The Lost Story of the Ocean Monarch (Hardback)
Fire, Family and Fidelity
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“The ship was almost instantly in flames … Some jumped overboard immediately, and all was in indescribable confusion. The masts began to fall one after another, and it is supposed killed great numbers by their descent. Others, it is feared, were roasted alive, but the majority were drowned.” (Hull Advertiser and Exchange Gazette, 25 August 1848)
The Ocean Monarch was only a few hours out of Liverpool on 24 August 1848 when a cabin passenger shouted “Fire!” and all hell broke loose. Bound for Boston with almost 400 people on board, the emigrant ship was soon ablaze with little chance of putting the flames out. People watched helplessly from their cottages along the Welsh coast as some ships ignored the travellers’ plight while others raced to their aid. On the 170th anniversary of the disaster Gill Hoffs reveals the full story of this forgotten wreck, including tales of French royalty, an American artist, and a courageous stewardess who gave her life to save her fellow travellers. Discover what happened to the passengers and crew, including:
James K. Fellows, a kindly American jeweller trying to get home to his family
Jotham Bragdon, the first mate who fled the wreck then returned to shore a hero
Mary Walter and her mysterious ‘family’, escaping danger in London only to find greater peril lay at sea
Follow the murder trial of a crew of rescuers and find out the real fate of their ‘victim’ – and whether the mysterious Irish toddler ‘Kate’ found her family again.
In twelve chapters, Hoffs explores events and people before, during, and after the fire. She includes some black-and-white photographs, an epilogue, and personal note, as well as appendices that provide a chronology of the corpses and details about them, locations of grave sites and inquests, and a list of medals. In addition, there is a list of names of passengers, stewards, stewardesses, the captain and crew, and some who were aboard other vessels and came to the doomed ship’s aid. A select bibliography and index complete the text. Interspersed throughout the narrative are firsthand accounts and newspaper reports of what happened that day and in the days that followed... an important contribution to collections focusing on shipwrecks and emigrant stories.Pirates and Privateers, Cindy Vallar
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The author is establishing herself as a specialist in the subject of maritime disasters. This is another memorial account that captures the terrors of maritime disaster, bringing the dead back to life. – Most Highly Recommended.Firetrench
Read the complete review online here.
Shipwrecks were common in the 19th century, so Gill Hoffs' thoroughly researched and engrossing account is a valuable opportunity to understand some of our ancestors' experiences.WDYTYA?, August 2018 – reviewed by Dr Simon Wills
Article: 'Author to hold signing to mark release of third book' as featured online byWarrington Guardian, 20th June 2018 - words by Lydia Judd
Article: 'Third release by history author is ready to set sail' as featured byWarrington Guardian, 28th June 2018
As featured byWaterside, Summer 2018
Very many congratulations!Reader Review
To handle a dramatic event of such short duration, plus such a large cast, and expand to book length require skill. You have done a lot of research and you pull it off by liberal use of verbatim or journalists' reports. Layout of the book is first class. Significant detail is what makes a scene live - and your use and choice of this is exemplary. I don't know another contemporary writer who does it better. Very many congratulations.
YOU’VE DONE IT AGAIN : produced another great book! In your own inimitable style: lots of meticulous research, which you then weave into a story about the real people of the time. You manage to convey the impression that you were actually there. I started the book at the weekend and literally couldn’t put it down... I finished it in 3 days, including one very late night! You must feel (justifiably) very proud. Rest on your laurels for a little while now but don’t leave it too long: I don’t want to wait another 2 years for a good read!Reader Review