Top positive review
9 people found this helpful
A moving story
on 7 November 2006
I feel sorry for "a reader", who appears to have completely missed the connection between Sam and Molly (her stepfather, with help, established that Sam was Molly's great-great-great-several times grandfather !). The reason Molly doesn't sell the piece of Nelson's flag that Sam left with his daughter and which then passed on to her, has nothing to do with her implied wealth, and everything to do with remembrance and memorialisation of the dead. Molly's father was killed when his plane went down over the sea - there was no body to recover for a funeral, so her mother held a memorial service which Molly was too young to appreciate. Sam didn't return from his final trip at sea either, so there would not have been a funeral service for him as there was for Admiral Nelson. Molly's act of putting the piece of flag into the sea was an act of remembrance for both her father and her distant ancestor, Sam. The book makes this quite clear when someone explains to Molly how men who are killed at sea are sewn into their hammocks and the remains are slipped into the sea.
As for Molly being a spoilt brat, perhaps "A reader" has never been severely homesick - in which case, they're very, very lucky - but Molly is young and has been uprooted from the home she loved and the only life she remembers, to go and live in a strange country. They may speak English over in the US, but it is still a foreign country, with different customs and habits from Britain.
Susan Cooper has done an excellent job of portraying the dizzying confusion of being uprooted from one's home, something that both Sam and Molly feel, and being transported to an entirely different lifestyle. The connections between the two children are established slowly and surely, and work very effectively. Both characters are drawn sympathetically, and both their stories are told beautifully. This is a fantastic book that shows Cooper's mastery of historical detail and creates both Molly's and Sam's worlds delightfully. I highly recommend this book.