BACK COVER: Between the years of 1869 to 1939 more than 100,000 poor British children were sent across the ocean to Canada with the promise of a better life. Those who took them in to work as farm laborers or household servants were told they were orphans--but was that the truth?

After the tragic loss of their father, the McAlister family is living at the edge of the poorhouse in London in 1908, leaving their mother to scrape by for her three younger children, while oldest daughter, Laura, works on a large estate more than an hour away. When Edna McAlister falls gravely ill and is hospitalized, twins Katie and Garth and eight-year-old Grace are forced into an orphans' home before Laura is notified about her family's unfortunate turn of events in London. With hundreds of British children sent on ships to Canada, whether truly orphans or not, Laura knows she must act quickly. But finding her siblings and taking care of her family may cost her everything.

Andrew Fraser, a wealthy young British lawyer and heir to the estate where Laura is in service, discovers that this common practice of finding new homes for penniless children might not be all that it seems. Together Laura and Andrew form an unlikely partnership. Will they arrive in time? Will their friendship blossom into something more?

Inspired by true events, this moving novel follows Laura as she seeks to reunite her family and her siblings who, in their darkest hours, must cling to the words from Isaiah: "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God"

ABOUT AUTHOR: Bestselling Inspirational Author Carrie Turansky writes historical and contemporary novels set in England and the US. She has won the ACFW Carol Award, the Holt Medallion, and the International Digital Award. Readers say her stories are: "Heartwarming and inspiring! I couldn't put it down!" . . . "Touching love story. It captured me from the first page! Rich characters, beautifully written" . . . "My new favorite author!" Visit her website and sign up for her email newsletter at Carrie Turansky.com. Follow Carrie on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.


I'm going to start out with some questions the author has in the back of the book.

1. Had you heard about British Home Children before you read No Ocean Too Wide? What is one thing you learned that made an impression on you about children emigration and British Home Children in particular?

2. People have compared the British Home Children to those children who were taken from New York City and sent west on the orphan trains. Are you familiar with the orphan trains, and what similarities do you see between these two groups? What differences?

3. Laura (the oldest sister) went to great lengths to search for her siblings, even using a false name. What do you think of her decision?What were the results of that choice?

4. Andrew Frasier had a privileged background, but he wanted to study law and make his life count. What are some of the qualities Andrew demonstrated in this story?

5. Friendships play a key role in the story, as Henry and Andrew shared a special friendship and Rose became a caring friend for Laura. How did Henry's influence help Andrew mature throughout the story? How does that differ from the ways that Rose helped Laura?

6. Katie endured some very difficult treatment from the two families that took her in. How did she cope? What qualities do you admire in Katie?

7. How do you feel about the judge's decision for Garth to stay in Canada and fulfill his indentured contract?

8. Did certain parts of the book make you uncomfortable? IF so, why?

9. If you could ask the author one question about this book, what would it be?

10.What was your first reaction to the book? Did it hook you immediately, or take some time to get into it? If you weren't hooked at first what was the turning point for you?

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Replies to This Discussion

Thank you so much Carrie for stopping by our little group.  I for one found your story of the BHC heart wrenching and horrific.  Many times I wanted to jump through the pages, give those children a hug, and somehow rescue them all.  It is so sad that a lot of the BHC children were not true orphans like the children in your story.  They were just from families which came upon hard times.  Placing their children into the orphanage was supposed to be temporary for these parents, but with the high fees to get them back it was impossible for them to ever get their children back.  I cringed when I read some of the stories I found.  

Checked out the Facebook pages you referenced and started reading some of the posts.  It is hard to look at some of the pictures.  What kind of labor could a 4 year old child do?  I grew up on a farm.  It is very hard work and we had modern equipment like tractors etc.  My father and grandpa would tell me stories of how they plowed fields with a horse or mule, and brought in crops using a scythe and horse/mule and wagon.  Just milking cows by hand and doing the other chores when the electricity was out was really really back breaking work, but it was only a occasional day/week.  What were our ancestors thinking sending a child so young to an environment like that.  One would have to be at least in their teens to be of any real help in the fields.

Carrie I am adding you to my “Pink Ribbon” prayer list.  I have had cancer 3 times, twice in two years.  The last one, breast cancer, did not respond to the strongest combination of chemo drugs available.  Thus I underwent a bilateral mastectomy and put myself in God’s hands.  I am Facebook friends with Donna Everhart, an author, and she has a blog that is so inspirational and keeps me me wanting to continue the fight.  Here is the link:


Bless you Carrie for being you.

Adriann, thanks for sharing your thoughts about No Ocean Too Wide. The research was so challenging for this book! There are a few British Home Children who are in their 90's still living. I've heard their recorded stories, and they are heartbreaking. Most suffered neglect and/or abuse. I had to soften most of the true incidents I used in the book. There say 1 int 10 Canadians had a relative that came to Canada as a British Home Child, and some moved to the US when they were older. So this is an important part of North American history.  Thanks for sharing your cancer journey and for praying for me. I appreciate that so much. I will look up the blog you mentioned! God's blessings to you!

I appreciate you stopping by. You have been in my thoughts and prayers as I know you've been in chemo treatments. I appreciate your in put. Thank you for answering my questions too. I look forward to reading more about this family and their situation. YOU ARE A BLESSING!

THANKS to everyone that took the time to join in this discussion. I've heard from many of you that you've been swamped. We'll keep things going and hopefully you'll be able to join us even if the month passes. The beauty of the on-line book club is that you can join any time. LOVE hearing from you! THANK YOU CARRIE!

This book I, also read several months ago but was mesmerized by all the details and emotions. I can't imagine being taken away from my family and sent across the ocean. The oldest sister was beyond brave to go after her siblings, pretending to be someone else to find them. I think the judge ruled correctly for the brother to stay and finish his work. Life brings hard consequences even when we aren't responsible for what happened.

What a beautiful novel of family love, loyalty, and perseverance!

Nora, I get so busy with my life but I try to make comments when I can. I don't know why more people don't participate or how to entice them to be involved in the book club even when they have voted on the books. It may be a case of "biting off more than one can chew."

Thanks for your input Sharon. I've been hearing that many are busy. I'll keep it going. I'm Excited by the response to me. They like the discussions and promise to squeeze time to share in the near future. We will be voting again soon. If anyone has read something they can't stop thinking about I'd love to hear about it.

I had not heard of the British Home Children before reading the book. I was so surprised to learn that some of these children were sent to Canada even though they had living parent/s that wanted to care for them. Without letting the family know before shipping them off like they did to Katie, Garth & Grace!
I felt horrible that many of these children were used as working servants by the families who chose them rather than loved and welcomed into the families.
I didn’t like that the family that was friends with the McAlister’s didn’t temporarily take in the kids while their mother was in the hospital —at least until they could get in touch with Laura. But then they had no problem letting the mother stay with them when she got out of the hospital.
Want to know how it all turns out for Garth and Grace in sequel book.

I had wondered the same Marlene. If they were friends they would have known Laura was working and could be back soon after she got the news of mother. I'm looking forward to the sequel too!

I really think it was a money situation.  The Grahams were not any better of than the McAlisters.  Three growing children are a much larger drain than one adult.  Also the police were involved and back then nobody of the lower class wanted the police on their doorstep as they would have been watching Garth like a hawk, which in turn means the Graham’s would’ve been included.  Unfortunately this is something that continues among the poor even here in the great USA.

Adriann, When the emigration plans first started, I think the people sending the children had good intensions, but as it grew and grew, it was more difficult to oversee the placements. There was money exchanged, and that also had an impact on the situation.

I agree as the old saying rings true here “Money is the root of all evil.”  Greed has a way of turning people’s heads,  closing their eyes, and deafening their ears when they accept the “dirty” money. 


New Member Orientation

We are posting videos here in the this group to help all of our members figure out how to use this site :-)


We will be posting videos all the time now, basically going through the entire site. 



Created by Phred St Laurent May 27, 2010 at 11:35pm. Last updated by Phred St Laurent May 31, 2010.

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