Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Amazing Grace: An Adventure at Sea

Amazing Grace: An Adventure at Sea by Stephanie Owen Reader (National Library of Australia)
HB RRP $29.95
ISBN 9780642277435
Reviewed by Vicki Stanton

This book is absolutely outstanding from the story created around the factual evidence to the presentation and production quality.

In December 1876, sixteen-year-old Grace Bussell (and others) risked their own lives to save passengers and crew from the shipwrecked Georgette. A fictionalised account of the rescue is interspersed with paintings, newspaper clippings, photographs, eyewitness accounts and other historical documents from the National Library of Australia's own collection. A true sense of pioneer life at the time is built up.

The author is a master storyteller, able to draw the reader into the thoughts of feelings of passengers, crew and rescuers. Grace is shown as a capable and affable, but not extraordinary country girl, who nonetheless does not hesitate when action is needed. Other rescuers such as the Aboriginal stockman Sam Isaacs, and James and William Dempster are given due credit for their bravery.

A list of characters, glossary, short chapters and plentiful illustrations and further information ensures that the story can be followed by competent younger readers as well as being enjoyed and appreciated by older readers and even adults.

I highly recommend Amazing Grace and it should find a place on all bookshelves.

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