A powerful debut exploring the dark side of Cornwall – the wrecking and the drowned sailors – where poverty drove villagers to dark deeds…
Shipwrecks are part of life in the remote village of Porthmorven, Cornwall. And as the sea washes the bodies of the drowned onto the beach, it also brings treasures: barrels of liquor, exotic fruit, the chance to lift a fine pair of boots from a corpse, maybe even a jewel or two.
When, after a fierce storm, Mary Blight rescues a man half-dead from the sea, she ignores the whispers of her neighbours and carries him home to nurse better. Gideon Stone is a Methodist minister from Newlyn, a married man. Touched by Mary’s sacrifice and horrified by the superstitions and pagan beliefs the villagers cling to, Gideon sets out to bring light and salvation to Porthmorven by building a chapel on the hill.
But the village has many secrets and not everyone wants to be saved. As Mary and Gideon find themselves increasingly drawn together, jealousy, rumour and suspicion is rife. Gideon has demons of his own to face, and soon Mary’s enemies are plotting against her…
Gripping, beautifully written and utterly beguiling, Noel O’Reilly’s debut WRECKER is a story of love, injustice, superstition and salvation, set against Cornwall’s dark past.
World Rights: HQ, HarperCollins
Italy: HarperCollins Italy
Goldsboro Books' Book of the Month - July 2018
"With echoes of Du Maurier, this compelling Cornish drama weaves a tangled web of fallen faiths, of sins, seductions and deceits." Essie Fox, author of The Last Days of Leda Grey
"Written with a blazing energy and a Gothic edge, this portrait of 19th-century Cornwall is a cracker." Daily Mail
"A gripping historical tale. Laced with Cornwall and menace in equal measure. I loved it." Liz Fenwick, author of One Cornish Summer
"With perfect prose, a fast-paced, intricate plot, and Mary, this is fiction of a literary standard that can’t fail to please the reader." My Weekly
"Splendid book and a splendid story, beautifully describing the lives of the inhabitants of an isolated Cornish village and their reliance on wrecking and their beliefs and superstitions. Mary Blight is a compelling character. Loved it." MW Craven, author of The Puppet Show