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Girl on the Orlop Deck

By Beryl Kingston

    Plain Portsmouth lass Marianne Morris is thrilled when handsome Jem Templeman asks her to be his wife. The wedding follows soon after, but when things do not quite go according to plan Jem drowns his sorrows in the local pubcand gets picked up by the press gang. When Marianne discovers what has happened there is only one thing she can do; don her brotherfs clothes and join the navy herself.

It is never easy to give a fresh look at material that has been written about in so many other books, but Ms Kingston manages it. This is the story of the events that lead up to the Battle of Trafalgar, but shown from the third person perspectives of Marianne, Jem and Nelson himself. This is a book packed with adventure and incident, good humored but with a keen sense of the dramatic and even tragic when it matters. This author is also adept at describing what everything looked like, and thus catapults the reader headlong into the action from page one. I was also pleased to read that rarity among naval fiction, a story about life before the mast. Ms Kingston has managed to convey why sailors loved the life and kept coming back for more instead of focussing on the more negative side of the navy as many other authors do for more dramatic effect. If you like real adventure stories, then I canft think of when I last read a better one – excellent stuff.

The Book

Robert Hale
August 2010
0709090226 / 9780709090229
General/Historical 1803 onwards Portsmouth and various other locations worldwide
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The Reviewer

Rachel A Hyde
Reviewed 2010
© 2010