“Rather than a pilgrimage to the shrine of Saint Thomas in Canterbury, these voyagers take a cruise to the island of St. Thomas in the Caribbean. Their personal stories, told in rhyme, combine to form a witty and penetrating commentary on life in our time.”
– Benedict H. Gross, Professor of Mathematics Emeritus, Harvard University
Josiah Hatch was born in Savannah, Georgia, a fourth generation Georgian. He was sent at age 14 to board at Episcopal High School (founded 1839 in Alexandria, Virginia), and then to Princeton where he graduated summa cum laude in Ancient Greek and Latin and minored in music theory. A Marshall scholar at Pembroke College, Oxford, he studied Anglo-Saxon and Middle English. He spent a year in Italy studying Latin literature, history and art.
As an illustrator Cathy is passionate about nature, science and the environment. Combining her degrees in fine arts and education along with her background in animation and graphic design, she now researches and illustrates a variety of books ranging from picture books to creative nonfiction and chapter books. Cathy’s studio is in the foothills northwest of Fort Collins, Colorado with a panoramic view of the peaks of Rocky Mountain National Park. She enjoys travel, hiking, and gardening, especially with native, drought-tolerant plants that encourage pollinators.
A twenty-first-century reimagining of The Canterbury Tales, set on a vacation cruise in the midst of the pandemic; a wonderful story for our time
Hoping for an adventure (at a discounted price), two dozen strangers set sail for balmy St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands. As different from one another as strangers can be, they agree to pass the time by telling stories. As the passengers share their stories, they begin to learn some astonishing things about their neighbors.
Then, partway through the voyage, they are notified about a virus that has spread across the United States and their destination. The ship is quarantined, and they are destined to loll on the waves of the open sea until a port welcomes them.
Stuck together in the confines of the ship, the group continues to regale each other with ingenious tales. A Journey to St. Thomas is a modern reimagining of Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales. Josiah Hatch, who studied Anglo Saxon and Middle English languages at Oxford University, writes in iambic pentameter, craftily updating Chaucer’s characters to those on the present-day cruise liner. Touching on topics that include political differences and discord, elitism, economic hardship, and the perceived inability of the ordinary citizen to make a difference, this rich and innovative novel captures the humor, insight, and pathos of the original while telling a very modern story.