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The Outrageous Fortune of Abel Morgan
BY Cynthia Jefferies

Allison and Busby
18 January 2019/ ISBN 9780749023249
Fiction / Historical / England 1600s

Reviewed by Rachel A Hyde


1660: Charles II is restored to his throne and former soldier Sir Christopher Morgan is home from Holland at last. But it is without his beloved wife who died birthing his baby son, Abel, and both his house and fortune are all gone. Life seems not worth living at first, but he has the inn he bought to run and Abel to look after. They form a close bond and all seems well until Abel is kidnapped…

There are adventures galore in this book for both father and son, from Constantinople to the Caribbean. If you enjoy reading about smugglers and pirates, this seafaring yarn ought to appeal -- not a short novel but packed with exciting escapades. It will also appeal to anybody who does not like too much violence or sex in their reading.

The author normally writes for children and this is her first adult novel. It could certainly go into a YA section as nothing particularly unpleasant happens to anybody, and when it might, it is either described in a bloodless way or circumvented. This makes for a relaxing, rather cozy read and can be recommended if this is what you are after. Anybody wanting more robust fare ought perhaps to look elsewhere, although a side effect of this is that some of the more expected clichés are neatly avoided. Somewhat puzzlingly, one character appears to serve no obvious purpose. In order to avoid plot spoilers I cannot really say more on the subject, but anybody reading the novel will be equally mystified. Again, the expected clichés are avoided and maybe the outcome is more akin to real life, but it is still strange.

Ms Jefferies is adept at sketching in a scene, and the novel wears its research lightly; if there were any historical howlers I didn’t spot them. There are really only two characters in the book, the rest appear as plot devices and fail to come to life. But I was so swept along with the author’s easy to read storytelling style from the first page, it did not matter greatly while I was happily reading. An exciting book that can be described rather aptly as “good clean fun.”

UK Reviewer: Rachel Hyde's work can be found in The Bead Magazine, Making Jewellery and
Reviewed 2019