When I approached MBR BookWatch (The Midwest Book Review) with Nelson’s Lost Son, they warned me that their volunteer reviewers can’t keep up! So when a Senior Reviewer from this service established in 1976 to promote literacy said yes, I felt very encouraged – especially as she did so because she had enjoyed Nelson’s Folly. Diane Donovan has reviewed books for over 300 publishers and authors and is also an editor for this not-for-profit website. As it’s run by volunteers, the site can be tricky to navigate, so please find her review in full here. Thank you again to MBR Bookwatch and Diane for all they do to support and encourage authors, libraries and quality writing.
Book Review from Diane Donovan's Bookshelf,
MBR Bookwatch May 2023
Nelson's Lost Son by Oliver Greeves
9780645023756, $19.99 Paper/$2.99 ebook
As published at: https://www.midwestbookreview.com/mbw/may_23.htm#dianedonovan
Nelson's Lost Son is a military historical fiction piece that focuses on the "Great Chase" - the Caribbean campaign preceding the more well-known Trafalgar. It presents a fictitious story based on historical facts with the progress of Josiah Nisbet, who has lost his command and thus feels that his relationship with his famous stepfather Admiral Horatio Nelson is in jeopardy.
This is why he can't turn down the unexpected offer of becoming part of a covert mission that will, if successful, redeem his reputation, career, and relationship. The "if successful" part seems more and more unlikely, however, as events test Josiah's personal, political, and professional strengths.
While Nelson's Lost Son stands alone nicely for newcomers, it ideally will be selected by readers already familiar with its predecessor, Nelson's Folly, which offered new insights into the lives of Nelson and his wife Fanny. This builds the foundation for Nelson's Lost Son to continue the family legacy in a different way, offering a fast-paced adventure pairing the backdrop of real historical events with the examination of the father-son relationship of Horatio Nelson and his 'lost son' Josiah Nisbet.
Though naval history and intrigue come to life, this story is about so much more than military confrontations. Equally at the heart of matters is the struggle between father and son, their shared missions and ideals, ways in which events test their relationship, and the manners in which heroism and courage emerge in disparate forms for different generations.
Josiah begins to realize the complex ramifications of his actions as the story unfolds: "It seemed to him there were two issues - a shortage of good hemp and a crisis of trust caused by the investigation. Everyone was scared. And where did that leave him?" This leads him into a position of danger in which trusts betrayed and ideals pursued land him in no-win situations. These further threaten not just his career ambitions and his relationship with the navy and his father, but his life.
Oliver Greeves again paints a thoroughly engrossing story powered as much by the quandaries and emotions of his characters as the times they live through.
Between presenting battles on the high seas or the plight of slaves "compelled to serve without condition" whether they be French or English, Greeves supercharges the story of men who too often are "victims of their own convictions," bringing Lord Nelson's world to life with vivid action and a blend of psychological, political, and military inspection.
Libraries that saw popularity with the previous Nelson's Folly, as well as newcomers, will find equally rich and vividly portrayed the history and sense of place and time in Nelson's Lost Son. Whether chosen as a sequel or a stand-alone novel, the tale is highly recommended for libraries seeking historical military fiction that shines.
Review by D. Donovan, Sr. Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
As published on MBR Bookwatch Vol. 22, Number 5. May 2023
For your copy of Nelson’s Lost Son or Nelson’s Folly, see the links on my home page: www.fannynelsonfan.com
If you haven’t read Nelson’s Lost Son, what do you think of Diane's review? Does her review help you understand who may enjoy the novel? Please share your thoughts in the comments below. And if you have read it, let's have your review in brief below too!
Also please consider sharing this review with anyone who enjoys historical fiction or stories about heroes who are only human. Writing is a joy, but spreading the word about what's on offer is hard work, so any help is greatly appreciated!
Image: Oliver getting ready for the launch of Nelson’s Lost Son at the Lord Nelson Hotel and Brewery, The Rocks, Sydney. Photo by Annie Greeves