‘Travel to Skagen and find him. Give him my letter. Seek a
better life, Marianne! Promise!’
Bound by a vow made to her dying mother, Marianne sells her few belongings
and leaves Grimsby. Her destination? Denmark, where she will search
for her father, Lars Christensen - the golden-haired fisherman her mother
fell in love with many years before.
The journey will be long - and dangerous for a young girl travelling
alone. As Marianne boards the fishing boat that will carry her across
the North Sea, she wonders: will Denmark be the fairy-tale land she
has dreamt of? Will she find happiness there? Will the father she has
never met welcome the arrival of his illegitimate child?
And why didn’t he return for her mother, as he promised he would?
Between Two Seas is published by the Oxford
University Press. It was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children's
Book Prize 2008 and the Glen Dimplex New Writers Award in Ireland. It
was also shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award and for the Hampshire
Two Seas is also available as an unabridged audio book read by the
author from Whole
Read a review of Between Two Seas at
My mother grew up near Skagen in Denmark. We visited every year throughout
my childhood, and I grew up with a love of the place and the art that
was painted there in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Many of the places I wrote about in Between Two Seas are real, and so
are some of the characters, though I invented their personalities.
I visited Grimsby and Mablethorpe, and found a real address to give
Marianne and her mother. I also found out about Hope House (which actually
came into existence slightly later that I suggest in the book). In the
early 20th century, a very strong fishing connection grew up between
Skagen and Grimsby. I chose to anticipate that in my story. I wanted
to set it in the time before Skagen was opened up by the building of
a harbour and the extension of the railway.
The hotel Marianne stays in Frederikshavn (the Cimbria) really existed.
Apparently it was so awful that the locals nicknamed it “the arse”.
Brøndums Hotel, on the other hand, is still open to guests in
Skagen today. It’s a wonderful place, and I highly recommend their
hot chocolate and cakes. I wrote some of the book whilst enjoying them.
With the exception of Perroy, all the artists are real people and I
refer to real paintings they did, though I made free with the dates
they were painted. Lars Kruse really was the captain of the lifeboat
at that time and I read contemporary accounts (in Danish gothic script)
of shipwrecks, rescues and of weddings to base my own story on.
Many of the painting I describe are exhibited at the Skagens
Museum. You can also visit the Skagens By og Egns Museum to see
some real examples of the houses I describe. The staff must have wondered
why I visited so often in the summer of 2005 and sat for hours in the
houses. I was trying to visualise what it must have been like to live
My main characters are all fictional.
Also by Marie-Louise Jensen...