The Ship’s Carpenter (Tween Sea and Shore)

Written by D E Stockman
Review by Jeff Westerhoff

In 1742, peace exists between France and England. Young Abraham Robinson, who injured his hand in an accident, is released as a shipwright at the Royal Naval Yard in Woolwich. Seeking shipbuilding/carpentry work, Abraham, who is fluent in French, travels to France and is hired as a carver, working on a warship in Brest. While staying with a shipbuilder’s family, he falls in love with a young French girl named Yvette. It isn’t long until war breaks out again between France and England and Abraham is forced to leave his job. Abraham returns to England, but the only position he can obtain is ship’s carpenter onboard a Royal Navy warship. Abraham’s adventures now begin on the high seas.

Stockman’s series, Tween Sea and Shore, follows the adventures of historical and fictional characters aboard the frigate, la Renommée. This series debut has a slightly different approach to the average seafaring novels written about this time period, up to and including the Napoleonic Wars. The protagonist is not a sea captain or a sailor who has been taken on board an English man of war; instead, he is an unassuming ship’s carpenter who is just trying to survive while working his trade, handicapped after seriously injuring his hand. I found the main character fully developed, sympathetic, and likable. Although there are few battle scenes, there is enough tension built into the story’s plot to keep a solid, fast-paced storyline. It’s an interesting and worthwhile read, and I look forward to reading the next book in the series.