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The Black Rocks of Morwenstow
John Wilcox

Allison and Busby
18 May 2017/ ISBN 9780749017392

Reviewed by Rachel A Hyde


Sailor Joshua Weyland wants to leave America and get home to marry his fiancée, so he ships out on the first England-bound vessel he can find. The Lucy has a drunken captain and is in a poor state, and Joshua finds himself shipwrecked in the tiny Devon village of Morwenstow. He is the only survivor, but why was a light shining that lured the ship onto the notorious rocks? Unable to get back to his fiancée, he must stay with the doctor and his daughter who have patched him up, and while he recovers he is keen to get to the bottom of more than one mystery.

Set in 1842, this is a stand-alone adventure/mystery that gets off to a lively start. And despite getting a bit repetitive in the middle, it manages to hold the reader's interest. Part of this is due to the author’s readable style, which keeps the pages turning, plus the likeable protagonist and some good descriptions of a beautiful place. Josh has to unmask who is controlling whatever is going on, and although it is not hard to guess it all, reading about it is very entertaining. I’ve been to the places mentioned and can attest that they are accurately described. Plus, the author has done his research about what it would have been like back then. He has a good light touch suitable for an adventure story, and that manages to convey that life could be hard. But he does not bog down the tale with gloom and instead concentrates on the exciting parts. I haven’t read this author before but plan to do so again. If you enjoy a lively historical novel with plenty of adventure and a touch of romance, I can recommend this.

Reviewed 2017