No Less Than The Journey by E V Thompson
|No Less Than The Journey by E V Thompson|
|Genre: Historical Fiction|
|Reviewer: Louise Laurie|
|Summary: No Less Than The Journey concerns a young Cornish miner seeking a new life in America. He makes many interesting acquaintances and some rather arduous journeys in his quest to find a family member.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Maybe|
|Pages: 448||Date: May 2010|
|Publisher: Robert Hale|
No Less Than The Journey concerns a young Cornish miner seeking a new life in America. He makes many interesting acquaintances and some rather arduous journeys in his quest to find a family member.
The book cover is rather Mills & Boon-esque which didn't inspire me, I must admit. We meet the main character, Wes Curnow, half way through his long journey from England. Having survived as far as teeming New York, he's set to make the next leg: a boat bound for New Orleans. And here is the start of many of Wes's adventures, all of them pretty dangerous. Thompson paints Wes as a young man with plenty of positive characteristics, strong, brave, handsome, honest. Almost too good to be true. I felt as if I was back in Mills and Boon country again, I really did. And the language at times is a bit heavy-handed and pedantic - and also a bit gushing. Not to my particular taste, I have to say.
Thompson certainly likes his history. The reader is given little snippets throughout the novel, whether it's the background to the tin mining industry in Cornwall or the bloody Civil War in America. And Wes seems to be drawn into troubles not of his making. Everyone likes him (on the right side of the law) and everyone hates him (on the wrong side of the law). So far, so predictable, I thought. Women of all ages fall at his feet. He can do no wrong. And for me, the character of Wes was very light on the page. In fact, most of the characters were very one-dimensional and we've-heard-it-all-before. I didn't find Thompson's style of writing particularly engaging, on the whole. However, on a more positive note, the reader is told of the hard living of the time: whether it's mining in the States or another of the trades at the time. Lawlessness is rife, the drinking heaving and the women easy. You could say, welcome to the wild west.
As the story progresses, Wes comes across as earnest, even a little naive. He seems intent on sticking to his original plan, even when more attractive propositions come their way and fall into his lap. As one character says to Wes There are easier ways to earn a living than burrowing underground like some varmit.
Wes has a father-figure in the shape of a respected and respectable US Marshal. But even the marshal's sound advice seems to fall on deaf ears. And so Wes has some more hearty adventures. By this time, for me, it was one adventure too many. I suppose it was kind of interesting to find out about life in the mountain areas, how to survive etc but I can hear myself putting spin on this book. The language used was so sentimental that it defeated the purpose to a greater extent. And Thompson does repeat himself now and again. There was one point where I felt like screaming when I'd read it for the third time on a single page.
On a positive note, the feisty old man did come alive on the page. I could almost hear him cackling when he says The East ain't for me - especially not the cities. There's so many folk packed into 'em that there's not enough air to go around for everyone. But, on the whole, an overly sentimental tone with some unconvincing characters made this less than an interesting read for me.
My thanks to the publishers for sending it to Bookbag.
If you enjoy No Less Than The Journey, you'll love Missy by Chris Hannan.
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