Book Review, Fiction

Review: Cinnamon and Gunpowder

Cinnamon and Gunpowder Book Cover Cinnamon and Gunpowder
Eli Brown
Fiction
Macmillan
June 4, 2013
318

 

"In 1819, kidnapped chef Owen Wedgwood transforms meager shipboard supplies into sumptuous meals at the behest of his kidnapper, pirate queen Mad Hannah Mabbot, while she pushes her exhausted crew to track down a deadly privateer."


There are two things you are going to learn about in this book. Food and Sailing.

This is an odd book. Imagine a kindly, posh grandma calmly telling you a story of murder and debauchery. That’s the atmosphere. It may be unsettling and for a small part of the book I was under the impressions that I might not like it. But this strange style won me over eventually.

It’s a book that follows its own pace. It might give you a detailed cookery lesson of smoked eel risotto the one page and a horrifically naval battle the next. When I was finally aligned with the pacing, I found myself deeply engulfed in the plot. It is quite humorous at times, although darkly so.

Now, it’s not a kindly old gran telling the story, but a chef named Owen Wedgwood. Wedge isn’t the typical hero of high sea adventure. He is soft-hearted and mostly appalled by what’s happening to and around him. He tends to be over-dramatically melancholic. His flowery language is in stark contrast to his brutal surroundings. We see his journey as he slowly change with time on the fearsome pirate ship.

The book is set in 1819 and it’s written in the style of that time. Similarly, Wedge and some of the other characters are portrayed with the less politically correct views associated with the time. In contrast the pirate captain Mabbot’s views are nearly modern and it’s not hard to like her charismatic ways.

It’s not the norm in storytelling anymore. With its two middle aged main characters and them not being in a wild insta-love romance, it gives it a refreshingly new as well as classic feeling.


 

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