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Enduring Love by Ian McEwan

Enduring Love by Ian McEwanThe book opens with a pair of reunited lovers embarking on a romantic picnic in the countryside.  Their happiness is short lived, however, as Joe, the narrator of the story, becomes involved, along with others at the scene, in trying to prevent a hot air balloon  breaking loose from its moorings, carrying away its child passenger.  

Though the child is unharmed, the incident ends tragically and the rest of the book is concerned with the aftermath of the event and most notably with the, ultimately dangerous, obsession that one of the other rescuers develops for Joe.  How Joe deals with this obsession and the effect  it has on his relationship throws up many questions and dilemmas throughout the book.

The Plimsoll Sensation by Nicolette Jones

The Plimsoll SensationIn 1995, Nicolette moved to Plimsoll Road in north London. Her local pub. The “ Plimsoll” had a picture of a red trainer pasted over the original sign. When a new owner changed the name she rescued the old sign and uncovered its illustration of a ship, sparking her curiosity about the man it commemorated: Samuel Plimsoll “The Seaman’s Friend”.

Victorian seamen needed all the friends they could get. Ship-owners overloaded vessels increasing profits at the risk of seaman’s lives, and “coffin ships” were notorious— insured for more than their true value and more profitable if they sank. Captains who refused to sail in such ships were blacklisted and seamen were jailed.