PBOTD 26th September: Monica Edwards - Storm Ahead

Storm Ahead (1953) was one of those frantically rare Monica Edwards titles. I paid far more than I care to admit for my Puffin edition, as it was the only chance I had of getting my hands on one, not being able to afford the handsome three figure sums that were being asked for the hardback edition, even without a dustjacket. Girls Gone By changed all this when they published their edition of Storm Ahead. I sold out of the copies I'd ordered (this was in my bookselling days) pretty quickly, and made the huge mistake of not hanging on to one. Now the GGB copies sell for £40 plus.

Storm Ahead is very well worth reading. It's one of my favourite Edwards titles, which has an immediacy and poignancy even beyond her usual standards. The story was based on Monica's own experiences of the Rye lifeboat disaster of 15th November 1929. Into the teeth of a gale blowing at 80 mph, the lifeboat the Mary Stanford was launched to rescue the crew of the Alice of Riga. The crew were picked up by another ship, but it was too late to recall the Mary Stanford. Nobody returned.

Monica's father, the vicar of Rye Harbour, conducted the funeral services. Storm Ahead was Monica's fictionalised account of the disaster, mixed in with additional drama like the rabid dog that bit Lindsay, and caused Tamzin to make an epic ride through the dark floods for the doctor. This ride is in itself petrifying, because although Tamzin knows where the road should be, in the floodwater and the dark it proves impossible to follow.

Storm Ahead remains one of Monica's most popular titles: deservedly so.

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The Romney Marsh Series
Wish for a Pony
The Summer of the Great Secret
The Midnight Horse
The White Riders
Cargo of Horses
Hidden in a Dream
Storm Ahead
No Entry
The Nightbird
Operation Seabird
Strangers to the Marsh
No Going Back
The Hoodwinkers
Dolphin Summer
A Wind is Blowing

More on Monica Edwards
Everything you ever wanted to know on Monica Edwards and her books: John Allsup's site


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