The Unlikely Master Genius

Carla Kelly. Camel, $15.95 trade paper (246p) ISBN 978-1-60381-683-0
This sweet Regency story begins with the wedding and leisurely explores what comes after. Sailing Master Durable “Able” Six marries kind-hearted and penniless spinster Meridee Bonfort just days before starting interim employment at the St. Brendan the Navigator School, which trains workhouse boys for the Royal Navy. Gifted with the ability to remember and understand everything he’s ever read, heard, or seen, Able (a former workhouse boy himself) looks forward to teaching mathematics and seamanship. With the Napoleonic Wars in a temporary lull, he knows it’s only a matter of time before he and the boys in his care—including the four youngest, whom Meridee readily agrees to board in their home—are called to service and must rely on his lessons to survive war. Able is a quirky character who seems a little disconnected from the real world and tirelessly quotes his heroes, Euclid, Newton, and Shakespeare, but Kelly smartly surrounds him with charming, street-smart, and sympathetic supporting characters to bring him down to earth. Able and Meridee’s relationship is important to the story, but it still feels mostly like romantic historical fiction, with no attempts made to respect the conventions of the romance genre. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/19/2018
Release date: 05/01/2018
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