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Dangerous Crossing

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  5,537 ratings  ·  572 reviews
A tale of glamour, intrigue and desire about a young English woman's astonishing journey on a cruise liner to Australia at the brink of the Second World War .

England, September 1939
Lily Shepherd boards a cruise liner for a new life in Australia and is plunged into a world of cocktails, jazz and glamorous friends. But as the sun beats down, long-hidden secrets begin to surf
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published January 9th 2018 by Atria Books (first published March 23rd 2017)
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Average rating 3.72  · 
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This feels very much like a classic golden age mystery where instead of the usual setting of a country house, we have a cruise ship, the Orantes. It is 1939, Lily Shepard is travelling to Australia on a government assisted passage to meet the need for domestic servants in Sydney. Whilst it is clear that she is excited and looking forward to adventure and seeing other countries, there is something amiss, something she is running away from. Infiltrating the novel is the background to and run up to ...more
3.5*. A Dangerous Crossing is very much like a play and a character driven story. The author, Rachel Rhys, introduces numerous individuals as they travel together on the ship Orontes bound for Australia from Great Britain during 1939. As the passengers have their meals, walk the decks, attend the ships parties, they all begin to expose their true selves. Some quite outspoken, crass, hard-hearted, a certain shyness, along with flirtations desired and repelled. The main character, Lily Shepherd ap ...more
Dec 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Dangerous Crossing was a good idea which to me went awry. In her afterword, Rhys says that she found a diary in her mother's house written by her mother's friends about a five week boat journey in 1938 from England to Australia. At the time, Britain had an an agreement with Australia to send young women to Australia to fill positions for domestic servants. Rhys' mother's friend was one of the recruits and her diary records her experience on the boat going over. As seen by Rhys, this was is a soc ...more
Liz Barnsley
I loved this SO MUCH. I’m on a run of excellent reads right now (bows down before the Gods of Literature) but A Dangerous Crossing was perhaps the one that I fell into absolutely – I have not read a novel in years that has so much rich, relevant and beautifully drawn detail about it whilst telling an utterly riveting, completely compelling and ultimately unexpected story. With characters to die for. This is seriously good stuff right here. I genuinely did not want this book to end because then i ...more
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews

A voyage of a life time for Lily? Did it turn out that way?

Lily was leaving England and heading to Australia in order to secure work as a domestic, which she vowed she never wanted to do again.

The ship was huge, exciting, filled with many classes of passengers, and always danger in the air. There were a lot of festivities Lily enjoyed. She also enjoyed a handful of the passengers but some were not pleasant. There always has to be someone to ruin the day or event, right?

Lily never knew who she c
Think I've just read a different book to that described in the title and blurb, not to mention the dozens of enthralled 4 and 5 star reviews.

Penned by a thriller writer using a pseudonym, it's set on board a passenger ship travelling for five weeks between England and Australia just as WWII is brewing across Europe, and I believed it to be a glamorous murder mystery with cocktails, black-tie balls, scandals, secrets, class divides and exotic stop-offs at the Egyptian Pyramids and other sun drenc
Miriam Smith (A Mother’s Musings)
"A Dangerous Crossing" written by Rachel Rhys is a well written, easy to read historical fiction book set on a ship travelling to Australia in 1939, that you can't help falling in love with.
I truly felt that I knew all the characters personally since they were portrayed with such clarity and description. The places they visited on the journey were so vibrantly described you would have thought you were there. I particularly liked young Lily, travelling to Australia on an assisted passage - she is
Firstly, I absolutely love the cover of this book, and if I’m honest, I was initially lured in by the cover, followed by famous reviews referring to this book as being thrilling and similar to Daphne du Maurier. I have to say that I didn’t find this book thrilling. I’ve only read two Daphne du Maurier books, but I loved them and didn’t experience any particular similarity with those. I fear I may have fallen for the hype, and in turn ended up a little disappointed, as my own personal experience ...more
Mar 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Set on a cruise liner, the ‘Orontes’ in 1939, just before the outbreak of WW2, A Dangerous Crossing follows young Lily Shepherd as she travels on her own (albeit under the guidance of a chaperone) to a new life in Australia. She is on an assisted passage scheme, paid for by the Government to encourage people to settle in Australia. She is expecting to find domestic work there but also hopes to leave tragedy and heartbreak behind her, the details of which become clear.

There are a myriad of fellow
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
I think that A Dangerous Crossing is the kind of book that just not completely works for me. I prefer reading thrillers rather than drama when it comes to a book. And, this book contained way too much drama for my taste. I did spend much of the time waiting for someone to die so that something would happen beside reading about Lily's interactions with the rest of the passengers. And, one of the biggest problems I had were that I grew sick and tired of Eliza Campbell, she is the kind of bombastic ...more
Joanne Robertson
I don’t think I have ever felt so “tongue tied” going into a review before, I don’t feel that MY words will be able to do justice to A Dangerous Crossing which is one of the most beautifully written books I have read this year. It’s words just poured themselves all over me so that every one of my senses was stimulated. I could feel the warmth of the sun on my skin, the wind in my hair and taste the salt that wind blew in my face as if I were standing against the deck railings. I could smell the ...more
Mar 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: physical-arcs
All of my reviews can be found on

Since the new year I’ve been branching out and reading genres that I normally haven’t paid attention to in the past, and historical fiction is one that I mostly ignored. I’m ashamed of that now as I’m beginning to realize I was truly missing out and it’s safe to say that I’m now a certified fan of the genre! There is something mesmerizing about being transported not only to a different place, but also a different era. A Dangerous Crossing swep
Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews
I have the second book written by Rachel Rhys (pen name for Tamar Cohen, a bestselling thriller novelist) on my shelf for a new release book review, so I decided it would be beneficial to read her first novel, A Dangerous Crossing. Firstly, it is interesting to note that Rhys was inspired to write A Dangerous Crossing, when she came across a diary written by a young woman going into service. This fascinating real life figure found herself on board a cruise l
Cleopatra  Pullen
A Dangerous Crossing was my First Book of the Year 2017, a book that I was especially looking forward to due to the fact I’d won a charity auction run on behalf of CLIC Sargent to win my name in a book, and this was the one! Rachel Rhys has penned her first historical fiction novel, although you may have met her penmanship under the name Tammy Cohen where she’s written a mixture of contemporary and psychological fiction.

The book opens with a scene from the end of the journey from Tilbury docks t
Dec 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is the end of July, 1949, when a passenger ship sets out from Tilbury Docks, Essex and begins a five week voyage to Australia. Along the way they will stop several times and take on further passengers, but our central characters embark in England. They include Lilian Shepherd, who is taking an assisted passage to Australia, where she intends to go back into service. She shares her cabin with Audrey and Ida, who both worked as chamber maids and are also taking advantage of the assisted passage ...more
Joanna Park
Guest review for Book Review Cafe

Welcome aboard The Orontes for a fun filled, glamorous crossing to Australia! Or so it first seems to Lily Shepherd who is taking advantage of the assisted passage scheme to start a new life in Australia. Life on board is a huge adventure for Lily as her eyes are opened to new things and she meets lots of interesting people, including the colourful Campbell's, mysterious Edward and opinionated George. However as the journe
Feb 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an amazing book. I found it hard to put down at times.
Lily Shepherd is the main protagonist, who has signed up for a voyage to Australia. She receives her passage as part of a contract, that has job opportunities as a servant, when she arrives. You meet her family briefly at the beginning, as they are at the dock, to say goodbye.
On the voyage are the supporting characters, with all their strengths and weaknesses. Maria is a Jewish woman fleeing from Austria, and horrors of Hitler's gen
Mel (Epic Reading)
I have been thinking about what to write about Rachel Rhys' Dangerous Crossing for almost a week. This is a difficult book to really rate and write about as it's a bit confused about what it is; and yet I enjoyed the majority of what I read. So it's not that the book is bad but it's not a 4 or 5 star read either.

Confused Plot
My largest complaint is that the plot isn't really a plot. Our lead gal gets on a cruise ship headed from England to Australia in 1939. Of course the world is just entering
Jul 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Set in 1939, not long before the outbreak of the second World War, ‘A Dangerous Crossing’ follows young Lily Shepherd as leaves her much loved family and a past she would rather forget behind her to sail towards a new life in Australia.

She is travelling on a cruise liner, the ‘Orontes’, thanks to an assisted passage scheme, paid for by the Government to encourage people to settle in Australia. Lily had been a domestic servant, and she had been told that when that when she reached Sydney she woul
Mar 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Escaping the past...

Days after the outbreak of WW2, a ship arrives in Australia, and a passenger in handcuffs is escorted off by the police. A local reporter tries to snatch an interview, to find out if the rumour is true that someone aboard the ship was killed...

After this great prologue that hints at much but tells us nothing that will spoil the story, we are whisked back to the beginning of the voyage. Lily Shepherd has left her home in England to go to work in Australia as a domestic servant
Daniel Villines
Apr 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I believe that I am something of a cruising fanatic. I love being at sea. It’s exciting in all its calmness with the spotting of an occasional dolphin, the blue saturation of the blue ocean in all its nuanced states, and the feeling of the ship slowly moving towards the next port. I think it suits the engineer and the naturalist that live inside of me. To date, I’ve been on more than two dozen cruises.

With that said, Rachel Rhys gets it right. Rhys captures the details of cruising on board the S
Oct 06, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: three-star
It’s 1939 and Europe is on the brink of world war. When young Lilly is offered the chance to escape her surroundings and work as a ladies maid in Australia, all expenses paid, she goes for it. This book is the tale of her experiences along the journey - in fact, it was the setting that inspired me to choose this book in the first place.

Although Lilly appears on almost every page, her character is underdeveloped. I grasped she was young and somewhat naive but her thoughts and actions lacked some
Full review to follow nearer the time but keep an eye out for this one! It's a cruise from England to Australia with stops in France, Gibraltar, Naples, Egypt, Yemen and more before you even get to the final destination. And it's in Australia where the book opens - where something bad has happened. The rest of the novel is the build up to the passengers disembarking from that infamous journey.

Ah the places you will go as you sail the open seas and leave a trail of devastation in your wake. The f
Empress Reece (Hooked on Books)
4.5 stars...

This is very much a character-driven story about a group of passengers traveling from Britain to Australia on the SS Orontes to start a new life. They each have their own secrets and reasons for leaving their old life behind. As the 5 week voyage progresses, and class lines are blurred and relationships are formed- those secrets slowly rise to the surface under the strain of living in close proximity, with unbearable heat and mounting tension. It all comes to a head the night before
Sep 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The charming cover of Dangerous Crossing is enough to make me want to pick it up. The era in which it is set, just pre-war 1939 always fascinates me and the endless possibilities that could arise on board a cruise to Australia sealed the deal.

This is not a book to be read quickly, it is fairly complex with a large cast of characters who all draw you into their lives. Lily is travelling on the Orontes as part of the Government’s assisted-passage scheme to Australia. Her plan is to seek employment
This historical crime novel (by Tammy Cohen under a pen name) is different than I anticipated from the blurb and at the start.

The book opens at the end of the voyage with a passenger (we don't know who it is) taken into custody, and then takes us back to the beginning and through the five-week journey.

The killings don't occur until toward the end; it's the characters who propel the story forward. They're one-dimensional but deceptive, with more skeletons in the closet than ballgowns.

The story i
Another WWII story about a young woman who leaves England for Australia just as the War is breaking out. On board the ship, she meets various characters with whom she interacts. Somehow the problems of Europe that lead to the war are explored through the characters. It is an appealing idea but I dont know that it worked out. The majority of the book is set on board the ship and there are a lot of conversations. Honestly, I felt a little bored with this book because I wasnt drawn into the story l ...more
Roman Clodia
Dec 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'You can't get away with anything on a ship, you know - someone always finds out'

Don't come to this expecting a full-blooded murder mystery or romance as you might well be disappointed: instead this is a slow evocation of a 5-week passage from Tilbury docks to Australia in August 1939.

The story is focalised via Lily, a young woman who goes to Australia on an assisted passage encouraging immigration, and on arrival she is to take household service. The ship passage becomes a liminal space in whi
Sep 24, 2017 rated it liked it
1939. Europe is on the brink of war. A young English woman sets off for Australia on an ocean liner. There, blurring the social distinctions and customs, stuck in their very own quite claustrophobic microcosm, a variety of characters will come to know, love and hate each other. Sounds promising, doesn't it? Even more so since the novel's first scene is the ship's arrival, wherein it becomes very clear that something terrible has taken place at sea. And yet...not as great as one might have expect ...more
Jul 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh, what a little gem this book is!

Lily Shepherd boards the ship Orentes to travel to Australia to work as a domestic servant and in the hope of leaving tragedy behind her. During the crossing, she gets to mingle with a variety of people who would normally not give her the light of day. But on the Orentes, anything goes, in the knowledge that once you land, you won’t be seeing your fellow passengers again. Being cooped up on a ship with strangers and with the world on the brink of war, Lily’s li
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Book Buzz: First Thoughts 5 12 Aug 16, 2018 12:42PM  

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Rachel Rhys is the pen-name of a successful psychological suspense author. A Dangerous Crossing is her debut novel under this name. The story is inspired by a real diary which the author discovered by accident while helping her mother move house. It was written with care and attention by a servant girl who travelled from England to Australia on a cruise liner in the late 1930s.

Rachel Rhys lives in

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