At last, the Kindle edition of Jersey: Secrets of the Sea is here. It is priced at just £2.99 on Amazon UK and is available here. In these strange times of lockdown, when Jersey itself is largely isolated, e-Books are enjoying something of a renaissance and enable me to continue reaching my local and off-Island readership even while the bookshops are closed.
I’ve been delighted with the generous critical reception this book has received. You can read the Historical Novel Society’s recent review here.
‘Darroch alternates historical background information with realistic first-person narrative, conveying with skill both the tension of the situations and the moods of the key players…
You don’t need to have a special relationship with Jersey to truly appreciate these remarkable cameos of Jersey folk from various epochs, who left a mark on history. But if St. Ouen’s Bay, Mont Orgueil Castle and the Howard Davis Park mean anything to you, this book is even more inspiring’ – Historical Novel Society, 2020
Here’s the Author’s Preface to Jersey: Secrets of the Sea by way of an introduction…
I started to discover Jersey’s secrets of the sea on a dark October evening, as blustery weather rolled in from the west. Since the publication of Jersey: The Hidden Histories, I had been searching for a compelling theme to bind together my second book. Then I chanced upon the story of the lost manor of La Brecquette, and it abruptly gripped my imagination. Somewhere in the bay beyond, the tide was rising.
On a night such as this, long ago, the sea cleaved the land bridge that tethered us to the continent, and this Island was born. In the ages to come, it would be peopled, settled and invaded, and it would be given a new name. From the very beginning, Jersey’s story has been sculpted by the sea.
I imagined Jersey’s maritime history unfolding in four distinct seasons. In Jersey’s medieval springtime, as it emerged from the fog of myth, the ocean was feared as a primal, destructive force. Local legends tell not only of the waves that drowned La Brecquette, but of the sea wreaking violent retribution on wrongdoers.
As summer dawned, and the Renaissance gave way to the Enlightenment, the old world’s horizons tumbled, and adventure called. In this great age of discovery, the mariners of Jersey, from Governor Sir Walter Raleigh to the fisher king Charles Robin, set out to claim the world.
Jersey sailed on into its golden autumn of plenty, the heyday of the Victorian and Edwardian eras. Its restless children would cross the oceans to pursue missionary calling in China, find fame in early Hollywood and build a fortune in Africa.
Jersey seafarers were afforded a ringside seat at some of the defining moments of maritime history. In these pages, we will step onto the bridge of RMS Titanic with the Quartermaster from St Ouen, as a Jersey millionairess slumbers in her first-class suite below, and the blue iceberg glints ahead of them in the darkness.
Finally, winter fell hard upon Jersey; an age of suffering and war; of troop-ships leaving for the Western Front, and of a lone boatman escaping the shadow of the Occupation. The cycle of the seasons had come full circle.
All those tales are yet to come. Our story begins on an icy medieval night, aboard a ship of princes. They say it is the most exquisite vessel in the world, and it carries the heir to the throne. Before the hourglass empties, it will lie beneath the waves.
Buy the Kindle Edition of Jersey: Secrets of the Sea on Amazon UK.
(c) Paul Darroch 2020