This review was originally written for Pen and Fable
It’s a dark and dangerous journey for the Cobb & Co night mail coach. But, young Jem Donovan isn’t afraid. He’s helped his father deliver the coach and its passengers safely dozens of times before. With six mysterious characters packed into the coach, this is sure to be an exciting ride.
But an accident causes the carriage to tip, leaving Jem’s father gravely injured. To get help for his Paw and the passengers safely into Goulburn, Jem must take the reins.
It isn’t as easy as it might sound. Jem’s not a skilled Whip yet; he’s never had to handle five horses, especially at night. But he must persist. Each of his six passengers has a secret, and if Jem can’t get them all to their destination by morning, the seventh secret could be deadly…
Wow, does this one pack a punch! Night Ride into Danger was written by the illustrious Jackie French, so, naturally, it was going to be brilliant. She dips into Australian history, weaving it into her story so seamlessly that readers are left with a firm insight into class, racism and the immigrant experience of the mid-1800s.
French is a master of catering mature stories to a young audience, touching on essential topics in a way that is relatable to her readers.
Furthermore, French’s author notes provide deeper insight into the history, the people and the language she uses in the novel. These notes allow readers to contribute to a more extensive discussion, perfect for primary school learning.
Night Ride into Danger is suspenseful, surprising and hopeful – a must-read for anyone aged 8+.