When orphaned Arthur Hobhouse is shipped to Australia after World War II he loses his sister, his country and everything he knows. The coming years will test him to his limits, as he endures mistreatment, neglect and forced labour in the Australian outback. But Arthur is also saved, again and again, by his love of the sea. And when he meets a nurse whose father owns a boat-building business, all the pieces of his broken life come together.
Now, at the end of his life, Arthur has built a special boat for his daughter Allie, whose love of the sea is as strong and as vital as her father’s. Now Allie has a boat that will take her to England solo, across the world’s roughest seas, in search of her father’s long-lost sister. Will the threads of Arthur’s life finally come together?
A lovely story about life and hope.
Arthur isn’t entirely convinced that he hasn’t made up the memory of his sister, but with a key round his neck he has hope. When he makes best-friends with another boy on the boat to Australia the pair find themselves on a bus full of boys driving through a new world full of wonder. Where they end up however turns out to be more of a hell. The boys help each other through though and as time passes their anger grows enough to give them the courage to do something about it.
Where they end up finally allows Arthur to feel like he belongs but the troubles of his life aren’t over yet. It will take a lot more battering for him to finally give up on himself and lead him to the woman who will save him. Giving him a life he loves with a wife and a daughter and a promise to find out if Kitty exists.
Arthur’s story however is unfinished. Does his sister Kitty exist. Daughter Allie wants to know and she is willing to go around the world to find out. Putting herself through a physical and emotional journey she sets off for England hoping to answer the question of what her father’s key opens.
I bought this book a long time ago and I would say it is aimed at people around 9 -13. Despite of this I am so glad I have finally read it. It has turned out to be a lovely book. With well written characters and a plot full of hope and loss I enjoyed every minute of it. Michael Morpurgo was one of my favourite authors when I was younger and yet again he has delivered.