Breaking the Line

Written by David Donachie
Review by Pat Maynard

As the third and final novel of this trilogy begins, Nelson returns to England following his rescue of the Neapolitan royal family. Accompanied by his mistress and her aging husband, Nelson finds that the news of their affair has preceded them and that rumors are rife among his peers. To further complicate matters, Emma is also pregnant with his child. Thrilled at the thought of impending fatherhood, and deeply disappointed in his reserved society wife and their sterile, childless marriage, Nelson opts for a separation. Although he continues to support his estranged wife and a number of his gluttonous family members financially, his heart remains with Emma and, following her birth, with his daughter, Horatia.

The author has done excellent research of his subject matter. I suspect many readers will be appalled by the voracity of many of Nelson’s supposed “loving” family members. While lavishing in his fame, both before and after his death, they openly scorn his unorthodox behavior and take advantage of his generous nature at every turn. Due to this, as well as to Emma’s inability to live within her means, both she and Horatia are destined to pay a very high price following Nelson’s death. No doubt, this was the last thing Nelson would have wished for; the resulting scenario could only have caused him to roll over in his grave, as the old saying so aptly expresses. Highly recommended.