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Testing the Limits: 1 Paperback – 17 September 2020
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- Publisher : Seabooks Press (17 September 2020)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 341 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0987211358
- ISBN-13 : 978-0987211354
- Dimensions : 15.24 x 1.96 x 22.86 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 491,235 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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As the story opens in 1929, the Great War and the deadly flu pandemic are in the past. In Australia and all over the world society is changing, and three ambitious young women step forward, each ready to shape her own destiny.
Eliza McKee, born in Broome, loves the romance of the sea and especially the great four-masted sailing ships, the steel 'windjammers' that carry tons of grain from Australia to Europe. She has finished school but has no idea what she wants out of life; the traditional occupations open to a well-bred young woman do not appeal. She obtains her mother's permission to sail to London to visit family and on the voyage is permitted to work as a deckhand. The work is hard and the boys in the crew are slow to accept her as an equal, but Eliza loves ship-board life, loves the challenge. On the voyage she meets two passengers who will be important in her future: Felix Malory, struggling with his internal demons, and Harry Bell, a rather stern man who is recovering from a failed relationship with the beautiful Charlotte.
Eliza's brother Pete does not share her enthusiasm for ships but is wild to become a pilot. His instructor is Billie Quinn, a fiercely independent woman whose flying skills and experience are ignored in the male-dominated field of aviation. Pete is attracted to Billie but she will not let herself be distracted by a younger man.
On arrival in London Eliza reunites with her grandmother and her glamorous aunt Izabel, an exotic beauty and star of the London theatre scene. Izabel meets and falls for the handsome Felix Malory, who seems to be the man of her dreams. She has her heart set on a Hollywood movie career, but her future success is overshadowed by a family secret she feels she must hide at all costs.
When Pete and Billie join Eliza in London to pursue their dream of starting their own aviation company, Pete meets the charming Charlotte, now married to Harry Bell. Charlotte seems intent on winning Pete's affections and looks set to break Harry's heart all over again. Eliza has at last realised what Harry means to her, but she must resign hope of their making a life together.
All of these characters are engaging; it is hard to put the book down and sad to reach the last page. Fortunately Testing the Limits is the first volume of a trilogy, and I am looking forward to Embers at Midnight to find out more about the fortunes of Eliza, Billie and Izabel.
A word about the scenes at sea: Kate Lance is an award-winning author of non-fiction. Her first book, Redbill, the story of a Broome pearling lugger, won the Western Australian Premier's Book Award in 2004 and her second book, Alan Villiers, won the Mountbatten Maritime Award in 2009. In her fiction Kate shares with her reader the excitement of life under sail. She writes with authority -- and with heart. If you have ever looked up at a beautiful old sailing ship and wondered what it was like to be out on the sea in one, living the sailor's life and braving its dangers, do read Testing the Limits.
A delightful read, this beautifully written book comes highly recommended.