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Across the Great Lake (Volume 1) von Lee…
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Across the Great Lake (Volume 1) (2020. Auflage)

von Lee Zacharias (Autor)

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"It was a huge and powerful ship with a tall, handsome pilothouse and big smoking stacks, no place for a girl, though I loved it, I cannot tell you how much I loved it." In her eighty-fifth year, Fern Halvorson tells the story of a childhood journey across Lake Michigan and the secret she has kept since that ill-fated voyage. As his wife lies dying in the brutally cold winter of 1936, Henrik Halvorsen takes his daughter Fern away with him. He captains a great coal-fired vessel, the Manitou, transporting railroad cars across the icy lake. The five-year-old girl revels in the freedom of the ferry, making friends with a stowaway cat and a gentle young deckhand. The sighting of a ghost ship, though, presages danger for all aboard.… (mehr)
Mitglied:SteveLindahl
Titel:Across the Great Lake (Volume 1)
Autoren:Lee Zacharias (Autor)
Info:University of Wisconsin Press (2020), Edition: 1st, 248 pages
Sammlungen:Deine Bibliothek
Bewertung:*****
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Across the Great Lake von Lee Zacharias

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The great lakes are fresh water lakes. Fresh water freezes at thirty-two degrees fahrenheit, a few degrees warmer than the temperature where salt water freezes. This increases the likelihood that freshwater ice will form quicker and be thicker, which is a problem for ships crossing Lake Michigan.

Across the Great Lake is the story of Manitou, a railroad ferry, in service in the early twentieth century. Railroad ferries were huge boats designed to carry railroad cars. Train engines would load the cars onto tracks built on a deck in the boat, then other engines would unload them when the boat reached the other side of Lake Michigan. This way the railroad could avoid traveling a huge distance to go around the lake.

Manitou was nicknamed the Bull of the Woods because it was a sturdy boat, capable of breaking through thick ice. It had such a great reputation for this it was often sent out to free other ferries trapped in the ice.

Lee Zacharias' novel is written from the point of view of Fern, the five-year-old daughter of the captain of the Manitou. The book has been thoroughly researched and is beautifully written, describing all the details of the boat and of the problems the crew takes on as they cross this massive body of water. By choosing to look at the boat through the naive eyes of a child and have her speak with experienced seamen, Zacharias is able to explain everything from the most elementary details to the more complicated ones. I knew very little about this part of American history and I was fascinated by it. She also managed to accomplish this without stopping the flow of the story.

At the beginning of the book Fern's mother is depressed because she has just lost a baby at the end of her pregnancy. She cannot find the strength to get out of bed to take care of her daughter, so Captain Halvorsen is left with no choice other than to take Fern on his scheduled journey across the lake. Once on board he assigns Alv, a fourteen year-old-boy, the youngest member of the crew, to watch out for her. Their relationship pushes the story along on a personal level.

The narrative bounces back and forth between Fern at age five and Fern as an adult looking back on her experiences. Among the characters other than Fern, Alv is the most important, but we also follow her relationships with her father, her mother, her stepmother and many of the members of the crew. This book captured me and I recommend it highly.

Across the Great Lake won the Sir Walter Raleigh Award for fiction, a Michigan Notable Book Award and a silver in the Independent Publisher Book Awards. ( )
  SteveLindahl | Sep 12, 2021 |
This beautifully written new book by Lee Zacharias spoke to my soul. It was so well written that I not only followed the story but felt like I was part of the story - I was cold in the ice, hot in the fire and seasick during the storm. If I could give it more than five stars, I would definitely do it!

This novel mainly takes place during the winter of 1936 when the captain of a lake ferry takes his 5 year old daughter Fern with him across Lake Michigan to deliver train cars to Wisconsin. The ice is heavy on the big lake and they face dangerous weather and the possibility of damage from the ice, but at 5 Fern only sees the adventure of being on the great vessel unsupervised and able to explore as much as she wants to. She manages to make friends with many of the crew members including a young deckhand who helps take care of her and also makes friends with a cat that she finds in the train area and a ghost who comes to her room at night. We also see Fern at different parts of her life and learn how this one lake crossing affected the rest of her life.

I read this book slowly so that I wouldn't miss a word of the beautiful writing. I grew up in Michigan and am familiar with the central area of the book which made it even more magical for me but you don't have to be a Michigander to enjoy this book. I already know that this book is going to be one of my top books for this year.

Thanks to netgalley for a copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own. ( )
  susan0316 | Jun 23, 2018 |
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"It was a huge and powerful ship with a tall, handsome pilothouse and big smoking stacks, no place for a girl, though I loved it, I cannot tell you how much I loved it." In her eighty-fifth year, Fern Halvorson tells the story of a childhood journey across Lake Michigan and the secret she has kept since that ill-fated voyage. As his wife lies dying in the brutally cold winter of 1936, Henrik Halvorsen takes his daughter Fern away with him. He captains a great coal-fired vessel, the Manitou, transporting railroad cars across the icy lake. The five-year-old girl revels in the freedom of the ferry, making friends with a stowaway cat and a gentle young deckhand. The sighting of a ghost ship, though, presages danger for all aboard.

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