HOMEWARD BOUND by Elizabeth Walter


Email this review


Walter (A Season of Goodwill, 1986) covers familiar ground--or should we say water?--in this novel chronicling the passage of the S.S. Karachi from Bombay to England just a few years after the Great War. Her focus rests exclusively on First Class, which holds a not too surprising array of passengers, including the pretty sisters Martin, returning to England so that little Nina Call make up for her late mama's profligacy by becoming a nun. The ship's doctor, Edmund Blandon, takes a shine to Nina's livelier sister, Connie, who, unlike everyone else aboard, doesn't mind that he spent the war imprisoned as a conscientious objector. Cynthia Vane, a widow traveling with her spoiled son, Bobby, finds herself drawn to the Karachi's salty captain, Angus Meiklejohn. They form a liaison, which adds yet another problem to Angus's already hefty list: His own son, a veteran, behaves as if he were Bobby's age due to shell shock; Nina Martin claims she's been raped by a masked man; a stowaway is discovered on board, who turns out to be the misfit son of the Nawab of Maggapore (and possibly the rapist); and last, but not least, just as the Karachi nears port, a disgruntled Indian stoker sets a few fires, forcing Waiter's whole cast to abandon ship. Somehow, the Channel-dunking sets everyone back on course--in fact, even Nina shows some starch by skewering the rapist with a hairpin when he makes a second attempt. Slow as a Red Sea crossing, almost all tiresomely repetitious exposition until the eleventh-hour fire flares. In nil, not a voyage to book.

Pub Date: Nov. 21st, 1990
Publisher: St. Martin's