Friday, 14 September 2018
Field of Dust
On September 3rd 1878 the paddle steamer SS Princess Alice hundreds of passengers are enjoying a moonlit cruise on the Thames Estuary.
Unfortunately the SS Princess Alice was in a collision with a collier the Bywell Castle. Within minutes the SS Princess Alice was destroyed, cut in two, sending it to the bottom of the Thames.
650 Londoners lost their lives in the accident and for days afterwards bloated corpses were being dragged from the water.
This recovery operation is taking place watched by children from a community known as The Creek. The tragic events are locked into their memories for the rest of their lives.
One of the children, Florence Grant, also has troubles in her own life, her own family has been destroyed by the secret lives enjoyed by their parents and she and her sister were harshly abandoned by their alcoholic mover.
However, Florence is an extraordinary young working class lady, she will not allow her past to control her future.
But it was the speech of a young and impassioned young union official that caused a major development and brought change into Florence's life.
This book scores with the reader on two counts: The quality of the writing and the quality of the research, both of which are absolutely meticulous.
It is fictionalised history rather than pure fiction and all the better for it.
It is published by The Book Guild at £8.99.