15)
4 35% (14)
3 25% (10)
2 0% (0)
1 2% (1)
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