The Man from Burnt Island
Hell-bent on Leaving Poverty behind
Wendy Sura Thomson
It was a tough life for the Scottish Sharp family at the turn of the twentieth century. Coal miners, they were exempt from the World War I draft. Frank, the fourth of five sons, was the only one that went off to war. Luckily, he survived the trenches, only to return to poor job prospects and poorer wages. When most of the family sailed across the Atlantic in search of a better life, Frank stayed behind for a while... for a little too long, it so happened. A victim of the 1924 Immigration Act, he was barred from immigrating to the US until October, 1929. Three weeks after his quota number came up, the stock market crash occurred.
Frank's story weaves through Detroit's rich history during the Great Depression, Prohibition, World War II, and the booming automotive industry starting in the 1950's and beyond. What Frank sacrifices to achieve material and career success takes its toll on his family and personal life. After all is said and done, this is the saga of a determined and ambitious man who was hell-bent on leaving his poverty-stricken past behind.
Did he make the right choices? You decide.
Book Excerpt or Article
The author of The Third Order, Summon the Tiger, and others Wendy Sura Thomson has returned with another historical fiction novel that will take readers on an amazing journey from Scotland to eventually the Florida Keys.
The Man From Brunt Island follows the life of Frank Sharp from the Scottish coal mines to World War I and II, to the shores of America. The novel is full of adventure and some thought-provoking moments.
Born in 1899, Frank dreams of doing anything other than working in the coal mines with his Dad and older brothers. The headmaster suggested continuing his education, but Frank knows there is no money for school. He resigns himself to the mines until WWI changes everything for the young Scot.
Frank limped into muster the next morning. “Sharp – are you injured?” “Na, nae much, Lieutenant. Just a few blisters.” “Get those tended to. You’ll be marching again tomorrow.” Sharp put his socks back on and headed towards the door, carrying his boots. “Ah'd gie a poun’ sterling fer mah auld boots, even wi' th' holes ’n th' soles. At least ah cuid walk in thaim wi'oot blisters.”
Frank continues to find adventure in the United States, WWII, and through his association with Jimmy Hoffa and the Teamsters, and finally his well-deserved retirement in the Florida Keys.
The Man From Burnt Island is more than a historical novel, it is the fictitious story of Frank Sharp’s life.
Wendy Sura Thomson captures the Scottish spirit, and the dialect only makes her characters seem more real. At the start of the novel, readers will find a handy reference guide to help them better understand the characters’ speech.
As readers follow along with Frank, they will also be reminded how easy life is for them compared to their grandparents. Hopefully, readers will begin to understand that some of the things they place importance on are trivial in comparison to what past generations endured.
When you settle in with a copy of The Man From Burnt Island, be prepared to be lost for a few hours. The book sucks you in by the second page. The author has a relaxed writing style that flows rhythmically along. Before you know it, you are transported to Scotland at the turn of the nineteenth century.
The Man From Burnt Island is for history and adventure lovers. It is also a novel for anyone that appreciates a good story. You will have a hard time to putting it down until you get to the end.
Wendy Sura Thomson is a multi-award 5-star author of Summon the Tiger, The Third Order, The Man from Burnt Island, Ted and Ned, and a contributor to the anthology, Postcards from the Future. She lives in Michigan with her three beloved Setters and covets sipping coffee outdoors first thing in the morning, rain or shine, listening to the waterfall and birds, and watching [often with amusement] the pups explore.