"Beyond the Western Sea," by Avi

“Beyond the Western Sea” is a two part historical novel by the celebrated Newberry Honor Author Avi. It tells the story of three immigrant children, escaping Ireland for the ‘promised land’ of America. The story is almost epic in nature, altogether 740 pages in length. One thing notable about this story is its remarkable suspense. The chapter endings are specifically chosen to leave you in suspense, as the Avi switches the story's focus back and forth between the numerous characters. Also, the two-part nature of the book leaves you in a frustrating cliff-hanger at the end of Part One. However, this characteristic is one of the things that made me purchase both books for my collection.

“Beyond the Western Sea” features three main characters. Maura O’Connell, 15 years old and her brother Patrick, 12, are Irish villagers, evicted from their land by a cruel English landlord. Sir Laurence Kirkle, 11, is the youngest son of that same hated landlord. The three children end up emigrating together, trying to escape their pasts and make it to the New World. A great deal of the plot focuses on Laurence, who having run away, and stolen money in the process, is now being searched for by his abusive family. Book One, subtitled, “The Escape from Home,” focuses on the problems the children experience in the process of immigration. Book Two, “Lord Kirkle‘s Money,” depicts the dangerous journey across the Western Sea, and the racism and working conditions in early America. It also brings the plot to its powerful, bitter-sweet end.

All considered, “Beyond the Western Sea” is a fantastic and memorable reading experience. The two part series is a great addition to any book collection, and makes a great gift for children and young teens.

Inkweaver Book Rating:



Historical Feel


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Inkweaver Review 2008-02-26T09:19:00-06:00

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