Saturday 14 July 2018

Review ~ Wrecker by Noel O'Reilly

On Hist Fic Saturday

Let's go back to ...Eighteenth Century, Cornwall

Harper Collins
14 June 2018

My thanks to the publishers and also to for my copy of this book

The wild and windswept Cornish coast with its rich history of ship wrecks comes alive in this story of village secrets and ancient superstition.

Like all the villagers in the remote Cornish village of Porthmorvoren whenever there is a ship wreck, Mary Blight heads to the beach to see what she can salvage, sometimes it’s a trinket or two, or occasionally, something more serviceable like a pair of wearable boots. When she discovers a distressed man in the sea, Mary risks everything to rescue him and nurses him back to health, but the villagers soon start to gossip about Mary’s motives for helping this stranger. The rescued man is Gideon Stone, an evangelical Methodist minister, who, on regaining his strength, sets out to bring salvation to this remote village which is blighted by religious fervour and age old superstitions. 

With a strong sense of time and place, Wrecker comes beautifully to life and highlights the difficulties of living in such a remote place. The superstitions which are so deeply ingrained into this harsh, and often unforgiving, community make it difficult for any stranger to get close to them and their vehement reaction to the minister’s attempt to save their souls is typical of their narrow-mindedness, whilst the way they treat Mary Blight borders on bigotry and hatred.

Wrecker is something of a slow burner of a story which I think is quite deliberate as it allows the place and its people to feature in a very realistic sort of way. The harsh realities of eking out a meagre existence in this unforgiving landscape are well described, as is the way that petty differences and scurrilous gossip are allowed to wreck and ruin lives. With a strong sense of time and place Wrecker comes beautifully to life, bringing together a strong story which is filled with a sense of destiny and which captures perfectly the spirit of this harsh and unforgiving time.

I read this book as part of the LoveReading Review panel.  More reviews of Wrecker can be found on the LoveReading website by clicking here.

Twitter @noeloreilly #Wrecker



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