June 1, 2010
Seventeen-year-old Camille Rowen has spent the best moments of her life aboard her father's ship. She loves the adventure and the sense of freedom it gives her so, of course, she is dreading her upcoming marriage. Marrying a wealthy man will mean better standing in society (this is 1855)--no more whispering about her--but will also mean an end to her sailing days. (And this is actually all I knew about the book before I read it! I purposely ignored the synopsis, so you can skip to my more review-y part if you want.)
It is on her final voyage with her father before her marriage to Randall when everything unfolds.
Camille learns that her mother is not, as she has believed her whole life, dead but actually living in Australia. And in possession of a mysterious map. A map believed to lead to a magical stone.
Then, when the ship goes down in a horrible storm and Camille's father is killed, it is up to her and Oscar, her father's first mate to decide what to do in Australia (all with Camille's impending marriage looming over them). William's (Camille's father) adversary McGreenery is also after the stone and not afraid to hurt someone to be the one who gets it.
Camille and Oscar have a complicated relationship, he's been around their home more like a family member than a crew member and the feelings they have for each other are far from easily definable. And he and Camille's fiance, Randall can't stand each other.
It's like The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle with a splash of Oregon Trail, a pinch of Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie and a little bit of The Merciless and some of the best parts of Pirates of the Caribbean--but really, it is its own unique tale. A tale with ships, love that's not meant to be, family obligation, treasure maps, bushrangers, and the expanses of Australia.
Love, loss, the high seas, a mythical stone, and some serious bad guys--Everlasting seriously has it all.
I'll admit, readily, that Everlasting is now one of my favorite books. I got really interested in it because of the 'ship' parts but that's actually not a huge part of the book. Their adventures across Australia make almost a Western (think 3:10 to Yuma or something since I seem to have little reference for Westerns) or PoTC with something around every corner, ready to get them and making them improvise. There are some guns and explosions and chases but not much-and not a lot of violence.
Camille being such a strong willed, reluctant-to-join-in-with-society's-expectations character also made the story so enjoyable. Camille, internally, and other parts of the plot struggled with where a girl/woman should be and what she should be doing in that time period. And I really liked that it was not a PSA but a part of the story.
The plot of this really wasn't predictable. Even when I thought I had an idea of where things were likely going, there was always something else thrown in that changed things up at least a little bit. I loved it; it wasn't predicable, but also never had anything that came out of nowhere.
And then-and I'm not saying how to save it-the ending was super amazing and creative and I loved it.
I loved the relationships built in Everlasting, the period accuracy that seemed to be used, the adventure (and suspense), the smart challenging of what was expected out of women then. I hope that there will sometime be more about Camille--either set in the future or maybe even the past--and definitely more from Angie Frazier.
Thank you to Angie Frazier for getting this book sent to me :)