Thursday, January 20, 2011

Review: Fire Island by John J. Stevens

Fire Island
ISBN #: 978-0-615-40156-0
Page Count: 229
Copyright: 2010

About the Author:
(Taken from inside back cover)

John J. Stevens loves telling stories about the waterfront.  He is the Writer - Director of three public television documentaries:  Freedom's Glory: The Restoration of the Little Jennie, the story of one man's obsessive quest to restore the Chesapeake Bay oyster dredger, Little Jennie; How Long is Long Island Sound? about the ecological condition of Long Island Sound; Alive in An Urban Harbor, about the revival of species in New York Harbor.

A Long Island native, Stevens currently lives a five-minute drive from where he was born.  He is the Founder and President of Bullfrog Communications, Inc. a digital communications company.

Fire Island is his first novel.

(Taken from back cover)

"This was the smell of a new nation - a free, proud, and hard-working people.  It was the smell of burgeoning confidence, of optimism, of enterprise.  It seemed as if the very air shimmered with promise."

So thought Moses Howland Grinnell as he walked up the Street of Ships in Lower Manhattan on the morning of November 23, 1857.  Just days later, one of his prized vessels, Young America, returning from a trading voyage to China, wrecked off the coast of Fire Island.

This shipwreck changed forever the life of the captain of the vessel William Trask.  He lost his son, his crew, and one of his legs, but it also set him on a strange new course in his life that he could never have guessed.

Fire Island tells the story of Trask, Grinnell and a host of other characters from the time in a gripping new historical novel from author John J. Stevens.  Real historical facts and authentic people from the past are interwoven here with fictional people and events, in a beautifully-written tale of historical drama.

It is a story in which you will get happily lost.

My Review:

I was a little concerned that, with the book being based on historical fact, that it would get a little boring for me.  I enjoy knowing about history (occasionally), but not to the point that it sounds like a history lesson.  Happily, this novel was anything but a standard school-taught history lesson.

Although the novel was fast paced, you still gathered a real feel for the characters and their personas.  The mix of characters depicted throughout the novel gave a real sense of what that time in history might have been like.  From the rich business owners, to the working-class captains, to the slightly on-this-side-of-the-law criminals, John J. Stevens covers them all.

There was a slight romantic twist to this story, but it did not deter away from the main theme of this novel.  The telling of how the Lifesaving Stations came to be, and the men that committed themselves to them, is the main focus of this novel. 

The pictures throughout the book helped you create a character's image and persona in your mind.  I loved this addition to the story ... especially knowing that the majority, if not all, of these pictures were of real people from the past.

Overall, this a wonderfully written debut novel for John J. Stevens.  Fluid and fast-paced, it is a novel that anyone would enjoy reading.

No comments:

Post a Comment

If you are using, you can simply drop the html below in a widget in the footer or at the bottom of the sidebar.