• Paperback Snob

Five reasons why we love The Accidental Stowaway by Judith Eagle

When Patch hides on a ship after being wrongly accused of toffee theft, she never expects it to set sail immediately. Suddenly a stowaway en route to New York, Patch's whole world changes instantly. She has embarked on the adventure of a lifetime but can Patch last the five-day journey without being caught? And what about the cast of colourful characters she meets onboard? Are they all who they say they are, and are some as sinister as they seem?

There are so many reasons to love The Accidental Stowaway by Judith Eagle but here are our top five...

1. It's enchanting without featuring any actual magic

This is such a captivating story with the most wonderful characters that it casts a strong spell over the reader despite the plot not including any magical elements.

2. It feels like a classic

It has an elegant, quaint and cosy, old-fashioned storybook quality that you don't often see anymore.

3. It's beautifully written

There are so many exquisitely lyrical lines that add to the atmosphere and make the story feel even cosier. It's impossible to list them all but here is one example:"In the early afternoon light, the gas lamps flickered, turning the pale green walls the colour of rosy apples." The narrative is also expertly paced; there is never a dull moment and the reader is drawn into Patch's world immediately. There are so many intriguing characters and plenty of mysteries lurking within the pages that make you compelled to keep turning them.

4. The setting is fascinating

Not only does the story take place in 1910, which is in itself interesting, but almost all the action happens on board an ocean liner, or a 'floating palace' as Patch describes it. The reader gets to explore all three decks, from the opulent upper deck, where the most affluent travellers reside, to the spartan lower deck that belongs to those with the cheapest tickets. We even get to peek inside the engine and cargo rooms. Judith Eagle's masterful writing makes you feel like you are there and it's such a magnificent place to be!

5. Patch is a brilliant character All of the characters feel remarkably real and I'm fond of each one (and their rapport), including the "baddies", but Patch is my favourite. She is resourceful and clever, witty and daring; she is also remarkably kind and loyal. Her rollerskating and singing skills make her more endearing and I love how Patch is no match for anyone she encounters – not even nefarious villains. I love the ending too; I'm not going to spoil it but it's so perfect and exactly what Patch deserves.

The Accidental Stowaway was published by Faber on 4th August 2022 - see this book on the publisher's website Thanks so much to the lovely people in Faber for sharing this marvellous book with me; all opinions expressed are my own.