- Created on Thursday, 26 April 2012
- By Julian Mackrell
Georgian HNF with a difference: This Wonderful Year's principal subject is not a sailor and is never likely to be. Indeed, that Edward Pamprill begins the book as a pampered rich kid and ends it taking his place in the House of Lords, did not fill me with much enthusiasm for reading of his exploits, nor sympathy for his plight. And yet ...
... and yet, this is one of the most charming HNF novels I have had the pleasure to read. Benno writes with a fine feel for period detail, concentrating on characterisation while allowing his plot to evolve steadily at a relatively sedate pace, a virtually day-by-day approach that will likely resonate with lovers of Patrick O'Brian. Much of the action takes place ashore, and Pamprill is a landsman, so This Wonderful Year has few naval technicalities; some of his "landsman's howlers" [eg "the big pole in the middle"] are refreshing and mildly humorous.
Pamprill is perhaps a little too good to be true, as also is the cosy nature of the book in general, yet I found the story compelling and even quite emotional at times. But then, I'm a big softy at heart! This would seem to be the author's first book, so all credit to him for such a splendid start.
By the way: a massive fail for dreadful Kindle formatting!
Description of: This Wonderful Year
Author: Mark E. Benno