A richly crafted, compelling and immersive tale.
Set in the Depression era, Thomson’s latest is a compelling and transformative story of one man’s journey to strive. Born in poverty in Scotland, Robert Funkie Thomson Sharp had no option but to start working in the local coal mines with his father and older brothers. But WWI changes everything for the young lad. Forced to join the military, Robert is soon sent away to fight the enemy. When Robert returns from the war, he knows he must relocate to America if he wants to find a better life for him and his family. But with the Great Depression setting in, Robert finds himself facing new challenges. Thomson is excellent at characterization, and her characters—all of them bound by a sense of helplessness in the face of financial strain—reveal their inner layers gradually as the story progresses; it is interesting to watch the headstrong Cameron, who knows how to get what she wants and Jack is endearing with his compliant, hard-working nature. The tough-as-nails Frank remains thoroughly fascinating despite his cold and calculated personality. The story is well paced and intriguing, and Frank’s journey from the Scottish coal mines to World War, and finally to the shores of America is wonderfully intriguing. Thomson beautifully sheds light on history while raising questions still relevant today, particularly around survival, class, nationality, and belonging. The exploration of hard-work, strength, perseverance, family, relationships, and the reflection on how any place in the world where you can be with your loved ones becomes home, is powerful.
The Man From Burnt Island
By Wendy Sura Thomson
Categories: Historical fiction