DISCUSSION BEGINS

SEPTEMBER 22nd

**EXCITED TO HEAR WHAT YOU ALL HAVE TO SAY***

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.

QUESTIONS FOR THIS MONTHS DISCUSSION

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

Can't wait to talk about this book. I love historical fiction.

QUESTIONS FOR THIS MONTHS DISCUSSION

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?

I had no clue to any of this. You don't read much about Canada either. I found it fascinating and sad about all that was happening with the British Home Children organization.

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?

I googled the society and this is what came up.
"New York’s Children’s Aid Society in 1880 all had stories of deprivation and abuse to tell."

From what I read this sounds similar. But then again I'm not a history buff. Grin! I hope you all know more about this than I do.

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?

I didn't expect the treatment Laura got when she arrived at the Orphanage. I couldn't believe that they wouldn't let her talk to her siblings. The woman wasn't understanding and/or maybe didn't believe Laura's situation. I felt for the mom who tried to carry on even though she was super sick. Then the bravery of the little sister to run for help for her mom, only to come home to find that the police were at their home with the brother that had stolen food. The policeman believed they had no food and took them to the Orphanage.

I was also surprised by the fact Laura had to come up with room and board, plus the cost of all the food her siblings ate. That's three little ones. IF they had money in the first place the kids wouldn't have gone to that place.

Laura had every intention to do the right thing but when she was refused an audience with her siblings she chose to go a different route. It's then she met Andrew the son of her former employer. She was hoping he'd go along with her Charade long enough for her to explain to him what she was going through.

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?

Andrew had a passion to do the right thing. It made him cringe when he heard that Laura was going by a different name. He chose to think the best of her and wait until they could talk to get to the bottom of things privately. He wanted to make sure all the children were treated fairly and had their needs met.

I like that he believed Laura about what happened with his partner at the office. Laura was lucky to get out of their unharmed. Andrew took that seriously. He was embarrassed by that man's behavior. I liked that even though he came from a life of privilege he cared, he wasn't a total snob.

I had heard of the Orphan trains before reading this book but just vaguely. I love to learn new things and was both repulsed and fascinated by the Orphan trains. I had never heard about the British Home Children before this book. Since I am a history buff, I was very interested.

Hi Sharen, one of the first groups to send children from England to Canada was inspired by hearing a speaker talk about the Orphan Trains. She took that idea back to England and thought it would be a good way for poor and orphaned children to have a fresh start. Unfortunately, the British Home Children emigration scheme grew so large that many problems followed. The children were not all checked on in their placements. They say 60% experienced neglect or abuse. The research for this novel was heartbreaking, but I knew it was an important part of history to explore. I didn't want these children to ever be forgotten.

Wow!  I am shocked, but then again not, at the percentage of children who experienced abuse and neglect. How did this heartbreaking research not affect your personal life Carrie, or did it?

I liked Andrew too. 

I just finished reading this heart gripping story that had me on the verge of tears several times.  There was a huge waiting list at my library, and I put a request in for it as soon as the reading list was available just received a copy to read a few days ago so I’m a little late again.

Have read many stories about the orphan trains here in America but knew nothing about the mass exodus of children from England to Canada.  My favorite orphan train stories are by Jody Hedlund.  Also has anyone read Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate either the fictional or nonfiction versions?

From what I have found to read there was very little difference between the New York Children’s Society and the British Home Children.  However I found that the Tennessee Children’s Home Society was almost a mirror image of the orphanage system of the British Home Children.

The treatment that Laura received at the orphanage did not surprise me after reading Before We Were Yours.  However, Laura having to pay the room and board and size of the fee really surprised me.  Another thing that bothered me is that Laura did not try to see her brother who was in the boys home, unless I missed it.  Also while I am on this subject why oh why didn’t the grounds keeper put it together that Laura was the sister of Katie when he posted the letter for her.  It would have saved a lot of heartache, but then we wouldn’t have had this wrenching story.  Personally I think that if we consider the time this story takes place and the little a woman was able to earn Laura did about the only thing that she could have.  Kudos for her bravery.

I had never been prouder when Andrew stood up to his father about what he wanted to do for a career.  It truly showed the kind of man he wanted to be.  For a minute I was afraid that Andrew wasn’t going to give Laura the benefit of doubt, but then I turned the page and he did, thank God.  Glad Laura had some self defense training and used it.  Andrew knew the type of man the other man in the office was from his personal dealings with him, but he was only an employee as well and had no power to really do anything about getting rid of him.  Andrew took after his mother who was his main influence while he was growing up and I am so glad she was.  Could you imagine how Andrew would have turned out if he only had his father’s influence?

Hi Adirann, thanks for adding these thoughtful comments. Andrew was one of my favorite characters to write.

Thank you so much for taking your time to stop by and comment in our little on-line book club.  It means so much to us.  God Bless you.

Carrie Turansky's "No Ocean Too Wide" digs into attempted solutions to the issues of adoption and foster care from the early 1900's --sending orphaned English children to welcoming families in Canada by ship (I was only vaguely familiar with his concept). This first book in the saga of her fictional family, the McAllisters, shows the good and the bad, the positives and the pitfalls, of determining which children should be considered orphans, and what kind of challenges the surrogate parents might themselves already have.
As mentioned, the concept is similar to the orphan trains of the 1850's in the United States, recently featured in The Orphan Train series by Christian author Jody Hedlund, of German immigrant orphans in New York City taken by train to families in Illinois (her introductory orphan train novella is actually free in eBook form). My extended family has been involved in adopting and in fostering, so Turansky's book (and those of Hedlund) particularly spoke to me. A nearby church's foster care ministry is called Promise 686, from Psalm 68:6 about placing the lonely in families. Families were what those orphanages were trying to make a century ago, and there is still that need!

Thanks for your input Zanese! I agree with you there is still so much work that needs to be done in this are. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the other questions listed! Do you have the link to the free novella ebook. I just looked and couldn't find it. Thanks!

Just to clarify, this link to a free novella is for the orphan train series by Jody Hedlund, not Carrie Turansky's series.

https://www.christianbook.com/awakened-heart-orphan-train-novella-e...

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