The Trespassers by Meg Mundell

I was looking through my eBook platforms when I came to across a title that focussed on the journey of three people looking to leave their pandemic ridden country for a brighter future. I was reluctant to read a novel about the pandemic, due to our daily saturation of the sad realities, when I realised that this novel was published in August 2019, months before the pandemic started. As such, curiosity got the better of me!

The Trespassers starts by introducing the reader to three main characters the story revolves around – an English schoolteacher, a Scottish Nurse’s Aid and a deaf Irish boy (together with his single mother). The reader quickly discovers that the story is not about the pandemic per se, it forms the backdrop to the story that unfolds. These three join a ship load of passengers that signed up to a scheme that will transport them to Australia (not touched by the pandemic) in return for their contracted labour, for a period of time.

Not long into the voyage, there is a murder on the ship and passengers start becoming ill with what is at first thought to be the plague (as the virus is referred to) that was brought with them from the UK. Fear takes over as people begin to die and familiar terms such as PPE, isolation and social distancing become part of the story. All three characters become united in a common event as their backstories are slowly told.

There are not as many parallels to the current pandemic as expected, in that the pandemic is not truly global as the spread has been confined to the UK. The contagion level of the virus is contained by face masks. In the media, Australia is most unwelcoming to the new arrivals as their ship is met by a fully decked out hospital ship will all manner of technology and the news media don’t follow-up the ships predicament, as expected.

Having now read The Trespassers, I am not sure that I would have chosen to put myself through the trauma and unfairness of it all again, if I wasn’t reviewing the book. But you can make up your own mind.

The trespassers is available in several formats including eBook from BorrowBox.

Lauren B.

The trespassers by Meg Mundell
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