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Cape Cod Surprise: Oliver Matches Wits with Hurricane Carol
$9.95
Paperback
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BOOK DETAILS

  • Paperback
  • Jul.04.2010
  • 9781934848470
  • GemmaMedia

Carol gives an overview of the book:

  On the first night of a long-awaited sailing adventure, fever sends young Oliver back into the teeth of Hurricane Carol, a storm that devastated the New England coastline in 1954. The character we came to love in Oliver’s Surprise finds himself aboard Cap'n Eli's schooner Surprise as the storm makes landfall.  Once again, young readers see New England coastal history through the eyes of our intrepid time traveler, who just might have to use the skills he learned from the Hurricane of 1938 to get back to his own time.  Along with charts, photos, glossary, diagrams, and illustrations, Cronin has embedded a sailing primer into a ripping good yarn.  
Read full overview »

 

On the first night of a long-awaited sailing adventure, fever sends young Oliver back into the teeth of Hurricane Carol, a storm that devastated the New England coastline in 1954. The character we came to love in Oliver’s Surprise finds himself aboard Cap'n Eli's schooner Surprise as the storm makes landfall. 

Once again, young readers see New England coastal history through the eyes of our intrepid time traveler, who just might have to use the skills he learned from the Hurricane of 1938 to get back to his own time. 

Along with charts, photos, glossary, diagrams, and illustrations, Cronin has embedded a sailing primer into a ripping good yarn.

 

Read an excerpt »

The diesel rumbled to life beneath Oliver’s bare feet—oh boy, that’d bring her running. They hadn’t even left the dock this morning when Mrs. Haverford announced Rule Number One: “We will travel by sail this week, using the new engine only for emergencies.”

Sure enough she popped up out of the cabin like a jack in the box, holding her perfect hair so the breeze didn’t mess with it. But she’d found something else to grouse about.

“Cap’n Buck! We’re out of water.”

Buck lifted one hand off the wheel just long enough to slide a fresh peppermint into his mouth.

“It’s just ‘Buck,’” he told her. “No need to be calling me captain.” He’d been steering all day, eyes roaming over sun-sparkled water like he was daydreaming. Only the wake, straight as a highway, proved how well he was handling Surprise. They’d made great time on the sail up Buzzards Bay, and it sure wasn’t from Mrs. H popping up on deck every five minutes. Never mind her useless son Greg—he’d spent the entire day staring down at a tiny MP3 player, white earphone wires dangling.

Mrs. Haverford pressed her lips together. “We’ll discuss your title another time. Right now I need to wash up the lunch dishes, and nothing is flowing out of the faucet.”

“We can’t be out of water already—I just filled the tank this morning.” Buck’s eyes left the narrow channel of water ahead long enough to glance over at Oliver. “Could you take a look?”

Hitching up his cargo shorts, Oliver followed Mrs. H down the steep ladder into a cabin that reeked of new foam. Six cushions, blue with red piping, had been tucked into place that morning. Mrs. H swatted a crease out of the port settee on her way forward.

Above the settee, a battered canvas duffle waited in his bunk. Mom had packed for him, but he didn’t really care what she’d stuffed inside that old blue bag of hers. Tonight he’d sleep head to toe with the captain of Surprise, just like a real ship’s boy...that’s if he could sleep.

The galley stretched across the forward end of the cabin—short counter, shiny stove, sink full of dishes. Mrs. H spun the hot water tap all the way open.

“All the money I spent to rebuild this schooner, you’d think the darn faucet would work.” A pump whined, but no water came out. “See?”

“I’ll check the tank.”

Oliver lifted up the center floorboard—and gasped. The bilge shone with water! He couldn’t even see the tank, but it must’ve sprung a leak. So why hadn’t the emergency pump come on?

The top switch on the electrical panel had been switched off, that’s why. As soon as Oliver flipped it back to “auto,” a deep gurgle began to pump their fresh water overboard.

Too weird–

A loud snicker from the starboard side of the cabin startled him. Greg Haverford lay in the bunk opposite Oliver’s, knees up, nibbling the side of a thumb with his perfect teeth. He’d come below as soon as the waves had flattened out, and now he pulled the headphones out of his MP3 player and held the shiny rectangle up to his left ear. Tinny cymbals crashed, loud enough to hear across the cabin.

Mrs. H had invited Oliver along this week to have another “young person” aboard, but he and Greg would never be friends. It wasn’t the four year age difference—Oliver had two buddies at home who would be seniors this fall. And it wasn’t Greg’s all-black sneakers, jeans, and T-shirt, or the two silver hoops spearing his left earlobe. It was his attitude. The guy even trash-talked his own mother. And he was still snickering.

Back on deck, Oliver told Buck what he’d found—everything except for Greg’s suspicious giggle.

“Damn.” Buck’s blond ponytail flicked back and forth as he shook his head. “We’ll have to fill up again in Woods Hole.”

He spun the wheel hard to port, swinging the bowsprit over a huge rock on the shore. Sails luffed overhead, then filled again as the schooner settled in on the other tack.

Too bad—now Oliver would have to wait even longer to check out Hadley’s Harbor. Cap’n Eli had called this place the safest spot to be during a hurricane, which seemed impossible—how could anything be safer than dry land? Now that Oliver saw the two tan rocks guarding their narrow channel like a pair of unfinished gargoyles, it all made sense. Boats hidden inside showed only their masts, a white and silver forest poking up behind the brambles of the nearest island.

And with no engine, Eli must’ve sailed Surprise in and out, threading her between those rocks! Now that seemed impossible.

Mrs. H popped out of the cabin again, grabbing onto the edge of the companionway to steady herself against Buck’s sharp turn.

“What are you doing?” she asked him.

“Heading for Woods Hole to refill the tank. No supplies in Hadley’s.”

“That will delay our arrival.”

Buck shrugged. “Can’t do much without water.”

“Cap’n Eli ran this boat for forty years and all he drank was rainwater.” Mrs. Haverford’s sharp gaze swiveled to the left, homing in on Oliver. “What do you think, young man? What would my father have done?”

In her father’s day, Surprise didn’t have a flush toilet.

It was just so hard to believe she was related to the jolly Eli, who’d ended every sea story with a wink. But she had made it possible for her father to die happy—by promising to rebuild his beloved schooner.

“No response, Oliver?” Buck smiled, his voice just carrying over the deep throb of diesel. “Then couldja get the jib down, please?”

Glaring at both of them, Mrs. H stomped down the companionway ladder again.

Oliver padded forward, the new wood deck warm underfoot from the afternoon sun. Up next to the foremast, a row of lines stretched down to the port rail. Untying the line marked “jib,” Oliver let the sail collapse onto the deck and furled it against the boom.

Up here in the bow, away from the bickering and the tinny cymbals and the throb of diesel, he could hear water gurgling against the hull. Easy to imagine he was helping Cap’n Eli deliver a cargo of lumber. Or lobsters. Or stinky guano. Surprise always seemed to take him on adventures. Last year she’d even taken him back in time, to 1938 and the big hurricane. Though lately he’d been wondering if that had been just a totally awesome dream.

Only thing was, all his memories lined up perfectly with Eli’s stories.

How could he explain that, if it was all just a dream?

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Note from the author coming soon...

About Carol

Carol Newman Cronin has written fiction since she was a child, but she had to wait until she was forty-four to get her first book published.  In 2004 she crowned a lifetime of sailing achievement by winning two races for the USA at the Olympics.  Since retiring from Olympic...

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