If you have ever been on a cruise then this book will be a delight to remember all the wonderful and colourful characters that you might have met onboard. if you have never been on a cruise – don’t let these wonderful and colourful characters put you off. Cruising is a great experience.
The Empress of the Ocean sounds as grand as it is named and it is setting sail for the Mediterranean and onboard are a cast of characters:
Albert and Maureen, constantly bickering and Albert feeling completely hen pecked this cruise, which he didn’t want to spend the money one is either going to make them or break them.
Sisters Miriam and Edna, full of mirth and malapropisms, selectively deaf and very outspoken. Observing very loudly what everyone is thinking about their fellow passengers. Be it on your own head if you get in the way of Edna, her dodgy hip and uncontrollable walking frame.
Young Oliver, twelve years old with his grandparents and with a passion for history and books is what you wish every young polite man to be. Is he missing out on living what a twelve year old boy should be living or is he wiser than all the passengers and even some of the crew?
Lonely Frances de La Mare has booked a penthouse suite for it’s recognition and status but she finds herself even more isolated and why has she not been invited to dine at the Captain’s Table when other more lowly people in her opinion have.
Sandra, chatty and keen to mix with everyone. The vicar and his wife, the lottery winners, the doctors on holiday, the port lecturer, the guest lecturer, the pianist, the dancers; the list of characters is endless. But not so that is becomes too confusing, they are all mixed together well and all have their part to play in this voyage.
As you sail along the sea and stop at some interesting places, you learn about the area and more about the people. The book lasts the length of the cruise and we get to see the whole microcosm of people, society, beliefs and behaviours. It is almost like mini vignettes throughout the book with some laugh out loud moments and some moments to catch you right out.
If you were expecting something like his previous school stories, then you will perhaps be a bit disappointed but what you are getting is strong characters, strong stories and strong laughter.
The perfect holiday read.
Thank you to the publisher via netgalley for the opportunity to read this book.
At the Captain’s Table is out now.