Alone on a Wide Wide Sea, Paperback
3.5 out of 5 (3 ratings)


How far would you go to find yourself? The lyrical, life-affirming new novel from the bestselling author of Private Peaceful There were dozens of us on the ship, all up on deck for the leaving of Liverpool, gulls wheeling and crying over our heads, calling good-bye...That is all I remember of England.

When six-year-old orphan Arthur Hobhouse is shipped to Australia after WWII he loses his sister, his country and everything he knows.

Overcoming enormous hardships with fellow orphan Marty, Arthur is finally saved by the extraordinary people he meets and by his talent for boat-design and sailing.

Now he has built a special boat for his daughter Allie - a solo yacht designed to carry her to England in search of his long-lost sister.

Will the threads of Arthur's life finally come together?

I was there on the quayside to see Allie take her out for the first time, saw her dancing through the waves, and I knew I'd never built a finer boat.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 320 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: General
  • ISBN: 9780007230587



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Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.

Review by

This is the life story of a boy who is shipped to Australia from the UK at the beginning of the twentieth century. He moves around Australia, always wanting to return home to find his sister. He doesn't make it but his daughter does, she sails single-handed to Britain and the story of this voyage takes up the second half of the book. The split narrative didn't really work for me, first we have the whole life of a man skimmed over and then a lengthy account of a ship journey of the daughter. I didn't believe in the characters and their emotions particularly and felt several interesting areas, for example the man's experiences in the Vietnam War, were given only a few sentences when they could have been explored in more depth. Also not sure how interesting the younger teen audience whom it is aimed at would find it. Disappointing.

Review by

I very much enjoyed this. Both narrators were likable and believable, though I preferred Arthur's story to the diary/email format of Allie's. Some aspects of Arthur's story could probably have benefitted from a little more detail, as it felt a bit rushed toward the end, but this is explained in the book and will probably make the story more approachable for younger readers. In general, though, this first part of the book tells an engaging and emotional story. Allie made a far more interesting character than I first predicted she would, and the format of her section was less irksome than I usually find diary-style, which I am glad of, as it could have easily spoiled an otherwise pretty excellent book.

Review by

Great book, lots of tense moments. This book tells two stories about two kids on different journeys.