The Emerald Shore: The Voyage of Lucy P. Simmons, Book 3

Book review by
Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
The Emerald Shore:  The Voyage of Lucy P. Simmons, Book 3 Book Poster Image
Satisfying finale to magical adventure-girl series.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Kids will learn a little about daily life in Ireland in the early 20th century. They'll also learn a bit of Irish folklore, and a little about the geography of Ireland's west coast.

Positive Messages

The end of the voyage focuses on themes of family and home: Family ties are stronger than steel, and home is where you're loved. Parents' decisions reverberate through generations affecting their children and grandchildren. The magic of love always overcomes the power of evil.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Lucy's brave, resourceful, and loyal. In this third and last installment, she concentrates more on puzzle and riddle solving than on action or adventure. She stands up for what's right when she sees injustice, comes up with clever solutions when negotiating with others, and always does what's best for the young children Georgie and Annie. Although an orphan, she's surrounded by adults who offer guidance and loving support.


A few violent fights briefly describe kicking, biting, scratching, and punching. In one fight, a pet dog bites a bad guy who kicks the dog hard. There's a hard slap that knocks the victim down into semiconsciousness.  Blood's mentioned several times, including being drawn when a knife is held to someone's throat. Young children are hit with a hickory switch. There's an eerie, ghostly presence, and a scary zombie-like figure is briefly described when the heroes are digging up a grave.


Adults are mentioned exchanging a long, passionate kiss twice, one of which is at their wedding. Two different teen boys each kiss Lucy full on the lips once. Lucy's tingly feelings are described briefly when a love interest almost kisses her hand.


One character uses "arse" several times.  "Hell hole" is used once.


Bushmill's whiskey is mentioned once.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

An important elderly female character is almost always portrayed smoking a pipe, and in one instance the process of filling and lighting the pipe is described. Adults drink an "amber liquid" a couple of times. Wine's used as an offering. Wine and ale are described as served with a dinner; it's unclear what the children and teens drink at the meal. A bad guy is "drunk as a skunk" and guzzles ale. Another bad guy has liquor on his "foul breath." There's speculation that "lads" in general sneak whiskey and smokes. "Libations flowed" at a wedding.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Emerald Shore is the third and final installment in Barbara Mariconda's The Voyage of Lucy P. Simmons series. It picks up where Book 2, Lucy at Sea, left off, leaving the seafaring behind and concentrates on solving riddles, finding treasure, and lifting curses. Now that the voyage is over, positive themes of home and family come to the forefront. There's some fighting, and blood's mentioned a few times. Some of the eerie atmosphere and ghostly apparitions might be scary for younger readers, but they're always safely resolved. A prominent character frequently smokes a pipe, and alcohol's mentioned a few times, but only the bad guys are portrayed as drunk. Several kisses are mentioned, but none is described in detail, and two are between two adults who are engaged or just married.

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What's the story?

THE EMERALD SHORE picks up where Lucy at Sea left off. Having found her Aunt Pru in Australia, Lucy and friends follow the trail of clues to Ireland's west coast, where they hope to solve the mystery and finally lift the pirate's curse that's plagued Lucy's family for generations. Following every footstep is the evil Quaide, who wants to find and keep the treasure for himself. All of Lucy's familiar friends are back, and some new ones include the handsome and mysterious Seamus. Magic still has a part to play, too, in the land of the "wee folk" (fairies) and the eerie Grey Man.

Is it any good?

Veteran author Barbara Mariconda effectively creates an eerie, other-worldly, and magical atmosphere on Ireland's west coast. This third and final series installment leaves the seafaring behind, and has Lucy concentrating more on solving the riddle of the pirate queen's treasure: assembling all the clues, discovering new ones, and trying to fit all the pieces together. The beloved cast of supporting characters return, but make room for intriguing and colorful new characters, too.

Kids will be entertained and satisfied with the end of Lucy's voyage. They'll enjoy following along as Lucy tries to solve the puzzle of her past, with thrills and chills along the way (especially for the younger ones). The ending satisfies, and makes it clear that there will always be more voyages for Lucy and her friends.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the series ends. Was it what you expected would happen? Were there any surprises?

  • Which of the three books in the series did you like best?  Why?

  • Do you agree that "home is where you're loved"? What makes a place feel like home to you?

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