by Jacqueline Guest
Pursuing the thief who stole her father's treasure, a young Irish girl encounters some strange characters when she stows away on the ship that is laying the first transatlantic telegraph cable in 1865.
Ailish O'Connor supports herself and her father with her fortunetelling skills. Their gypsy caravan travels from one place to another looking for the crowds in which to earn their living. In Ireland in 1865, the place to be is on the west coast, as people gather to launch the largest ship ever built, the Great Eastern. Its mission is to lay the first undersea telegraph cable right across the Atlantic Ocean, to Newfoundland.
Ailish's father thinks he has their future secured with a solid-gold horse that has come into his possession, but when the figure is stolen, 13-year-old Ailish pursues the thief and winds up trapped on the Great Eastern as it sails! She pretends to be a cabin boy to avoid the harsh treatment of a stowaway. On the journey, she gets help from another young boy, Davy, who seems to live below decks. She also makes friends with an Irish sailor and tries to track down the hiding place of their precious horse.
The crew must battle the seas and the mishaps of their cable-laying mission, some of which appear to be sabotage. Through many adventures, Davy is her constant companion. But why won't he ever come topside?
Can Ailish use her wits, her determination and her friendships to survive the trip, let alone save the day? With her trademark storytelling skills, Jacqueline Guest has fashioned a nail-biter of an historical seafaring action adventure.
Ghost Messages is a Moonbeam Award Gold Medalist and a nominee for the OLA Forest of Reading Silver Birch Award for Fiction.
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