Cover image for The little ship
The little ship
Mayhew, Margaret, 1936-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Sutton : Severn House, 2003.

Physical Description:
411 pages ; 23 cm
General Note:
Originally published: London: Corgi, 1999.
Format :


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Before the war it was just a few of them who went sailing on the North Sea estuary in their little boat. Guy, who was so handsome and so good at everything; Matt, his younger brother, who was determined not to be a cripple; and Lizzie, their small shy cousin who adored them both. They were later joined by two more Anna, a young Jewish refugee from Vienna, and Otto, sent from Berlin to an English public school in order to spy for his Nazi father.
As time passed, the tensions between them grew. Otto and Guy became fierce rivals at school and despite his ingrained hatred of her race, Otto found himself fascinated by the beautiful Anna who despised him for his beliefs as much as she mocked Guy's conceit. Matt struggled to overcome his secret terror of the sea, while Lizzie battled with her jealousy of Anna. But there was one perfect summer's day when they sailed together on the sunny blue water and, in unaccustomed amity, carved their initials on the port bow of the Rose of England. Then the war exploded all around them. It was May 1940 when their paths crossed again, on the desperate retreat from Dunkirk, when the little ship, against all the odds, sailed to the rescue.

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

The unrest in Europe leading up to World War II seemed far away to the teenagers spending an idyllic summer sailing on an estuary of the North Sea in England: the leader, handsome and physically agile 16-year-old Guy; his brother, Matt, afflicted with a deformed arm and Guy's willing sidekick; and their shy cousin, Lizzie. Their lives abruptly change once a youngewish refugee arrives from Vienna. Anna Stein is reluctant to form an attachment to her temporary home, an attitude that adversely affects her new companions. When Otto, a German schoolmate of Guy's, comes to visit, tension between the teens becomes even more intense until they bond during a race in which their sturdy sailboat beats a sleek yacht. Then, years later, during the evacuation at Dunkirk, the boat and former crew all converge. Mayhew's gem of a book tells about childhood attachments and the upheaval of war. --Patty Engelmann Copyright 2004 Booklist