Shades Of Words

The Wreck of the Golden Mary


I almost squealed with delight when I saw this book in the library. No, I had never heard of it nor anyone had ever recommended it to me. But what made me happy was that this book was written by Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins. Till I read this book , I had no clue that they were colleagues or even friends!!

The novella tells the story of a the crew and passengers on the ship The Golden Mary that is sailing towards the Californian coast. There is a motley group of passengers – a man looking out to make money in the gold rush, an estranged fiancé, a mother and her child heading to meet the father. The ship is tragically struck by an ice berg and sinks. Luckily all the crew and passengers are moved safely to two life boats.The people though alive are far from safety as they float stranded on the open sea with minimum food and water between them.

Apart from the captain and the first mate , through whose eyes the story is told , an extremely important character is Golden Lucy. She is the only child on board and everyone’s favorite. She presents purity and happiness when the ship was afloat and hope and spirit when survivors hung between life and death in the lifeboats.

Dickens brings out interesting aspects of human behavior under this severe living condition and creates vivid characters in such short story telling. One of the steps the survivors take to keep their spirits alive as days pass by without the sign of another ship , is to tell each other stories.  5 such stories all contributed by 5 different writers form the body of the novella.

Verdict : Read it


Author: Vipula

Before talking about who we are, we’d like to tell you a bit about how and why Shades of Words came into being. It all started with the idea of “A place where we could share with likeminded people about things we enjoy. From books to music to movies to travel; Shades of Words was to be a place about the best of our experiences” We thought about why should anyone read us? The answer was that whatever we review would be a mix of our experience of the thing along with interesting and useful information about it. So in case you are reading us regularly or even checking us out once in a while then we have succeeded in our efforts someway somewhere. Who are we? Known as Kapil Sood and Vipula Gupta, we thought of Shades of Words on one fine Sunday afternoon. Tired of writing interesting RFP’s and project documentation; we decided to give this a shot. Yes! We work in Indian IT industry. Cupid struck us while were innocently slogging together on the highly intricate job of formatting and beautifying documents! And since then, we have been working together to establish Shades of Words as a place that we can claim as ours. (Because buying a house is still years away!) What else? Kapil also writes some blogs which you can read here and here.

6 thoughts on “The Wreck of the Golden Mary

  1. I knew they were friends but I had no idea that they collaborated on their work. I will have to check this out. I love the photo on your banner by the way!

  2. Danielle – thanks for stopping by! The photo was taken on Pebble Beach on the coast of California 🙂
    The Wreck of Golden Mary is very different from both Dickens and Collins typical style and content of writing.
    The best part are the 5 stories. And they are written by a different set of writers.

  3. I have never heard of this book… had no idea it existed even though I knew the two authors were friends. Will add it to my ‘keep an eye out for’ list as it sounds very good. I love the cover.

  4. Cath – I had never heard of this either. I just saw this is the library and went – Really?!!.
    It is a pretty interesting short novel.

    • I found this by chance in the amazon free ebooks section.
      The story I found ends abruptly with the first mate Ralph Steadiman narrating.The closing words are”This, as well as I can tell it, is the full and true account of how I came to be placed in charge of the lost passengers and crew of the Golden Mary, on the morning of the twenty-seventh day after the ship struck the Iceberg, and foundered at sea.”I can’t find the stories you mention told by five characters
      ” to tell each other stories. 5 such stories all contributed by 5 different writers form the body of the novella.”
      Any idea where to look.
      I like your pages- very interesting!

      • Peter

        I have searched and searched the internet but I cant find the edition that I had read. I got it from the local library

        What you are looking for is
        The wreck of the Golden Mary / Charles Dickens ; with Wilkie Collins, Percy Fitzgerald, Harriet Parr, Adelaide Anne Procter, Reverend James White ; edited by Melissa Valiska Gregory, Melisa Klimaszewski.

        The wreck of the golden Mary — The wreck by Charles Dickens,
        The Beguilement in the boats: “The armourer’s story” by Percy Fitzgerald;
        “Poor Dick’s story” by Harriet Parr;
        “The supercargo’s story” by Percy Fitzgerald;
        “The Old sailor’s story” by Adelaide Anne Procter;
        “The Scotch boy’s story” by Reverend James White —
        The deliverance by Wilkie Collins.

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