Wednesday, 20 January 2016


4.5 out of 5 stars

Adventure for older children or adults

On Amazon UK HERE
On Goodreads HERE

The Skipper's Child is a story for older children and adults of all ages ~ in other words, anyone from ten to eighty years old!  It takes place on the canals of Belgium in the winter of 1962 when twelve year old Arie and his family become involved with a young Russian fugitive, Dmitri.

I've read three of Val Poore's non-fiction books, about her time living in South Africa and her own life on board barge, but I'd never read any fiction by her before.  I'm glad I did; this is a delightful book, and I felt completely immersed in the life of the skipper and his family of fifty years ago (and maybe a little wistfully wishing I was there....).

The story is very well plotted, no complaints there at all, but the beauty of the book lies in the picture Val Poore paints of this strange and appealing parallel world, and the thoughts of Arie as he treads the shaky path between child and adulthood.  I thoroughly enjoyed it - one to snuggle up in bed with!   

Val's inspiration for this story comes from real life ~ she wrote a blog post that makes it all mean much more - includes pictures :)

It's HERE 

I know they're houseboats not barges, I just liked the picture!



  1. Thank you so very much for this lovely review, Terry! It's the first opportunity I've had to read it here and take it in. I'm so glad you enjoyed my teeners tale after all the memoirs. Thanks too for linking to the backstory! The photo of the narrowboats is very picturesque and made me smile. You got the wintery feel spot on. On the whole, real barges aren't half as colourful as narrowboats, but many of the Dutch barges were/are beautiful too, although in Arie's day their lines would have been hard to see under the full loads they carried.

  2. I know... I know it was a hard life but it's still one I kind of envy ) xx