Sunday, August 16, 2009

Black Duck by Janet Taylor Lisle

It is spring 1929, and Prohibition is in full swing. So when Ruben and Jeddy find a dead body washed up on the shore of their small coastal Rhode Island town, they are sure it has something to do with smuggling liquor. Soon the boys, along with Jeddy's strongwilled sister, Marina, are drawn in, suspected by rival bootlegging gangs of taking something crucial off the dead man. Then Ruben meets the daring captain of the Black Duck, the most elusive smuggling craft of them all, and it isn't long before he's caught in a war between two of the most dangerous prohibition gangs.
Title and author of book: Black Duck by Janet Taylor Lisle

Fiction or non-fiction? Genre? I am never totally sure, but I am saying Historical Fiction. Young Adult.

What led you to pick up this book? I saw it reviewed somewhere and thought it looked really interesting. The town that I was born in is a rum-running town. There are families there that are still living off the money they made back then. While it is in Canada, not the U.S. like this book, I still thought this book would be a good idea of what it was like at the time.

Summarize the plot, but don’t give away the ending! See above...

What did you like most about the book? I learned a lot. I think Janet Lisle captured very well what it was like to be rum runners during the 1920's. It was difficult and hard work, but everyone needed to make a living somehow. She tells it as a young boy having to write an article for the newspaper, so he goes to visit a man that supposedly knows of the events of a disastrous night. It was the night that a famous rum-running crew was discovered and people died. The entire story had been kept secret for years, but it was finally coming out. I could relate to this. I know that my family was involved in the industry, but there are lots of secrets surrounding it even to this day. It is not something that is really talked about, and we have learned to grudgingly accept that fact. (Well, I have tried, anyway.)

What did you like least? While I didn't love this book, it wasn't because there was anything I hated about it. I think she did a pretty good job telling the story.

Have you read any other books by this author? What did you think of those books? I thought this was my first until I was getting the synopsis at the top and my eyes happened to fall on the author biography. It turns out that I have read Afternoon of the Elves by her. It was back when I was younger, so I wouldn't even have thought about it. I really liked that book, actually. As soon as I read that she wrote it the cover popped into my head and I remembered her name being on it.

What did you think of the main character? This is one of those books that is is really hard to decide who the main character is. We have the young boy that is writing the article, we have the older man who is telling the story, and then we have the young boy who is living the story. Obviously, two of those characters are actually the same people, but they are divided by a few years. I liked the old Ruben the best. I love hearing stories told aloud, and I could totally picture the moment everytime he started telling his story.

What about the ending? I liked how the ending cleared everything up. I wouldn't have liked it as much if you knew the same in the end as you did in the beginning, but the secrets are revealed in the end. It was a nice clean ending.

I am really glad that I discovered this book. I don't think it is a book that I ever would have discovered on my own, so I owe my thanks to the blogging world for bringing it to my attention. That's why I blog.


  1. Wonderful review. This does sound interesting.

  2. Great review, this one sounds good.
    Its great when you can find a good book thru other bloggers.

  3. Fantastic review! I am adding this one to my list.