#BibliomaniacsBookClub #May #Paperweight #ADangerousCrossing #RachelRhys



published by Transworld 23rd March 2017 

A Dangerous Crossing


1939, Europe on the brink of war. Lily Shepherd leaves England on an ocean liner for Australia, escaping her life of drudgery for new horizons. She is instantly seduced by the world onboard: cocktails, black-tie balls and beautiful sunsets. Suddenly, Lily finds herself mingling with people who would otherwise never give her the time of day.

But soon she realizes her glamorous new friends are not what they seem. The rich and hedonistic Max and Eliza Campbell, mysterious and flirtatious Edward, and fascist George are all running away from tragedy and scandal even greater than her own. 

By the time the ship docks, two passengers are dead, war has been declared, and life will never be the same again.

'Thrilling, seductive, utterly absorbing.' PAULA HAWKINS, author of The Girl on The Train

'A gorgeously atmospheric read, prepare to be transported . . .' RUTH WARE, author of The Woman in Cabin 10

‘A sumptuous and thrilling read which reminded me of Daphne du Maurier. It captivates you in its spell right until the end. I loved it.' KATE HAMER, author of The Girl in the Red Coat

'An exquisite story of love, murder, adventure and dark secrets, Rachel Rhys brings this dangerous crossing brilliantly and beautifully alive' LISA JEWELL, Author of The Girls

To read my full review please click here: Bibliomaniac's Review of A Dangerous Crossing 

*** WARNING: I fell in love with this book so there are a lot of questions......Please pick a few that appeal to you and your reading group unless you would like to join me in writing a dissertation on the fabulousness of this book!!***

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Quick Fire Questions:

How many lines are crossed in A Dangerous Crossing? 

Who was the most dangerous character?

This is the author’s first historical novel. Would you read another by her? 

What detail about life in 1939 did you find more interesting or fascinating?
How convincing do you think Eliza’s reactions to Max’s death are? 

What is each of the characters running away from? Will any of the characters be able to escape what they are running away from in Australia? 

How effective did you find the repetition of blood and the repetition of Lily’s dreams about Mags? 

What do you think of the role of women in 1939? What does the novel reveal about equality? 

This novel is written under a pseudonym. Does this help or hinder the novel? 

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Long haul Questions: 

Several of the characters travelling on the ship are doing so through the Government initiative 'Assisted Passage'. What does this show about attitudes towards immigration / emigration at this time? How have attitudes changed and why? 

What did you think about Rhys’ portrayal of Lily’s father and her relationship with him? What impact does his illness and suffering have on Lily and the themes in the novel?

What do you think about the portrayal of the Italian passengers on the ship?

How does the fact that the passengers are different nationalities create more tension in the novel?

The ship is a microcosm for what is happening in Europe. How many of the issues facing Europe in 1939 are also played on out the ship?

When passing a small island Lily wonders:
What would it do to a person to live out here, cut off from everything? What would it do to a society? (p252)
In a way this could also be said of the passengers on the cruise ship. Can you answer her questions? What happens to the people on the ship while they are cut off from society and everything else? 

On page 65 Lily says to Maria that “her reasons for leaving home are selfish.” Do you agree? What are her reasons for leaving home?

How did you respond to Maria’s character?

By placing Lily on the ship, Rhys exposes her to many more relationships, nationalities, classes and experiences that she would not have encountered if she stayed at home. Which moments or people do you think will have had the most impact on Lily and why?

“I want to see where you live so I can picture you when I’m stuck up there dying of boredom.” Eliza regularly seeks Lily out and is more keen to spend time with her than on the first class deck where she belongs. What does Eliza really want from Lily? How do you think she sees their relationship?

Eliza refers to her time “up there” as if it is some kind of prison, a purgatory where she feels trapped. Rhys repeats contrasting imagery between 'up there' and 'down below'. Why does Rhys repeat these phrases and these images?

How did the revelation of what happened to Eliza and Max’s child affect the way you related to them as characters? Did it ever excuse their behaviour on the ship? How would you summarise their relationship and marriage?

“Happiness is so fragile it can break apart in the air for the wind to disperse.” (p230) Can you think of any moments of true happiness during the time the characters are on the ship?

This is where my real life begins. Here in the Indian Ocean at the very mid-point of the world.”  Lily p 240. How has Lily changed while on the ship? Think of three ways her character may be different in Australia from the girl who left England?

How is the theme of dissatisfaction and fulfilment explored in the novel?

"What an unpleasant little person" says Eliza of Ida. What did you make of Ida?

“I feel like I’ve crossed half the world only to go back in time.” (Lily p306) Although Lily is making a flippant comment about the music, how far is this statement true? How much has really changed by the end of the cruise?

Why does Max like to collect ‘vulnerable people’? (p319)

The ship is a kind of limbo for the characters. A place somewhere between what is real and what is unreal, past and future, war and peace. Which character takes the most advantage of this limbo?

“We’re in Australia now. Everything is different……Life can begin again. Everything is left behind.” Is it?

It seems that Edward’s ‘crime’ shocks the passengers the most and outweighs all the other crimes and prejudices that have taken place on the journey. How did you react to the ending and to Edward’s ‘crime’? Did it shock you? Did the characters’ reaction to it shock you? How would the reaction of passengers on a ship today compare or differ to the scenes depicted in the novel?

Are any of the relationships Lily forms on the ship real and sincere?

Imagine each of the characters five or ten years after they disembark from the Orontes. What are they doing?

A Dangerous Crossing     Image result for a dangerous crossing rachel rhys images

Quotes to start a conversation with:

“Yes, but they’ll keep quiet if it comes to war….. at least until we’re off the ship.  Half the passengers would be our enemies.”

….an awareness that they are here on this floating world, apart from all other worlds, all of them bound together by the country they have come from and the one they are going to, and by the thousands of miles of travel that lie in between....

“On a boat like this,” says Maria,  “Everyone is running away from something.”

“You can do what you want on a boat, behave as badly as you like, and when you get to wherever you’re going it’s as if it never happened. When the ship sails away your sins go with it.” (Eliza p 193)

“Damaged people are dangerous people.” (Ian p 199)

Where to hold your book group for title:
  • A cruise ship 
  • A dining room table 
  • Poolside 
  • Cramped bedroom
What could you serve?
  • Snacks and drinks
  • Cocktails
  • Champagne 
  • Crudities and canope

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What props could you use to start a conversation about title?
  • Map of the world
  • Model ship
  • Passport
  • Cocktail glass
  • Seasick tablets
  • A party dress
  • scarf

If you liked this book and want to read similar novels try:

Death on the Nile (Hercule Poirot, #17)A Proposal to Die For (Lady Alkmene #1)At Bertram's Hotel (Miss Marple #11)The Ship of BridesBefore I Met You
The IslandThe MoonstoneThe Light Between OceansLord of the FliesThe Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The French Lieutenant's WomanFrenchman's CreekShutter Island


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Rachel Rhys is the pseudo name for Tammy Cohen, author of several best selling psychological thrillers. To find out more about Tammy you can follow her on Twitter @MsTamarCohen or check out her website where you can sign up for a newsletter to keep up to date with all her latest news and books! tammycohen.co.uk

Don't forget to follow me on Twitter for more recommendations and reviews @KatherineSunde3


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