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.
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© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. *Starred Review* After her baby brother's accidental drowning, Louisa develops a fear of water that will haunt her in ways she can't begin to imagine. As a young teen in 1911, she jumps at the chance to become a nursery maid for a wealthy London family, even though it will mean living apart from her own tight-knit family. Lou then enters a world of titled English privilege, the details and nuances of which will intrigue many readers. She has to tread carefully around the harsh dictates of Nanny McIntosh and navigate the complex household while growing to know and love her young charges. When asked to accompany the family on the Titanic's voyage to New York, Lou is fairly terrorized at the prospect. Off she goes with forbearance and courage, however, and Watts provides a fascinating account of what the great unsinkable ship was like. The catastrophe is rendered in a heartbreakingly graceful style, and Lou performs heroically in shepherding her two little girls to safety on a lifeboat in this uniquely engaging and satisfying coming-of-age historical adventure tale. Grades 6-8. --Anne O'Malley
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