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The Voyage of the Morning Light

A Novel

by Marina Endicott

The Voyage of the Morning Light by Marina Endicott X
The Voyage of the Morning Light by Marina Endicott
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  • Published in USA  Jun 2020
    400 pages
    Genre: Novels

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  • Karen L. (Lititz, PA)
    Beautifully Atmospheric
    The Voyage of the Morning Light by Marina Endicott presents historical fiction intertwined with the moral decisions a family of the early 1900s struggle with and, eventually, must face.

    The story of the Grant family begins during an ocean voyage with Captain Grant in charge, accompanied by his new wife, Thea, and her precocious young half-sister, Kay. The author subtly weaves her character development with vivid descriptions of a life at sea and the beauty of the pristine natural surroundings.

    In the course of the voyage, Thea suffers a miscarriage and, subsequently, the ship falls upon a small group of desperate islanders begging for food. They offer a young boy who accompanies them in exchange for sustenance and Thea cannot refuse.

    The moral outcome of this decision carries forth the plot and keeps the characters and the reader engrossed in its impact on all of their lives.

    What brings the reader back to the book each time it is picked up is the desire to return to life lived at the turn of the century, vividly detailed, as well as the desire to engage and share in the family's moral dilemma, realizing that the decisions they had to deal with are as contemporary as yesterday.

    This book presents historical fiction at its best.
  • Alyson R. (Spokane, WA)
    Excellent morality tale set aboard a trade ship
    I am so glad I stuck with this book, after the first chapter or so. This is a tale of a pre-teen Canadian girl named Kay growing up in the changing world of the early 20th century, grappling with where she belongs. While aboard a trade ship voyage across the world with her sister Thea and brother-in-law Francis she gets to visit people and places most do not, which helps to shape her worldview as she grows. It also helps create a contrast to which she can unpack her childhood spent with her missionary father, and sister, at a school for indigenous children in Canada.

    This novel strikes me as a morality tale, as the protagonists grapple with difficult questions about what is right and wrong, and acknowledging that the decisions you make impact others lives. Thea, who has such certainty in what she has been taught and presents it as such, finds it difficult to outwardly show she has doubts. But the author also does a good job showing the societal muffling of women's voices, feelings, and even physical distress during this time, for the sake of what was then considered proper and womanly.

    My initial worry in the first few pages of reading was that there would be a glorification of the righteous white savior coming to save the soul of the "noble savage" (a very problematic and erroneous anachronism). But the author is honest about the realities of European colonialism for indigenous populations and many disturbing outcomes, like culture/language loss, family upheaval, slavery, institutional racism, disease, starvation, etc.

    I do wish a first-person narrative from Aren, Kay's brother, was included, but I would highly recommend to anyone looking to learn more about early 20th century history, the cultures of the South Pacific, and those willing to question their own perceptions.
  • Jennifer B. (Oviedo, FL)
    Voyage of Morning Light
    Escape is the first word I think of when reviewing Voyage of the Morning Light. This book is a tonic for the mind. An adventurous trip on a sailing vessel in the early twentieth century is the focal point of the story. From there the characters develop clearly and maintain their quirks and ideals throughout the book without effort on the reader's part to remember who is who. Descriptions of the ports of call and of life on the open sea make me long for a transcontinental voyage to the South Pacific. I became accustomed to glossing over the Greek phrases and the passages describing intricate sailing maneuvers since neither is familiar to me. At first they were off putting, but quickly were ignored as I was eager to discover what would happen next. After reading this delightful book, which could easily become a classic, I have the urge to reread Robert Louis Stephenson's Treasure Island.
  • Marion C. (Peabody, MA)
    Playful Dolphins
    The Voyage of the Morning Light richly details life aboard the merchant vessel Morning Light from Nova Scotia to the islands in the South Pacific in 1912. Not only did I feel like I was right beside young Kay, Aren, and Mr. Brimmer, but I experienced their excitement at seeing the schools of dolphins, sharks, sunrises, and storms. Marina Endicott delved into the struggles of Kay and Aren, both displaced in their youth. A separate trip to the South Pacific brought clarity to the dawn of their adulthood. The Voyage of the Morning Light is a first-rate read, one you will thoroughly enjoy.
  • Borderlass (Belmont, MA)
    A Young Girl's "Voyage to Adulthood"...
    "The Voyage of the Morning Light" serves up a masterfully-researched and fleshed-out story wherein its main character Kay Ward embarks on her family's commercial trading vessel for an extensive sea voyage c. 1912. Author Endicott's proficiency with time-consistent dialogue seems particularly valuable here for establishing both atmosphere and tone - lending "classic" status to the book while invoking a sense of timelessness to the unfolding story. Readers will find this thought-provoking tale of a young teen and later young woman a veritable buffet of young and new adult themes, with modern touches, including some frank observations along the lines of racial diversity, religion, morality, and blended family life. Kay's thoughts as well as struggles and triumphs with her past and current relationships are central to the novel's momentum. Anyone of any age who adored and occasionally rereads L. M. Montgomery's "Anne of Green Gables" series - another Maritime-centric tale of a young girl's "voyage to adulthood" - will find Endicott's twenty-first century book with its global backdrop both appealing and refreshing. Book clubs and women's literature fans - take notice!
  • Nancy D. (Raleigh, NC)
    Different Book
    This is quite a different book. While the story is of the coming of age of a young girl, it is also a travel log, a homage to Greek literature and a study in relationships. The descriptive language of Kay's views as she travels aboard the Morning Light places the reader on the deck with her. Her enthusiasm and respect for learning is to be admired. The book takes Kay from 13 into her 20's as she learns from her past and struggles to find out where she belongs. Through her struggles, travels and friendships, Kay discovers what home really is and the importance of family.
  • Henry W. (Lake Barrington, IL)
    The journey to and fro
    The Voyage of the Morning Light is first and foremost a story filled with little stories. In the course of the book the author expresses her views on many subjects beginning with evil of Indian schools of the late 19th century. There is a lack of substantive discussion of the ethics or morality of key actions as the trade of tobacco for a young boy. The principal characters are really two young people who are adept managers of the adults in their lives. The book gives one insight into the activities of an about to become obsolete method of shipping freight on sailing craft and life on about to be marginalized vessels. The book needs a sharp eyed editor to eliminate the extraneous material.
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