Skip to main content

Review: Moonraker, by F Tennyson Jesse


Pages: 162
Original date of publication: 1927
My copy: 1981 (Virago Modern Classics)
Why I decided to read:
How I acquired my copy: Library Thing member, July 2011

One day, young Jacky Jacka visits a witch, where he sees a vision of a woman in a bowl of water. The vision leads him to seek passage on a ship to the West Indies, which is then hijacked en route by the pirate Captain Lovel and the crew aboard the Moonraker. The year in 1801, a time when Napoleon had control of the high seas and the days of swashbuckling piracy was—nearly—on its way out. The story takes young Jacky throughout the Caribbean, and along the way he meets a Frenchman named Raoul and a black man Toussaint L’Ouverture, who works to free Haiti from the forces of Napoleon.

On the surface it’s a fun tale; Tennyson drew her inspiration from Robert Louis Stevenson, and obvious comparisons might be made between this book and the Pirates of the Caribbean films. But this novel goes a bit deeper than that. F Tennyson Jesse was a sailor herself; she was also a journalist, so she tended to over-research material for her books. There’s almost too much nautical description in this novel.

Her novels all have similar themes; without wanting to spoil too much about the plot of Moonraker, the author commonly explores themes about women and their place in a typically male environment. Jesse also explores the theme of race, albeit briefly; in that way, I wish that the book had been a bit longer, just so that the author could have explored the Haitian rebellion a little more. According to the introduction at the beginning of my edition, this novel belonged to a dying genre of fiction: the adventure story with an historical setting. I guess some things truly are cyclical.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Review: Invitation to the Waltz, by Rosamond Lehmann

Pages: 304Original date of publication: 1931My edition: Why I decided to read: I found this while looking on ebay for Virago Modern ClassicsHow I acquired my copy: bought secondhand on ebayInvitation to the Waltz is one of those coming-of-age-stories. Unlike, for example, The Crowded Street, which focuses on a young woman’s entire coming-of-age experience, Invitation to the Waltz focuses on just one moment in seventeen-year-old Olivia Curtis’s life: a coming-out ball, the seminal moment in the life of any girl of the period (approximately the 1920s). Olivia is neither the most beautiful nor the most vivacious girl at the party, and she’s apprehensive about the evening and all it entails. This is not one of those “high action” books, but it gives a lot of insight into the thoughts and feelings of a girl making the leap into adulthood. I think if I had read this book ten years ago, I would have completely identified with Olivia—she’s shy and retiring, and unsure of herself. Her dress is…

The Sunday Salon

What a crazy week this has been! My cousin, who’s ten, was in town for most of this past week, and since he’s high energy, it’s taken a lot of energy especially out of my mom, who also had to deal with my 87-year-old grandmother. Plus. my sister was in town for the weekend, so it’s been mostly crazy around here. All of my posts this past week have been scheduled; and I only got around to writing a bunch of outstanding reviews yesterday afternoon. It’s quieter here now that my mom has driven my sister back to New York, and I’ve spent much of today catching up on sleep and, of course, reading. Right now I’m reading one of my Virago Modern Classics: The Rising Tide, by Molly Keane (though it was originally published under her pseudonym MJ Farrell). I’m really loving it; the author really knew how to combine wonderful (sometimes exasperating) characters with a great plot. I’ve been cruising Ebay for more books by Molly Keane, since I’m living her writing style. This is easily one of the b…

Read in 2014

January:
1. Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon
2. The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome, by Tony Attwood
3. Mozart and the Whale, by Mary and Jerry Newport
4. Handling the Truth, by Beth Kephart
5. Girl, Interrupted, by Susanna Kaysen
6. The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
7. Them, by Joyce Carol Oates
8. Wide Sargasso Sea, by Jean Rhys

February:
1. Random Family, by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc
2. I Was Told There'd Be Cake, by Sloane Crosley
3. The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath
4. Twilight Sleep, by Edith Wharton
5. Twirling Naked in the Streets, by Jeannie Davide-Rivera
6. Hungry Hill, by Daphne Du Maurier
7. Me, Myself, and Why, by Jennifer Ouilette
8. Lady Chatterley's Lover, by DH Lawrence
9. The Wise Virgins, by Leonard Woolf

March:
1. Out With It, by Katherine Preston
2. Never Have I Ever, by Katie Heaney
3. Look me in the Eye, by John Elder Robison
4. Beyond, the Glass, by Antonia White
5. Atypical, by Jesse Saperstein
6. The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox, by Maggie O'Far…