I am pleased to announce I am starting the blog tour for The Luckiest Thirteen by Brian W. Lavery, courtesy of Random Things Blog Tours creator, Anne Carter.
A true-life drama of an intense battle for survival on the high seas. The Luckiest Thirteen is the story of an incredible two-day battle to save the super trawler St Finbarr, and of those who tried to rescue her heroic crew in surging, frozen seas. It was also a backdrop for the powerful stories of families ashore, dumbstruck by fear and grief, as well as a love story of a teenage deckhand and his girl that ended with a heart-rending twist. From her hi-tech hold to her modern wheelhouse she was every inch the super ship the great hope for the future built to save the fleet at a record-breaking price but a heart-breaking cost. On the thirteenth trip after her maiden voyage, the St Finbarr met with catastrophe off the Newfoundland coast. On Christmas Day 1966, twenty-five families in the northern English fishing port of Hull were thrown into a dreadful suspense not knowing if their loved ones were dead or alive after the disaster that befell The Perfect Trawler. This edition closes with 34 dramatic and poignant photographs from the period. By the same author as the powerful THE HEADSCARF REVOLUTIONARIES.
I was really looking forward to starting this book for two reasons: 1) I am from ‘up north’ and wanted to read something I had a bit of knowledge about and 2) after reading quite a few crime thrillers I was anticipating reading something from a different genre.
With the author already known for their The Headscarf Heroes fame, I was intrigued to see what Lavery had in store for his next novel, The Lucky Thirteen.
This ambitious novel takes the form of half fact – half inspired events from the trawler catastrophe that was the St Finbarr. What I mean is, Lavery very cleverly fills in the gaps by connecting stories and re-imagining the carefully crafted conversations for all those involved. Forging these stories from memories of people, articles, and a bit of investigative journalism, history comes alive in this tale of love, loss, and hope.
The structure of the novel is fantastic. Using some literary influences e.g. poetry/quotes as the epigraphs really puts this novel in an emotional perspective. Additionally, there are newspaper headlines, facts, and documentation all demonstrating not just the amount of work and effort the author has gone to in order to create such an emotive and sophisticated book, but also adds to the plot as a whole. For although it is a past story, you can almost hear the people’s conversations as if they were standing in front of you. Furthermore, the photographs are a personal touch from those who were involved in the tragedy following the disastrous explosion all those years ago.
For those that aren’t privy to the Christmas Day off the coast, I am sure after reading this they will not only be fascinated, but also indebted to Lavery who has brought the spirit of the St Finbarr back to life.
For those who have walked the streets of Hull, either long ago or fairly recently, I guarantee this nostalgic read will bring a tear to one’s eye. For a city full of rich culture, a dark shadow sweeps underneath of the tragedy of the St Finbarr, however, their spirit lives on in the people of Hull who remember, and those who pass on their memories to future generations.
The ‘characters’, or people involved are not just on the St Finbarr- stories of love, romance, family, and more and sewed amongst the tragedy which then comes full circle at the end.
Lavery’s language and narrative evokes the right amount of historical interest and emotion creating a balance. This is a very easy yet hard-hitting read which I enjoyed thoroughly, yet I am reminded that is it not fiction.
This highly emotive and courageous novel is definitely the one to watch. More people need to read about the people of the St Finbarr and those whose lives it affected. History buffs, culture enthusiasts, journalists, students, locals and people far and wide will benefit from reading this book. I guarantee this is not the last we have heard of Lavery!
As always, my reviews have no spoilers and especially with this book, Lavery’s words will move you beyond emotion- it’s best to let him tell the story.
How to get your hands on a copy:
Follow the author: @brianlavery59
The author’s website: http://www.brianlavery.com
Thank you to Barbican Press and Anne Carter for my signed copy of this book and my spot on the blog tour!
Check out the rest of the tour below!
Happy reading! Lx
All images courtesy of Anne Carter from Random Things Blog Tours.