Rebecca's Reviews > Landfalls

Landfalls by Naomi J. Williams
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really liked it
bookshelves: historical-fiction, maritime-adventure, read-via-netgalley

(3.5) An enjoyable novel of eighteenth-century maritime adventure, based on a true story and reminiscent of Matthew Kneale’s English Passengers and Peter Carey’s Parrot and Olivier in America. As the title suggests, the book zeroes in on the stops the boat makes rather than on the daily drudgery of sailing on the open ocean. Williams moves between the perspectives of various crew members and outsiders, sometimes employing first person and sometimes third. Key chapters are set in South America, California, Alaska, Macao, and the Solomon Islands.

I especially enjoyed a chapter from the point-of-view of a native Alaskan girl – one of the few times the novel focuses on female experience. One character’s sled journey across Russia is another highlight. Some sections were less able to hold my attention; I thought the time in Concepción would never end, for instance. It’s also a challenge to keep all the characters with names starting with “La” straight.

In general, though, this is cracking historical fiction. Enjoy it as such, without doing any Google searches that will ruin it for you. That there is vague resonance with Jamrach’s Menagerie tells you all you need to know about the journey – but despite minor tragedies along the way, the book maintains a light-hearted spirit.
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Reading Progress

July 12, 2015 – Shelved
July 12, 2015 – Shelved as: to-read
August 29, 2015 – Started Reading
August 29, 2015 – Shelved as: historical-fiction
August 29, 2015 – Shelved as: maritime-adventure
August 29, 2015 – Shelved as: read-via-netgalley
September 7, 2015 – Shelved as: on-hold
November 7, 2015 – Finished Reading

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