Nerses, Kensington Critics
Beyond the Bright Sea
Alright, where do I start? Well, this book starts off with a baby, found on a skiff that washed up from the sea, The Bright Sea, to a small, windswept island called Cuttyhunk, which is in the Elizabeth Islands. As intriguing as it may sound, I must confess, I wasn't very pleased with it. It was very descriptive, and there wasn't much action, which as you may know has been a big enemy of mine when it comes to books. But I kept reading on, just to see where it would take me. And only now have I really realised how glad I am that I didn't just return the book back to the library. So, as I kept reading on, the book had introduced me to a new character called "Osh". As far as I am aware, the word is a mispronunciation of Osh's real name, which, apparently, is a long name in one of his many languages. And, ofcourse, this name is from Crow, our hero and the baby that started this novel off. And, what I mean by "many languages" is that, well, Osh uses a different language for collecting flowers to make paints, as he had a passion for painting. Anyway, one quiet (as usual) night, Crow looked out of the window and saw smoke coming from Penikese, an island left forever because of it's past with leprosy patients. This starts to make Crow VERY suspicious, and it's confirmed that it was a man, who was the "birdkeeper", he had come to Penikese for photography, nothing else. I mean, what else could he have come there for? An island no one dared to set foot on. However, Crow was not satisfied. She begged and pleaded to Osh, and their very friendly neighbour, Miss. Maggie. Miss Maggie was almost like a mother, she cared and tutored Crow. Now, before I carry on, I just want to admit that I ALREADY felt guilty for the author, underestimating her book and now being caught in its' spell. That's what I find very interesting about books. Nowadays, technology has taken over people, and I'll admit, even me too. But books are still the best way to entertain yourself, even just reading subtitles from foreign movies could help. So, back on to the book, Osh and Miss Maggie finally agree to take her to Penikese. Osh only ever really went to get some "Woadwaxen" (a type of flower, yet again in his language). As the team reach there, they stumble upon a man, who seemed like he didn't want them to be there, almost like he was hiding something. He was also armed. so the trio had no choice but to leave. However, as Crow started to walk, she heard a very loud THUD from the hospital, which was closed years ago. This leads her to go to Penikese a second time, with Osh already out of his flowers. This time, there was no crazy man, so the trio were glad. They went inside the hospital and followed the direction of the muffled thuds. As they opened the door of the suspected room, they noticed a tall man, gagged and tied all the way. As the book progresses, we find out that he was the real Birdkeeper, the other man, who was called Mr. Kendall, had taken him as hostage so he could stay at Penikese and dig up the island, because there was a myth that there was buried treasure in it. The trio save the man, and they take him to the police, where they are informed of the situation. Before this though, Crow had noticed that one of the burnt down cottages had a wall with lambs and a feather etched onto it. What's interesting is that Crow has a birth make in the shape of a feather. This led to her theory of her being from Penikese, sent away so she wouldn't catch the leprosy. However, this would have meant that she had real parents, and Osh got upset. Later on, a few letters were sent between Crow and A Doctor and Nurse. The Doctor didn't know much, but knew that there were two babies buried in Penikese, one of them was a boy called Jason, who got sent to an orphanage. However, the doctor did not have much to say, so he referred her to a nurse who worked at Penikese. This Nurse had told her much more detail, however I don't think it was of any relevance. Later on in the book, Crow lies to MIss Maggie and Osh and goes on her own to New Bedford, an industrial island, to try find Jason in the orphanage. She discovers that it had been turned into a nursery, but fortunately there was still a member of staff there. After she talks to her, Crow find out that Jason visits often, and is a sailor. Crow, even more determined, sets out to look for him, but as soon as she leaves and reaches the port, she sees Mr. Kendall at the pawn shop. At this point, the tension rises ALOT. And if I'm going to be honest, I was scared for crow. I begged her to leave, and surprisingly, she did. And then the parental scolding thing happened to her, she got told off by Osh and Miss Maggie. But even before that, when was was in the boat, she noticed a man that looked VERY VERY VERY similar to her, and this left Crow bursting with joy, as she could have just found her brother. But, the man just waved at her. And after all this, Crow had looked every day in her spare time for the "Shearwater", the ship he was on. So a few pages later, Crow solves a very mysterious puzzle. You see, when she washed up, Osh had found a letter and a ring. The letter had just a few inky works since the water washed the rest away. Now when I said that the letter from Nurse was not very relevant, I just wanted to calm the story down a bit and I'm sorry, but otherwise this would be very tense and I don't want another bad impression of this book. Well anyway, the Nurse helped fill in the gaps. One of the gaps was about "Bright Sea". The Nurse wrote that it was her name was Morgan and that a woman called Susanna had named Crow after her, because of how kind she was to her. Morgan is Bright sea in Celtic. After some thinking, Crow realised that if she was Jason's sister, then no one must have been buried in the second grave, as there were allegedly two babies buried. So, yet again, the trio set out to Penikese, and this time, dig up the grave that had "Morgan" etched onto it. And what did they find? A box, full with treasure: diamonds, gold, emeralds, pearls, sapphires, amethysts etc. They quickly hide it, so no one sees. I'm about to get to the bit that we've been waiting for, so I might as well say that the tension line here bounces from high to low frequently, and I don't mean like this, but be prepared. So, after they hide the treasure, Crow noticed a small boat pull into the dock of Penikese. This was unusual, as all the other people had stopped looking for the treasure before the trio had it, so it could only be Mr. Kendall. And then, the same boat was coming in their direction, to Cuttyhunk. As it reached the shore, Osh and Crow went to Miss Maggie's house to be safe. Luckily, Mr Kendall didn't get to Miss Maggie's house, but when Osh and Crow returned, their entire house was smashed. ALL the furniture. ALL of Osh's paintings. ALL of the windows. It was disaster. But there was some good news. Mr Kendall was arrested. Later on, in the night, a schooner had crashed because of an extreme storm. When Crow rushed out without listening to Osh, she saw that it had "The shearwater" on it. And this, is where you might get a heart attack. Crow rushed to help the sailors, and eventually they found the man who looked A LOT like her. They took him to their house and bandaged him, took care of him, let him rest etc. You'd think this is where the story ends, peacefully. Crow finding her long lost brother. But let me tell you, you are wrong. First of all, the trio receive news of Mr. Kendall, that he broke OUT OF JAIL. Can you believe it? Because I sure couldn't. And then, Crow wakes up to a loud thud on her door. She opens it, and finds Mr. Kendall, with his gun in the ready. He threatens her to kill his hostages (Osh and Miss Maggie) unless she showed him where the treasure was. And it was hidden in a tree, a tall one, so he forces her to climb up and get it, but she stays there for so long that the man himself went up the tree as Crow jumped off and ran towards Miss Maggie's house. There, she untied the two hostages and comes out to see Mr. Kendall on the grass, unconscious. He fell. And now, finally we reach the happy bit. This time the man gets arrested in leg cuffs and a hood, and put in maximum security, so there's no way he would come back. However, there was still one more thing to do. The man on the shipwreck. As Crow ran, she saw him awake, and asked him what you're here for. And guess what? He's not Jason. But still, even after that ending, this book has become my favourite. It certainly represents a human right of equality, since everyone stayed away from Crow, thinking she was a "leper", the nickname people gave to people who had leprosy.
And if there's one thing I learnt from this book, it's that there are better bonds than blood.
Posted on: 8th May 2018 at 05:10 pm