CM Magazine Review - Ghost Voyages IV

Reviewed by: Mary Thomas

Jeremy has returned to Edmonton after visiting his father in Montreal where he met Pam, his father's new wife, for the first time. This visit could have been traumatic and did involve serveral time-travelling trips to the past compliments of his grandfather's magnifying glass and stamp collection - Jeremy's refuge when things at home become too fraught - but, in fact, the visit ended up going pretty well. However, he comes back to find that his very pragmatic down-to-earth mother has fallen hard for a man whom Jeremy characterizes in his mind at a UCS, a Used Car Salesman. So off Jeremy escapes to the past via his stamps where he again meets up with the two Harveys, namely his grandfather and his grandson, on ships belonging to Cartier and Champlain.

In spite of Jeremy's spending about a third of the book in the historical past, the focus of Ghost Voyages IV is not really on the history he observes. Rather, it is the changes in Jeremy, himself, that catch and hold the reader's attention. In the dilemma he sees in his mother's infatuation with the UCS, Jeremy first turns to his Aunt Beth for guidance, and then he consults, via email, a friend he met in Montreal. Both are somewhat helpful, but in the end Jeremy finds his own way, maturing quite remarkably in the course of just a few weeks. It is his character development that really fuels one's interest in the story. This is not to say that the ship visits are unimportant and certainly not that they are uninteresting. His being knocked off a gondola into a canal in Venice (not all his trips go to Canada's past) is a fine bit of comedy, and the terrifying storm while he was on a yacht about to turn turtle during a race from Sydney to Hobart off the Australian coast is heart-stoppingly exciting. Champlain's kidnapping of an India chieftain and his taking him back to France, an item that doesn't always make it into the history books, also makes compelling reading.

Jeremy is a good character, and he is developing nicely as the series continues. I only hope that he doesn't get his life so much under control that the magnifying glass and stamp album cease to transport him to the past becaue I am looking forward to the next installment of his story!


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