About the Book:
The year is 1805. Napoleon is determined to invade England. Angus Ogilvie, spy catcher, has learned more of Napoleon’s plans. He relays them to Master Able Six, instructor at St. Brendan the Navigator School, where workhouse boys of promise are training in naval service to an England that considers them castoffs. Ogilvie has other startling news about a mysterious Spanish count who bears a striking resemblance to the unlikely master genius.
To counteract the growing threat from across the English Channel, Able Six has been recalled to the fleet. Thanks to a legacy from the legendary Sir B, Able and his Gunwharf Rats—workhouse boys like him—will serve as ship-to-shore messengers in Sir B’s own yacht.
Able is torn. His loyalty to England and the Royal Navy is strong, and he knows his duty, but there is loving wife Meridee to consider, and their small son, Ben. Is the cost of war finally too high, even to a man so committed?
What awaits Able Six is more than war—someone from his past he could love or hate. Able Six knows his puny concerns mean nothing, as a battle that will change England forever edges closer. Trafalgar.
Able Six, former sailing master, and current instructor at St. Brendan School of Navigation is enjoying his blessed life with his wife, Meridee, and their young son, Ben. Able is a former workhouse orphan, one who had nothing, but now has a home and a profession he loves, thanks to the patronage and generosity of his former commander, Sir Belvedere. The St. Brendan School is unique, because its purpose is to train orphans who wish to become part of the Royal Navy. Able sees much of his younger self in the boys who come to his school, so he’s an ideal choice to be their teacher. He shows them respect, while Meridee shows them love, commodities they have been sadly lacking in their young lives.
Able knows that he may be called back to active duty at any time, and when Napoleon appears to be planning to make a move, it happens. Sir B had previously provided his own yacht for the school to practice on, but now it’s going to be used as part of the war effort. The speedy boat is ideal to carry messages between England’s warships, as well as ship-to-shore, so Able is now commander, and his crew will be none other than his students, the self-dubbed Gunwharf Rats. Though in theory, the yacht will not be in any active battle, in fact, they are not armed, you can never predict what will happen in wartime. Meridee puts on a brave face as she tells her husband and beloved children goodbye. In truth, she does think of the boys from the school as her own.
As always, Carla Kelly’s writing appears effortless, and flows at a perfect pace. THE UNLIKELY HEROES engaged all my attention, as well as my emotions. The love and connection between Able and Meridee is so strong and palpable, that I became wholly invested in them, actually feeling that I knew them. I grieved with their losses, and was happy when they were together and sharing their love. While Able is a genuine genius with a photographic memory, and Meridee is simply a loving woman, they are perfect together, and just what the other needs. Their young son, Ben, already showing that he has inherited his father’s unique characteristic, added warmth, charm, and a little bit of light humor. The Gunwharf Rats showed just how much courage and heart they had, and it was wonderful to see their feelings of self worth grow. I love that Able finally found out the circumstances of his birth. I think it’s important to read the first two books in this series to fully absorb the history of St. Brendan School, and to follow Able and Meridee on their romantic journey. Able is truly a unique character, a noble, courageous, and loving man, despite his early rough upbringing. THE UNLIKELY HEROES without a doubt goes on my favorites and keeper lists, and I wholeheartedly recommend this wonderful, touching story that will take you through a tearful, joyful, and vivid journey to a perfect conclusion. ~Rose