Between Two Seas was Marie-Louise Jensen’s first book and it’s exceptionally good.  I had some reservations about the believability of it after my first reading.  But then I did some research and discovered that what I’d thought were credulity-stretching coincidences were actually grounded in fact.

After her mother’s death, Marianne sets sail from Grimsby for Denmark in search of her unknown father.  The year is 1885 and the journey is fraught with danger and difficulty.  Most of the story is set in Skagen on the tip of Jutland and that’s where the title comes from.  In the late nineteenth century there was an artist’s colony there and Marie-Louise Jensen uses some of these artist’s as significant players in her book: Peder Kroyer, Anna Ancher and Michael Ancher amongst others.

I went to Skagen on the strength of this book and found that Marie-Louise Jensen had captured it perfectly.  The setting is very important to the novel but it was one of the things that troubled me on my first reading.  I felt that everything was made slightly too easy for Marianne but the presence of the artists and the newly-opened railway to the town actually make the plot completely plausible  (I am still envious of the speed at which Marianne learns Danish though!)

I’ve gone on to read all of Marie-Louise’s books and enjoyed them but this remains my favourite.


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