Review 2081: The Night Ship

In 1628, Mayken, the child of a wealthy Dutch merchant, sets sail on the Batavia to join her father in the Spice Islands after the death of her mother. She is accompanied by her nursemaid, Imke, but Imke being ill from the beginning of the voyage, Mayken soon has the run of the upper ship. Dressed in raggedy boys’ breeches, she also sometimes explores the depths of the ship.

In 1989, young Gil has gone to live on an island in the Indian Ocean with his fisherman grandfather after his mother’s death. Gil’s mother and her father Joss had been estranged, and Joss doesn’t seem happy to have him. The island is inhabited by fishermen who only live there during the fishing season and by archaeologists exploring the site of the sinking of the Batavia. There are rumors that the island is haunted by a girl who died after the shipwreck.

This novel is utterly fascinating. Kidd does a great job with her characters, especially the enchanting Mayken. The story of the Batavia, an actual shipwreck, is gut-wrenching, but Kidd makes her more modern story almost as interesting. This book is great.

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8 thoughts on “Review 2081: The Night Ship

  1. Helen December 13, 2022 / 2:41 pm

    I enjoyed this book too. I think I actually preferred Gil’s story to Mayken’s, but they were both great.

    • whatmeread December 13, 2022 / 5:41 pm

      Kidd is such a good writer. I’ve enjoyed everything by her.

  2. thecontentreader December 14, 2022 / 5:49 am

    I love these kind of novels. Thank you for the review.

      • thecontentreader December 15, 2022 / 4:04 am

        Just to let you know that I have changed my blog to a new provider. New address is: – Hope to see you there.

  3. FictionFan December 15, 2022 / 12:00 am

    I’m intrigued that you and Helen both enjoyed this, since I know neither of you is very keen in magical realism. Am I wrong in thinking that’s part of this story? I loved her writing in her first book, but the magical aspects have always made me reluctant to read another. But you do make this sound very tempting…

    • whatmeread December 15, 2022 / 10:05 am

      No, not so much on this one. I like Kidd, though, even when she uses magical realism.

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