Cristina Sanders, Displaced, Walker Books, April 2021, 304 pp., RRP $19.99 (pbk), ISBN 9781760653347
With the hopeful promise of prosperous farmlands, Eloise and her family embark on the risky sea journey from Cornwall, England to New Zealand.
Little did they know the treacherous journey will force them to face hardships unlike anything they have experienced before. A sea burial, a gruelling fever and a missing brother result in the family broken seemingly beyond repair. Following their arrival to New Zealand, they discover that the promised farmlands was a ruse.
After her father abandons the family, Eloise is left to care for her blind brother, pregnant sister, and shell of a mother. As well, Eloise is facing her own battles, as she learns to live poverty-stricken and comes to understand what the future (does or doesn’t) hold. All while her heart yearns to belong to Lars, the Norwegian boy she met on the ship.
This historical fiction novel is an enthralling tale of the common immigrant encounters of the late 1800s. Author Cristina Sander’s personal immigrant experience allows for realistic insight into the hardships faced at sea and in the aftermath of such a journey. Displaced deals with issues of social construct, the importance of Christian values at the time and the shame brought upon families at the dismissal of these. The character development of the women in this story is particularly admirable and written in an elegant manner.
This tale is suitable for children in year 6 onwards or any person with a love for historical fiction.
Reviewed by Olivia Sammut