This book had me hooked by the first paragraph. It’s heartbreaking, perfectly worded, and beautifully written. The narrative switches between the stories of two children, both recently motherless. Mayken's story (based on real-life events) is the tale of a curious, bold Dutch girl, traveling on the Batavia from the Netherlands to her father's home in the Dutch East Indies in the late 1620’s. Gil is a recent arrival to an island off of western Australia in 1989, sent to live with his grandfather. The author richly paints both characters and their surroundings and the two tales interweave perfectly. The narratives sometimes touch, breaking through the centuries that divide them because of the deliberate language Kidd uses.
—Elizabeth Hardin, Snail Readers Circle
October 2022 Indie Next List
“Jess Kidd connects the true history of a brutal 1629 shipwreck with the story of a lonely boy in modern day Western Australia with tenderness and vivid storytelling. Epic in scope and heart-wrenchingly detailed, this is Kidd at her best.”
— Yvette Olson, Magnolia's Bookstore, Seattle, WA
Based on a true story, an epic historical novel from the award-winning author of Things in Jars that illuminates the lives of two characters: a girl shipwrecked on an island off Western Australia and, three hundred years later, a boy finding a home with his grandfather on the very same island.
1629: A newly orphaned young girl named Mayken is bound for the Dutch East Indies on the Batavia, one of the greatest ships of the Dutch Golden Age. Curious and mischievous, Mayken spends the long journey going on misadventures above and below the deck, searching for a mythical monster. But the true monsters might be closer than she thinks.
1989: A lonely boy named Gil is sent to live off the coast of Western Australia among the seasonal fishing community where his late mother once resided. There, on the tiny reef-shrouded island, he discovers the story of an infamous shipwreck…
With her trademark “thrilling, mysterious, twisted, but more than anything, beautifully written” (Graham Norton, New York Times bestselling author) storytelling, Jess Kidd weaves “a true work of magic” (V.E. Schwab, author of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue) about friendship, sacrifice, brutality, and forgiveness.
About the Author
Jess Kidd is the award-winning author of The Night Ship, Himself, Mr. Flood’s Last Resort, and Things in Jars. Learn more at JessKidd.com.
“Jess Kidd uses two alternating narratives…shrewdly illuminating the loneliness and violence that make two children kindred spirits, even though they live centuries apart.” —The New York Times
Praise for Jess Kidd
“Jess Kidd is so good it isn't fair." —ERIKA SWYLER, bestselling author of The Book of Speculation and Light from Other Stars
“A few pages in and I was determined to read every word Jess Kidd has ever written. “ —DIANE SETTERFIELD, for Things in Jars
“Jess Kidd is an author who shows a poet’s way with words and rhythm.” —Electric Literature
Praise for The Night Ship
"Kidd’s latest weaves a spell around the reader, transporting them across centuries, between a doomed ship and a dying island. The result is a true work of magic, and one that will haunt me for years." —V.E. SCHWAB, international bestselling author of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
"Kidd shows a keen understanding of how thin the boundary between the magic and the mundane is for children and treats their understanding of the world with seriousness and compassion. Her prose has an arresting simplicity that evokes fairy tales, and the echoes between Mayken’s and Gil’s experiences are treats for the reader to discover. An ambitious, melancholy work of historical fiction that offers two wondrous young protagonists for the price of one."
— Kirkus Reviews