- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 1579.0 KB
- Print Length: 285 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1943404089
- Publisher: Old Salt Press LLC; 1 edition (1 Nov. 2016)
- Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01M3Y525Z
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Average Customer Review: 11 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #222,002 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Britannia's Amazon: The Dawlish Chronicles Volume 5 April - August 1882 Kindle Edition
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However, Nicholas is present in spirit continually, as an anchor of reliable morality and a person who ultimately will approve or disapprove of Florence's actions. She feels at times that she is treading very close to the boundaries of his approval, and ultimately has to decide for herself how to resolve the ethical dilemma. By the standards of the age, it becomes a matter of finding the least bad option rather than an unequivocally good one. I am sure that most modern readers will agree with her choice.
I really enjoyed this book. Florence is a great character - resourceful, determined, and not afraid to challenge injustice. Her social background means that she constantly has to contend with prejudice, and she does so very effectively. One of my few regrets about the earlier Dawlish books is that she is sometimes relegated to a few pages at the start, before being left behind on the dockside like so many other navy wives have been. Here, she gets a whole book! Not only that, but it is fascinating to explore what might be called the home front - the country that Nicholas is constantly risking his life for. Its institutions are far from perfect, but the efforts of individuals like Florence are making the risk worthwhile.
Part of the personal resonance for me was a familiarity with many of the locations. Charing Cross and Villiers Street are just a few minutes' walk from where I work in London, and I also know many of the places visited in Surrey and Hampshire as well. Rather more than a century has passed since Florence walked here, but there is great pleasure in imagining some of the scenes.
I suppose that those who like "straight" naval fiction, with sea battles and the like, might find less to enjoy here. But as a way to explore the Victorian England that hovers behind the naval action, and a way to gain insight into Dawlish's life through the person closest to him, it is a great read. Highly recommended by me.
The use of real-life characters is often poorly done in novels, but in this case - and knowing something about the real 'Napoleon of Crime' - it felt right and did not feel contrived.
The book also contains a short story about Nicholas Dawlish's early life which explains why he joined the Royal Navy. In my opinion this addendum alone was worth the cost of the book as it filled in some vital information that lovers of the 'Dawlish Chronicles' would have found informative.
Striving to transcend her humble beginnings, yet determined to keep contact with her family despite the almost ironclad social structure of Victorian times, Florence is a deeply sympathetic heroine. She is deeply in love with Nicholas, her naval officer husband, and he with her, and although a more modern idea, they are a team; she will do anything not to hinder or damage his career, he is determined to protect her from any slights or snubs due to her early life as a paid servant.
So when Florence is appalled, angry and then motivated to investigate a particularly nasty exploitation that lies beneath a pleasant façade of Victorian life, she is anxious that it doesn’t impact on her husband’s prospects. Of course, these two things soon come into conflict…
This is a story that does not pull punches; the research into misery, hypocrisy, yet bravery and high moral intent that characterises the Victorian period lays these bare. But the story is about a tough lady full of integrity, but no “goody two shoes” but one who does become anxious, worried, unsure of herself and her actions, yet persists.
The author cleverly guides us through the plot, opening up the the environment, informing us but never preaching. Florence and her friends Agatha and Mabel are a fearsome bunch, but so very human. Highly recommended.
And if you’re a follower of The Dawlish Chronicles, the additional story at the end, “Eye” gives us a bonus - a peek into the early life of Nicholas Dawlish. It solved one mystery for me…
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Based on fact and real people. Vivid description of places. An intricate plot that kept me guessing to the end.
'This is a story that does not pull punches; the research into misery, hypocrisy, yet bravery and high moral intent that...Read more