The Family Ship is a deeply woven remarkable, unique family saga that explores a family in crisis when tragedy blindsides them. It’s a beautifully written story that pulls you into the heart of a family while exploring the dynamics of love, tragedy, grief, loyalty, healing, and hope.
The story is set in 1980’s when children needed to use their imaginations to entertain themselves, and the Vergennes family of nine children are a very imaginative, quirky close-knit bunch. They live on a small island property with a docked oyster boat they spend hours going on imaginary voyages. The ship is used to teach discipline and responsibility, with the oldest Verity as the ship captain and her siblings the crew.
The story is told through a few family members giving a well-rounded perspective of the family dynamics. The pace is slower to start as we get to know this large family, which helps keep them apart. I felt for each of the children and wanted to take care of them, and they tugged at my heart-strings in different directions with the emotional pull to the story.
For me, the center of the story was the father and son complicated dynamics between Arthur and estranged oldest son Jude, who comes back home when tragedy consumes the family. Sonja Yoerg has a way of emotional pulling you into the conflicts the family faces and at times I was shouting at them both and angry at Arthur with how controlling he was and how he treated Jude. Through their actions Sonja Yoerg shows us a deeper understanding of family relationships and I enjoyed the love, and hope that shined through the story.
“I used to think hope was something you had because you didn’t have what you really wanted.”
“hope is more important than what you actually have in your hand. You can lose what you have, but there’s always more to hope for” ~Verity
I loved this unusual hopeful story that shows how grief can break us apart and bring us together. It’s a thoughtful, insightful and unforgettable story. I highly recommend it.
I received a copy from the publisher through NetGalley.