Historical Fiction · Read-Reviewed-2019

The Oceans Between Us by Gill Thompson. (2019).

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The Oceans Between Us by Gill Thompson. (2019).

**4 out of 5 stars**

A woman is found after being injured in London following an air raid. She has little memory other than that she has lost something previous.
A little boy is in an orphanage, hoping his mother will return for him. Then he finds himself on board a ship bound for Australia with the promise of a golden life ahead. He still holds hope that somehow his mother will find him.
In Perth, a lonely wife takes in an orphan. Then she discovers the secret of his past. What should she do when she doesn’t want to risk losing him?

This book was truly heartbreaking. I have previously heard of the child migrant scheme but did not have any real knowledge around it so this book was my first real taste of it. The idea that authorities lied to children telling them their parents were dead to convince them to move to Australia is horrifying. Even more horrifying is the realisation that these children were promised a glorious new life and actually ended up being abused and used as slave labour. The author explains in her Author’s Note that she was inspired to write this book after in 2010 heading the English prime minister apologise to a group of child migrants. The author has written a very emotive and quite moving story centred around the fictional Jack, a child migrant. In later parts of the novel a new character in Rosie is introduced, and her story is equally saddening as she is part of Australia’s Stolen Generation. The book is set in two primary locations as we follow Jack’s story in Australia and Molly’s story in England. An extremely powerful debut fiction novel, I’d highly recommend this bittersweet book.

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