Resource Links Review - Ghost Messages

Reviewed by: Victoria Pennell

Young Ailish O'Connor has the 'second sight' and supports herself and her father with her fortune telling skills as they travel in a gypsy caravan. As they are on the west coast of Ireland awaiting the sailing of the Great Eastern on its mission to lay the first trans-Atlantic undersea telegraph cable from Ireland to Newfoundland, a solid-gold jewel-encrusted horse which has come into her father's possession is stolen. Ailish suspects Rufus Dalton, a sailor from the ship, who was visiting with her father before she found him beaten and the valuable horse missing. As Ailish tries to hunt down the suspected thief she finds herself caught on the mighty ship and on her way to Newfoundland. Below deck she meets Davy Jones, a bash boy, who befriends her, helps her disguise herself as a cabin boy and seems to appear out of nowhere whenever she is in trouble. In her effort to find the horse and prove Dalton a thief, Ailish has many adventures aboard the ship which will keep readers engrossed in the plot. She makes friends with an Irish sailor who Dalton accuses of sabotaging the cable when there are breaks which the crew have to repair along the way, however, Ailish believes he is innocent and does everything she can to prove that point. Through the adventure story we also learn about the laying of the trans-Atlantic cable and some of the people who were associated with it such as Cyrus Field, Samuel Canning and William Thompson who were overseeing the project.

Jacqueline Guest has written a number of award-winning historical novels for young readers and this one is no exception. There is plenty of action and intrigue to keep readers involved and wanting to find out "who done it". Will Ailish find the culprit who stole her father's figurine and will the cause of the sabotaging of the cable be revealed? Young readers who like adventure stories will be delighted with this book. Even though the protagonist is female, there is enough action here to draw boys and girls into the story.

Recommended for school and public libraries.

Thematic Links: The Great Eastern; Trans-Atlantic Cable; Thieves; Adventure Stories

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