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The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle (1990)

by Avi

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,9981411,370 (3.99)1 / 74
As the lone "young lady" on a transatlantic voyage in 1832, Charlotte learns that the captain is murderous and the crew rebellious.
  1. 60
    Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson (Caramellunacy)
    Caramellunacy: In both, the protagonist sets out to sea and must show great courage to rectify a grievous mistake that exposes themselves and the crew to great danger. Both excellent reads for the nautically-minded.
  2. 30
    Sarah Bishop by Scott O'Dell (SadieReads)
  3. 30
    Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, Ship's Boy by L. A. Meyer (Caramellunacy, la_librarian)
    Caramellunacy: Both of these adventure stories are about a strong girl proving her worth on board a sailing ship. Charlotte shows the crew her mettle despite the fact that she's a girl, and Jacky disguises herself as a boy to escape detection. Both are great stories for those who love nautical stories.… (more)
  4. 10
    Pirates! by Celia Rees (espertus)
  5. 00
    The Secret Journey by Peg Kehret (HollyMS)
  6. 00
    The Escape From Home by Avi (nocowardsoul)
    nocowardsoul: Charlotte and Laurence are pretty similar.
  7. 00
    Pirate Soul by Pat Croce (meggyweg)
  8. 00
    Nothing but the Truth by Avi (gilberts)
  9. 03
    Moby Dick by Herman Melville (meggyweg)
  10. 37
    The Giver by Lois Lowry (SadieReads)
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“A sailor chooses the wind that takes the ship from a safe port. Ah, yes, but once you're abroad, as you have seen, winds have a mind of their own. Be careful, Charlotte, careful of the wind you choose.”
― Avi, The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle

Honestly? I am in love..with this book.

So we all read and read and as each new year starts I know for me, I look forward to finding, not just books I like but maybe a few that I c an adore...you know what I mean don't you? It's why we read..always looking for that next hidden treasure.

And so far this year I have read some good ones but nothing I'd say just leaps into unforgettable territory. Until this book.

So I read across all genres. But I do so love Historical Fiction. Specifically, the type where a certain time period or location can come alive..that really just does it for me.

One of my all time favorite Historical reads is 'The Witch of Blackbird Pond", which I first read as a kid and I reread it every so often. This reminded me so much of that book.

This has been on my TBR list forever. No in depth plot recount on this one as it is a pretty well known book with hundreds of reviews. But I will talk about why I liked it so much.

Like, the other book I mentioned, this book, True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle has the theme of an unusual young female struggling to find her identity in a world that wants to keep her down and mold her to the wishes of other people. And like with Kit, in Blackbird Pond, Charlotte is, at heart, a warm, sassy and strong female, forced to fight for her life and identity under life threatening circumstances.

I also adored the homage to the sea. I loved the camaraderie of the sailors and the slow and easy pace of the book. I loved that I felt right there on the ship, as the wind whipped about and Seafoam sprayed everywhere.

I loved Charlotte's gutsiness and her authenticity. I loved everything about this book and found the writing sweeping and magnificent. Read it in one sitting. Those are the types of books to savor.

Also agree with the author..no sequel! Ending was perfect.

Highly recommended to all fans of Historical Fiction and adventure stories. A wonderful, sea drenched five stars for this story. ( )
  Thebeautifulsea | Aug 5, 2022 |
I can remember the very first time I read this book when I was about 10, and not wanting to put it down. The language was rich and didn't talk down to the reader, which I enjoyed. I really felt swept up into this adventure on the high seas and was gripped by the story of Charlotte, the lone girl aboard an ill-fated ship destined for mutiny. Having just reread the book after so many years, I wondered whether it would captivate me as much as it did then. The answer was Yes! The tale of danger, deceit, murder, and courage still left me on the edge of my seat and unable to put the book down until it was finished. Avi is the kind of young adult author that knows that children are worthy of a great story, even with some dark themes. Charlotte transforms from a prim and proper young lady into a brave, strong, sailor...something unheard of for a woman of her class in the 1800s. The friendship that Charlotte forms with Zachariah, the ship's cook, who also happens to be black, was also an important element in her character evolution. This is an intricate tale, but thrilling and sticks with you after reading.
  anicol83 | Jul 19, 2022 |
Charlotte's story is told in retrospect as she recalls her voyage home from England to America. At 13-years old and the only woman aboard the ship, she has no agency and clings to her puritanical values when things are amiss. And go amiss they do. The ship's crew rebels against their sadistic captain and at first, Charlotte is steadfast in her support of the only respectable, upper-class man aboard a ship of malcontents. However, she grows up fast when she learns of the captain's harsh leadership then through a series of events becomes a seaman, or seawoman, herself, learning the true meaning of hard work. When the ship docks, Charlotte is charged and tried for murder and is unable to lean on her parents for support as they do not believe her.
  aprilasfour | Jul 18, 2022 |
Wow, so many things happen in this book that are really, really messed up. I do understand intellectually that children as we now know them did not really exist as such in the 1800s, but to listen to it acted out is a whole 'nother level of harshness. Also, the world truly sucked for girls/women, people of color and sailors. Not, however the rip-roaring adventure I hoped it would be, too realistic for that. Well narrated, though. ( )
  jennybeast | Apr 14, 2022 |
I read this historical fiction in elementary school, but forgot most of the details. It has a gripping plot about how in the 1830s, a 13-year-old girl from a wealthy American family sailed on a ship from London to America. She befriended the sailors on the ship and became wary of the ship's cruel captain. Because of the captain's oppression of the crew, she began to dress as a boy to work along side the crew and help them. Eventually the captain met his doom falling into the sea, and the girl became captain of the ship. After arriving in America and returning to the life of her well-to-do family, she realized she can no longer feel at home with her family, so she returned back to the ship and its crew. Lots of adventure. Written well, so the book is hard to put down. Many details about how a ship looked and how sailors operated in the 1830s. The story touches on the issue of gender (because the girl wore sailor's clothing and cut her hair when she worked on the ship) and race (because one of the sailors was African.) The captain repeatedly verbally attacked the girl as "unnatural," whereas the girl repeatedly protested that she was not unnatural, but "unusual." That's a very interesting exchange I didn't catch when reading the book as a young girl. ( )
  CathyChou | Mar 11, 2022 |
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For Elizabeth and Christina
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Not every thirteen-year-old girl is accused of murder, brought to trial, and found guilty.
Just before dusk in the late afternoon of June 16, 1832, I found myself walking along the crowded docks of Liverpool, England, following a man by the name of Grummage.
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But when a ship is upon the sea, there's but one who rules. As God is to his people, as king to his nation, as father to his family, so is captain to his crew. Sheriff. Judge and jury. He is all. (page 34)
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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As the lone "young lady" on a transatlantic voyage in 1832, Charlotte learns that the captain is murderous and the crew rebellious.

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Taking place in Liverpool in 1832, Charlotte Doyle is about to board a ship called the Seahawk where she is accompanied by Mr. Grummage. Despite her gut feeling and what others have told her about the sea, she boards the ship ready to start her adventure. However, things make a turn for the worst when a crew member is killed on board - with Charlotte's knife. Will she be able to make a case for herself and her innocence?

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