If Ever I Return Again

Posted on July 7, 2012. Filed under: Girls' Books, Historical Fiction | Tags: , , , , , , |

The first day out on a whaling ship, twelve-year-old Celia regrets asking to come along. After much begging and pleading, she was allowed to accompany her mother and father on the expedition. Her father is captain of the ship, and Celia figures this will be her only real chance to see the world. But she’s seasick and homesick. She knows it will be years before she can expect to see her home again. But, after a few months, the trip turns from misery to excitement. She watches whalers at work, she learns to navigate, and goes from the Sandwich Islands to the Arctic. She also makes friends with the young Third Mate. But when her father, the captain, becomes ill, the treacherous first mate attempts to take over the ship.

This book is written as Celia’s many letters to her cousin, Abigail. Though I think this style can get annoying, Corinne Demas uses it very well. It is set in 1856, when whaling was not considered harmful nor wrong. Therefore, I think it perfectly reasonable for Celia not to feel sorry for the whales. In fact, she says she wishes they could kill all the whales at one point. (This is because they cannot go home until they catch enough whales.) While I do not recommend this book to teachers, it is interesting writing and viewpoint. I could read this book again and again.

If Ever I Return Again by Corinne Demas. Copyright 2000. 197 pages.

3 Responses to “If Ever I Return Again”

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Congratulations on putting a historical novel in historical perspective. You might consider “Omoo” by Herman Melville for a review.

I haven’t heard of that book. I’ll take a look at it, but if it’s a classic, I probably won’t review it. But I still can read it.

A little known historical fiction I’ve always enjoyed is “The Trolley to Yesterday” by John Bellairs. It is about two boys and a professor who ride an old trolley back to Constantinople during the Turkish invasion of 1453. It has a really exciting plot with a lot of unexpected twists. Maybe you’d like to review that in the future? :)


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