A story of reliance and resilience.Did you call out to us, Johnny, before your small body was dragged down under the water? Why didn't we hear you? I am sorry! I'll never forget.
Louisa Gardener is the fourteen-year-old nursemaid to the young daughters of a wealthy, titled family living in London, England, in 1912.
Despite the bullying Nanny Mackintosh, for whom she is an extra pair of hands, she loves her work and her young charges. Then everything changes. The family decides to sail to New York aboard the Titanic. An accident to the children's nanny, only days prior to the sailing, means that Louisa must go in her stead. She cannot refuse, although she dreads even the mention of the ocean. Memories she has suppressed, except in nightmares, come crowding back.
When Louisa was five and her sister seven years old, their two-year-old brother died on an outing to the seaside. Since that time, Louisa has had a fear of the ocean. She blames herself for the accident, though she has been told it wasn't her fault.
If Louisa refuses to go on the voyage, she will be dismissed, and she will never get beyond the working-class life she has escaped from.
How Louisa learns self-reliance, overcomes her fears, and goes beyond what is expected of a girl makes No Moon an unforgettable story.
In a world where she's always told to remember her place, 14-year-old Louisa Gardener dreams of seeing what's out there and discovering what she can do and be, not an easy task within the rigid social hierarchies of early-20th-century England. Now she has the opportunity, as nursery maid to Lady Rupert Milton of Chesham, of going to the other side of the world-on the Titanic. But she has always felt responsible for the drowning of her little brother Johnny at the seashore several years before, and nightmares persist; how can she ever be in charge of children on the ocean again? Louisa's earnest and straightforward first-person account has a quiet power all its own, making the author's excessive use of exclamation points distracting and unnecessary. An irresistible story of how one young girl's dreams and the fate of a great ocean liner intersect, compelling despite authorial missteps. (afterword) (Historical fiction. 9-14)
From the Publisher
PRAISE FOR GOOD-BYE MARIANNE, THE GRAPHIC NOVEL: "... Based on true events, this fictional account of hatred and racism speaks volumes about both history and human nature. "
— MultiCultural Review
- Hattie Stiles
I enjoyed the story line, but I felt that the build-up was a bit lengthy. They didn't board the Titanic until halfway through the book. I also noticed that the writing style isn't uniform. It switches back and forth from sounding like first person narrative to journal entry to almost script-like. I really liked the way the author portrayed the time period through the dialogue and characters' actions. She did a good job describing the characters through what they did and said rather than straight description. I think young girls will like this book. Reviewer: Hattie Stiles, Teen Reviewer
- Kim Carter
Only six years old when her baby brother Johnny drowns on an outing to the seashore, Louisa eventually outgrows her nightmares, but not her fear of the ocean. Now fourteen, Louisa has been home helping with her four younger siblings, since quitting school at twelve. When the opportunity arises to serve as nursery maid to the two young daughters of Lord and Lady Milton, Louisa eagerly accepts the post. Between learning her place in the hierarchical system of servants and withstanding the unyieldingly critical nature of Nanny Mackintosh, Louisa has much to adjust to, but adjust she happily does. In the early spring, Louisa learns that Nanny and the girls are to accompany Lord and Lady Milton on the maiden voyage of the Titanic. Louisa immediately begins to worry about the girls' safety, and after Nanny has an accident, breaking a wrist and an ankle, and Lady Milton determines Louisa is to go in Nanny's place, Louisa's fears of the dreadful power of the ocean once again overwhelm her. If she doesn't go, however, she'll lose her post — and more importantly, who will see to it that Miss Alexandra and Miss Portia are safe? With a narrative style faintly reminiscent of Little House on the Prairie (HarperCollins), No Moon masterfully conveys the harsher time period and lifestyle of the turn of the twentieth century, as well as the tragedy of the Titanic, with a memorable young protagonist in the context of loving relationships. No Moon is an exceptional historical novel for young readers. Reviewer: Kim Carter
- Susan Treadway M.Ed.
The face of bravery comes in many forms, ages, and places and true bravery across time and cultures is worth more than gold. Such genuine courage has lasting value whether fictional or in real life. This story is primarily for youngsters, but it should be passed on for others to savor, too. It is a profound story of a young girl's growing awareness of herself and those around her, but also of a changing larger world, her various roles, and how she affects lives daily. In England before World War I, Louisa Gardener and her family make a fine home together even as there are soon more mouths to feed. Years earlier in 1902 when she was only five, their youngest brother drowned during a seaside trip when the two sisters had promised to watch him carefully. Then, with sisters and brothers to care for, twelve-year-old Louisa forgoes further schooling to help mama and learns about running a busy household. Older sister Kathleen moves on to apprentice at Miss Jenny's Drapery as a splendid opportunity to have her own hat salon and tea parlor one day. Louisa dreams of "stepping out" of course. Little does she anticipate how her life is about to come full circle, for a glorious yet ill-fated voyage on the Titanic will transform history and this strong, determined girl when she turns sixteen. Events move along quickly as Louisa is hired as a nursemaid for a wealthy London family living in a large and busy house. She is still made aware of a phrase uttered repeatedly during her youth, "Remember your place," Presenting a clear picture of England's class system and its effects. Unexpectedly, however, she is going on the Titanic's maiden voyage in Nanny Mackintosh's place to be in charge of Lord and Lady Milton's daughters, Miss Portia and Miss Alexandra. Fears of a massive ocean overwhelm her as memories of her brother Johnny's drowning haunt her deeply. In spite of everything ever written or said about the marvelous, unsinkable Titanic, only 705 people were saved while 1,503 perished. Lady Milton, her two girls and Louisa were among first-class passengers allowed on the very few available life boats. They were rescued and sailed to New York. After a harrowing trip there and back to England, Louisa is reunited with family and thankful to be reassured of her job. She has done very well. Surprisingly, it is Nanny Mackintosh who is let go. Experiences in Maggie's short life strengthened her tremendously with every new moon. There is a short author's note.. Reviewer: Susan Treadway, M.Ed.
School Library Journal
Gr 6–9—Watts offers a compelling story of a British servant girl's experience on the Titanic's catastrophic voyage. Wanting to provide financial support for her large family, Louisa, 14, takes the post of nursemaid for a wealthy family. The overbearing nanny criticizes her every move, but Louisa thrives in the position. Then the nanny has an accident days before the family is to sail to New York, and Louisa must either go in her place or lose her job. Haunted by the drowning of her baby brother when she was younger and for which she feels responsible, Louisa insists that the children practice putting on their life vests. When the fateful collision with the iceberg occurs, Watts documents the chaos and emotions realistically. Some of the encounters that Louisa has with the famous and infamous passengers are a bit contrived given Louisa's stature in society, but the encounters do aid in creating a glimpse of the environment on the ship. This book doesn't cover new ground, but the author's portrayal of Edwardian life for both the wealthy and the working classes and her creation of a believable Louisa make No Moon worth reading.—Hilary Writt, Sullivan University, Lexington, KY
Born in Germany, IRENE N. WATTS is a playwright and writer who has worked throughout Canada and Europe. She has published many award-winning books for children, including Good-bye Marianne, Finding Sophie, Remember Me, Flower, When the Bough Breaks, and Clay Man: The Golem of Prague. Her books have been translated into several languages, including Italian, French, and Dutch. Irene N. Watts lives in Vancouver.