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Victory (2006)

de Susan Cooper

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3821450,074 (3.65)48
Alternating chapters follow the mysterious connection between a homesick English girl living in present-day America and an eleven-year-old boy serving in the British Royal Navy in 1803, aboard the H.M.S. Victory, commanded by Admiral Horatio Nelson.
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[I wrote this review in 2010]

**First-rate children's historical fiction**

It's heartening to see Susan Cooper return to prime form with this first-rate story of a boy's life aboard HMS Victory in Nelson's time. Her writing is excellent - fluent and engaging, with just the right amount of words to tell the story at a good pace. The historical elements are well-researched and she brings life aboard the ship vividly to life, skilfully linking present and past, making accessible to young readers a significant battle of modern naval history, The Battle of Trafalgar.

Told in two parts, we simultaneously have the story of Molly, a young girl in the present day uprooted to Connecticut from her friends, grandparents and everything she's ever known in London when her mum re-marries an American; and we have the story of Sam, a young boy about the same age unwillingly press-ganged into serving aboard the HMS Victory in about 1803, a couple of years before The Battle of Trafalgar. The lost and displaced Molly feels a connection to this boy Sam aboard the Victory, and sets her mind to finding out more about this famous ship.

Susan Cooper draws some well-thought-out characters to go alongside the likable Sam and Molly and writes with feeling and sensitivity about the themes of loss and loneliness, and re-adjustment for children. Highly recommended for ages 8+ - ***** 5 stars. ( )
  ArdizzoneFan | Nov 12, 2020 |
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  lcslibrarian | Aug 13, 2020 |
Moving back and forth from a child living now to a child living in 1800, you feel the connection, drawing and thirst for knowing. Cooper provides many details into the life on a ship, including the feeling, sights and sounds. The research spilled over the writing creating a scene that allows the reader to experience it.

My boys wished that I could skip the current day child's story, to stick to the adventure of another day, but they were rewarded by seeing the connection. ( )
  Sonya.Contreras | May 21, 2017 |
This is the first Susan Cooper book that I have personally read. My children have read her Boggart series and King of Shadows. I acquired this book at a public library sale and am saddened to think that it was withdrawn from the library shelves. I was caught up in the somewhat mystery, time-shifting element of this story. I believe one of the great benefits of historical fiction is to entice us to want to learn more about a specific event or time period in history that seemed either boring or unimportant to us, because we had no personal connection to it. I found Victory did that for me. It gave me a personal connection to Vice-Admiral Lord Nelson and hopefully in the near future I will pull my Landmark book off the shelf and read more about the Battle of Trafalgar.

This book also deals with love and loss of family members, remarriage and sibling conflicts. I do not recall when I read the book, finding anything objectionable to how this was dealt with. I believe this book could be a conversation starter, if need be, for helping a young person through grief and loss.
  MarySchubert | Apr 27, 2016 |
Victory by Susan Cooper is a children’s book and one that my grandson wanted me to read. He read it a couple of years ago in school in it obviously made an impression on him. This is an interesting story that jumps in time from present day to 1805 and the months leading up to the Battle of Trafalgar. The main characters are two children, English Molly trying to overcome homesickness and get used to living in America, and Sam, a young boy who is pressed into naval service and becomes a powder monkey aboard Nelson’s flagship, the HMS Victory.

This isn’t a time travel book, the two children are linked by the fact that Molly purchases a older book, a biography of Nelson and finds an envelope glued under the cover. Inside this envelope is a piece of the flag that flew from the Victory. The story moves quickly, alternating between the two children and I confess I found Sam’s story far more interesting, as, I suspect did my grandson. The author’s descriptions of life aboard this navy vessel and the actual battle were well done. That Molly and Sam have another connection becomes clear at the end of the book, and this connection helps Molly to realize that wherever her family is, that will always be home for her.

Victory is meant for children around the ages of eleven or twelve and so as an adult reader it was too simplified for true enjoyment. I did appreciate both it’s message and how it was delivered in an adventure story. I also liked that the main characters were both male and female and can see this fact, along with it’s lesson in history, would make this a good book for the classroom. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Feb 5, 2014 |
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Alternating chapters follow the mysterious connection between a homesick English girl living in present-day America and an eleven-year-old boy serving in the British Royal Navy in 1803, aboard the H.M.S. Victory, commanded by Admiral Horatio Nelson.

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