by William Boyd
The Romantic bears many similarities to arguably William Boyd’s best novel, Any Human Heart. Once again, Boyd gives us a likeable male protagonist, Cashel Greville Ross, born in 1799. We follow his life as he grows up as an orphan in County Cork, his school days in Oxford and then his life as a soldier at Waterloo and in India, followed by travels across Europe and America. It is an engrossing read as we follow this impetuous young man with a strong moral conscience and a certain amount of gullibility. He falls desperately in love with a married woman in Italy, has close social ties with both Lord Byron and Shelley, and spends some time as an inmate in New Marshalsea Prison. It is a rollercoaster of a life and I found myself hooked right from the start. This will make a great Christmas gift for all William Boyd fans, plus anyone who loves well written historical fiction.