A big thank you to Kevin who invited me to the launch of his book last week.
A novel based in Madeira with real people and a lot of history. 3 years of research and study to complete, it’s a great read for anyone and totally worth the purchase and to help support Kevin for the next one.
The book will be officially published on 28 July. The paperback is already available from Amazon, WHS, Waterstones, Foyles etc. The e-book should be available from the launch date. I will let you know if I can source a Madeiran stockist.
In Madeira you can order from Amazon Spain on this link.
Kevin Fleury was born and educated in Kent, but a career in the Civil Service took
him to London and Belfast for a number of years. He then worked for Saga’s
insurance and travel departments until his retirement in 2016 and now lives in
Romsey, Hampshire with his partner, Jenny. They love to travel and their favourite
holiday destination is the beautiful island of Madeira, which provided the inspiration
for Friends in Funchal.
The inspiration for ‘Friends in Funchal’ came, rather surprisingly, from a stroll
through a beautiful graveyard in Madeira. There, Kevin saw the inscription on the
headstone of a person who was to become one of his characters and was intrigued
by what he read. Idle Googling soon led to months of extensive research on Dr
Robert Willan, the Smith family, the Napoleonic Wars, the history and buildings of
Funchal, the symptoms of and treatments for consumption, and the principles of
Quakerism, also known as the Religious Society of Friends.
Subsequent visits to Madeira were enhanced not only by the knowledge he had
acquired but also by the friends he had made whilst delving into the island’s past.
‘Friends in Funchal’ weaves together this research with Kevin’s educated
imagination to create a story that leaves the reader informed, appalled, saddened,
delighted, and above all, warmed by the transforming powers of friendship and love.
‘Like Willan, my main character, I have made lifelong friends in Funchal,’ says the
author, who also recommends a visit to the British Cemetery in Funchal as an
essential part of any holiday in Madeira.
It is 1811 and Dr Robert Willan, a Quaker, leaves his practice in London, where he
has dedicated his life to treating the poor, for Funchal, the capital of the island of
Madeira. There he hopes that the year-round warm climate will help rid him of
consumption and enable him to return to his work and the service of God. During his
harrowing course of treatment, he meets a group of unforgettable characters whose
warmth, eccentricity, and kindly humour provide medicine for the soul.
With a nod to the style of Dickens, the wit and humour of the Grossmith brothers and
the manners of Jane Austen, Kevin Fleury’s work of historical fiction vividly describes
an island occupied by military forces, the ravages of consumption, and the traumatic
remedies that Willan must endure. However, at heart, this is not a story of illness and
suffering; rather it is a gentle, heart-warming tale of the power of true friendship and