Written by Melanie Dent
Eye of the Storm: Lewis Franklin’s Story the novel detailing the Life story of the Lynchcliffe series romantic hero prior to the events of The Lynchcliffe Cuckoo Volume 1: Mise en Scène.
When his father and brother drown at sea, nineteen-year-old Lewis Franklin is forced to grow up fast as he faces the new challenges and responsibilities of looking after his widowed mother, Anna, sister in law, Alice, and infant nephew, Daniel.
In London, Lewis befriends retired merchant sea-man, Abraham “Abe” Fleming, and the two men forge a bond of friendship that matures through the years much as Lewis becomes a hero to his nephew, Daniel, as the boy grows to manhood. Lewis is forced to learn some of life’s harsher lessons, yet retains his dignity and spirit throughout.
This is a tale of the enduring friendship between men and women as they suffer loss discover dark secrets and survive the harsh realities of life in the late Victorian era.
Lewis Franklin is the hero of the popular Lynchcliffe Cuckoo series and this story answers unasked questions about his life pre Lynchcliffe Park and what made him the man he became in his search for an elusive all-consuming passionate love affair.
Franklin’s story begins in 1881 following the tragic deaths at sea of his father and older brother, David, father to Franklin’s nephew, Daniel, who is only an infant at this time.
The book takes us through several years of Franklin’s life. It deals with his loves, his experiences and his friendships as well as dealing with his various previous periods of employment. It covers social issues such as domestic violence, religious hypocrisy, suicide and street violence. Franklin is certainly forced to learn some of life’s harsher lessons but he is better for it and manages to maintain his dignity and spirit throughout. This is not easy when having to deal with the deaths of people he loves.
This is probably my favourite book in the Lynchcliffe series. To me Lewis Franklin represents the best of working class males in the late Victorian era. He stands up for the underdog and is fiercely loyal to those he loves. He has his faith in humanity cruelly shattered at one point but gets through to a stage where he can cope with it. He is a handsome intelligent man who is good at what he does and also a sensational lover. He develops a strong bond with his nephew, Daniel, and the boy grows to idolise the uncle who loves him like a son. With Franklin’s help Daniel learns about the darker side of humanity and finds the resilience to cope. The book explores relationships between family members, between friends and between lovers. It is also the one that has received the best reviews and interest from readers.
Here are a couple of excerpts from the book. The first is from the part where Franklin’s widowed sister-in-law Alice witnesses him without a shirt and her fevered lustful imagination goes into overdrive.
Alice descended the stairs and froze as she spotted Lewis through the steam. He had a fine handsome well muscled body with no excess fat as he kept himself in good shape by walking a lot. She felt her sex dripping at the thought of having him mount her. She shivered at the thought of his hardness thrusting between her legs. She crept quietly away to her own room to lust after him in peace. When she undressed for bed that night she had no surprise to find herself soaking wet.
“I will have tha in my bed, Lewis Franklin.” She vowed as she rubbed herself unashamed with her fingers; lying naked under the bed sheet as she sweated. “I want to make a man of tha. Tha’s damned gorgeous and it’ll be a lucky woman who ends up with tha between her legs. It’s not a matter of if, Lewis. It’s a matter of when.”
Alice had enjoyed pleasuring herself ever since her father had almost caught her one day and told her it would earn her a place in Hell. Anything her father disliked must surely be enjoyable, Alice thought for she hated his narrow view of the world seen through the book of Revelation and since that day she had made a habit of it.
She could not deny herself that the sight of Lewis half naked had really given her something to pleasure herself over and she rubbed hard enjoying the sensation of sucking her wet fingers clean as she imagined his mouth hard on her chest while his fingers caressed her to orgasm. She pictured herself bending over the bed as he thrust into her from behind caressing her firm breasts as he did so and the deep moans that would come from their throats as he rode her hard. Her wet lurid fantasies made her more determined to be the woman who made a man of him. If Lewis was aware of her mounting desires he said nothing and if he felt anything akin to desire for her he did not speak of that either.
The second excerpt is from when Franklin learns that his nephew, Daniel, has drowned on RMS Titanic.
“Damn you God!” he shouted. “Damn you! Have you not already taken enough of the people I loved? Tha should have taken me instead of my nephew and I wish to God tha had. Daniel was a good man and he deserved better than that as did all those people whose lives you cruelly took on that ship! I hate you with all my being and damn you to hell. By not acting to save those folk it makes tha no better than the devil.”
As quickly as it had come upon him Franklin’s anger abated and he sank to his knees with his head in his hands. In his hands he held the notebook with the story Daniel had written for him many years before and turned the pages slowly as tears flowed down his cheeks. He found that precious letter Daniel had written after his visit to Sycamore Park and reading the childish spelling mistakes made Daniel so real to him that Franklin lay on the floor and cried himself to sleep. He wished he had held Daniel a little closer that last time and told him one more time how much he loved him and how proud he was of him. The only comfort he felt was that Daniel was now with his parents in that place beyond death and right now Franklin wished with all his heart that he was there with them. They were together now united in death and Franklin felt a huge well of loneliness welling inside him. The pain of his loss was like a knife in his breast and with that dawned the sobering knowledge that he was truly now the last of the Franklin male line.
Warning: This book is not suitable for children and young adults as it contains adult material as well as dealing with adult themes such as domestic abuse and violence, illegitimacy, suicide, and the varying response to the death of loved ones.
You can buy Eye of the Storm: Lewis Franklin’s Story on Kindle.
You can get the paperback through Lulu.com
You can read my blog character interviews with Lewis Franklin and his friend Abraham “Abe” Fleming.