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Treasure of the Blue Whale

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Member Reviews

Really, really liked it. It's funny and quirky. The characters will have you cheering for them and you'll want to bury the bad guy in the sludge. We need quirky stories like this one right now. Pick it up. You won't be disappointed. Happy reading!
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The Treasure of the Blue Whale is a book unlike any other.  It opens on a blue whale with indigestion and follows to a Californian beach  in 1934 where 10-year-old Connor finds a stinking mass that turns out to be a huge hunk of ambergris, a substance much  valued by perfumers.  Connor and his younger brother live with their Ma who suffers from depression among other problems.  The village of Tesoro stepped in to help raise the boys and take care of Ma when her husband walked out.  Connor, being a nice, thoughtful young man, donates the ambergris to the townsfolk.  As you can imagine, chaos ensues, people go crazy spending money and competing with each other and what started out as a good deed ends up a complete mess.  Thankfully Connor has good advice and trusted friends who  help him turn the event around and even come out a little ahead.

Steven Mayfield has created a cast of kooky, colorful characters in an enchanting setting.  This was a fun book to read - very entertaining.  It was a little difficult to keep track of all the people involved at first but they soon seem like family.  I recommend The  Treasure of the Blue Whale to anyone looking for a good read.  It provided me with welcome escapism during these crazy, trying times.  Thanks for the ARC - I thoroughly enjoyed reading it!
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Whimsical and humorous, Treasure of the Blue Whale takes the reader right back to childhood years of reading and enjoying mysteries and adventures. 

Ten-year-old Connor O'Halloran finds a massive block of what appears to be ambergris, which washes into the lighthouse keeper's area of the beach. Enough to make all families in the town of Tesoro, California millionaires, the 'treasure' causes people to behave in truly funny and chaotic manner. 

The writing is simple and comical as now, 91 year old Connor remember the year 1934 and the theatrics of the people as they go on to enjoy and sometimes be annoyed by their wealth. Against credit, they buy the most unexpected things from bejewelled toilet bowl to a monkey. 

The book, along the lines of Sherlock Holmes' mysteries and Poirot's nonchalant humor, is thoroughly enjoyable and worthy of a one-sitting read.
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When Cannor is strolling on the beach with his old friend Angus, they come across and huge lump of muck which just happens to contain ambergris. This is one of the most valuable elements on earth, and once Connor says he will share the money from the forthcoming sale (before it is even valued or sold) with his fellow villagers, all the shenanigans begin! Avarice, greed and dishonesty come in leaps and bounds.
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I received a free electronic ARC of this excellent historical novel from Netgalley, Steven Mayfield, and Regal House Publishing.  Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me.  I have read this novel of my own volition, and this review reflects my honest opinion of this work.  Steven Mayfield writes a fine tale, with characters that breathe and times that come alive with his words.  

We begin with the tale of a middle-aged blue whale with many scars from a hard lonely life in the spring of 1918.  All we know of this whale is that he had a massive belly ache.  Dyspepsia.  As with us all, what can't go down must come up. We lose track of our whale but can follow his stomach contents across many seas and years of war as the ocean makes of that ball of stomach content ambergris.   In 1933 there was a vicious earthquake - 8.4 on the Richter scale - with its epicenter 180 miles east of the City of Kamaishi, Iwate.  The backlash from that mighty upheaval and tsunami took many lives, and the aftermath will in time carry our ambergris, prized by perfumers worldwide, encircling it with trash and the floating jettisoned malodorous waste of ships and boats as it makes it way by June of 1934 to the coastal beach of the little northern California town of Tesoro.  A little town, ripe for adventure and a little intrigue.  A place where people are tired of the depression, wearied of pinching pennies, seeking distraction and relief from boredom. 

And boy, do they succeed in finding a summer diversion.  Upon learning the worth of ambergris per ounce, 10-year-old Connor, legitimate winner of the foot race to claim the beached ton of sidetracked ocean waste, decides he will share the bounty with everyone in the village.  Every family has an equal share.  Except of course the town's only mean rich guy, Cyrus Dinkle. 

You will love these Tesoro neighbors.  Connor and little brother Alex, their emotionally crippled mom Mary Rose MacKenna O'Halloran, the town's medical adviser and midwife Miss Lizzie Fryberg, storekeeper and mail lady Fiona Littleleaf, lighthouse keeper Angus MacCallum, Last Resort Grill, and Barkeeper James Throckmorton, lawyer C. Herbert Judson, and Banker Roger Johns all have opinions and advice.  They, among others, bring this story to fruition. We have crooks and dirty rotten liars, tricksters, and scoundrels, and really nobody is above reproach in this story, but you are gonna love it. And this slice of life from 1934, watching the economy slow to a lowered plateau and hoping for a rise, brings a little hope to us, as well, as we coronavirus our way though this locked down life.
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I thought this was a good book hut sadly not for me. I feel like the narrative could have taken much greater magnitude and I felt bored by it despite the very good introduction and hook. I also believe that this was more a question of taste, as I still think this is a good book that many readers will enjoy.  It is a cozy book and I think it definitely has an audience

I got to about 15% of the book and just did not feel motivated to continue. If the story had been more grand as the first few paragraphs made it seem I would have been more incentivized to finish it.
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Treasure of the blue whale is a novel narrated by Connor, about the happenings in a coastal town called Tesoro during Depression-era. After discovering that whale secretions are valuable in perfume making, the town is blooming with riches and consumed with greed to acquire the wealth. Fearing that the people who once helped Connor and his mom will lose their minds, Connor along with his friends help the town to get away from greed and to share their newfound treasure. The novel is heartfelt and light read. It reminded me of the stories that my grandpa used to say during different eras. The author has penned down the emotions of the villagers during the period and it is very captivating to know. If you wanna know about small-scale consumerism and how to get out of it, this is the book to read. Another great depression era find!
Thank you NetGalley, Steven Mayfield and Regal House Publishing for the reader's copy of this novel. This review is my own opinion and is not influenced in any way.
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If you are in need of a giggle, this is your shining beacon; if you are in need of a bundle of giggles, this is still your shining beacon.

Treasure of the Blue Whale will captivate your mind and heart in it's whirlwind discovery of modern day treasure in a small California beach side town during the Great Depression.  When sudden unexpected wealth envelops the entire population, hysterics ensue; monkeys are bought, mail order brides purchased, bejeweled toliets now line front porches; but it isn't long that everything goes topsy-turvy!  Play-acting, sneaking into mansions, sneaking out of mansions, Russian spies, conmen, conwomen, the return of a monkey, all converge together during the summer of young Connor's childhood.

Told as a story by the now 91 year old Connor looking back on the summer his seaside discovery changed the lives of everyone in town, Treasure of the Blue Whale is the absolute perfect summer read.  Pull up a rocking chair, pour yourself some lemonade, and enjoy this book my friends.
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~ARC received in exchange for an honest review~

'Treasure of the Blue Whale' is a charming story of a coastal village in Northern California, narrated by 90 year old Connor O'Halloran. He recounts the summer of 1934 when he is 10 years old and discovers half a ton of ambergris washed up on the beach, a substance that is secreted by sperm whales and is extremely valuable in perfume manufacture. He decides to share his riches with the entire village who have looked out for him, his younger brother and their single mother over the years since their father abandoned them.

This was lighthearted, quick read and it was easy to be swept along by Connor's descriptions of the villages inhabitants. I'll be looking out for the authors future releases as I really enjoyed the writing.

~ Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to review this title ~
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Absolutely charming novel of days gone. The writing drew me in as did the story and characters. I loved tis and will be recommending it highly. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher!
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What a delightful read.  We are introduced to the 1934 inhabitants of Tesoro, California, located in Marin County pre-Golden Gate Bridge, through the eyes of 10-year-old Connor O’Halloran at the remove of 80 years, with up to date asides coloring the narrative.  Upon his laying claim to a blob of ambergris on the beach and discovery of its possible value, Connor decides to split the proceeds with Tesoro's other residents who have treated his family (his fragile, abandoned mother and prescient 6-year-old brother Alex) so kindly.  Yes, this verges on being a parable, with the cast of scoundrels, naifs, heroes, and villains.  But it also reminded me most particularly of two favorite movies:  Waking Ned Devine, and Local Hero.  Both used the anticipation of unexpected riches and its effect on a small town with myriad responses some hilarious and all redemptive.  It can be viewed as an entertainment, but also one with a message.
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This was such a fun, lighthearted read! Told from the perspective of 90-year-old Connor looking back on the summer of 1934, when he was 10 years old and discovered a half ton of ambergris washed up on the beach of small town Tesoro, California. Being a generous boy, he decides to share the treasure with the town. Hilarity and a few valuable life lessons ensue.

This book was a charming and warm view of the shenanigans that happen when average folks are suddenly gifted with fortunes. The characters are cleverly and whimsically drawn, often causing me to actually laugh out loud. For good measure, we also get a look at the effect that money can have on people and the silly things it can make them do. I really enjoyed this little book.
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I love historical fiction. Nothing else has the power to immerse me in stories and transport me to another time. This was a very lovely, quietly magical read. I love the village and its people, and I miss them already.
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This was funny and farcical. At times it felt slightly more like a young adult book than an adult novel. It was a little light and simple in places. But it's a fun read!
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Like Aesop and Shakespeare, Steven Mayfield has crafted a set of characters and settings in this book that are woven together in a tapestry of hope, greed, and needs that perfectly reflect the human conditions of need vs. greed and the haves and the have-nots.  He has placed his cast of small town characters in depression era California where they are challenged  to make choices with their windfall from the Treasure of the Blue Whale. What results is nothing less than a colorful  and tragically comedic discourse on human nature at its best and worst.  

Mark Twain said, ""The lack of money is the root of all evil.'' Steven Mayfield creates a story where a lack of money is just the preamble to a unique and entertaining story of good, bad, and something in-between.
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I am so happy I had the opportunity to read Treasure of the Blue Whale written by the extremely talented Steven Mayfield. What a fantastic book! When I began reading the first chapter I was instantly reminded of P.G. Wodehouse. The wonderful turn of phrase, the kooky characters, the fantastical plot. I had to make myself take breaks so the book would last longer! That first chapter alone was just perfect - what a way to begin a story - what a way to capture a reader's attention! I was hooked and a fan was born. Treasure of the Blue Whale is such a fun read. I don't want to risk giving anything away as this is one of the very rare books who actually delivers on the promise of twists. Suffice it to say that the only disappointment a reader will feel is that the book is over.  The cast of characters are a real treat. The descriptions of the characters and the town are well done; we get to know both while it seeming that we always knew them. 

I highly recommend Treasure of the Blue Whale by Steven Mayfield. I intend to track down all other offerings by Mr. Mayfield as he is a new favorite author.
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Terrific story! Heartwarming story that brings you back to a different time. Whimsical and magical in its own way.. the people of the town are easy to fall in love with as well as the 10 year old , who is now the age of 90 , telling his story. 5 stars. I don’t want to give anything away. People need to read this book. A great coming of age story!
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They say a fool and his money are easily parted. As someone who has recently cleared out whole rooms full of evidence which inarguably proves this point, I was very much in the right frame of mind for the new novel from Steven Mayfield, Treasure of the Blue Whale. The story follows ten-year-old Connor O’Halloran, who lives in the coastal town of Tesoro in California. It’s 1934, and the start of the summer holidays. Connor is looking forward to three months without school, when a discovery he makes on the beach changes everything - not just for him, but for the whole town. Connor chances upon a lump of ambergris, the precious substance formed in the bile ducts of whales and highly prized by perfumers as a fixative, and soon discovers that what he has found could be worth a fortune. Upon finding out just how much money could be coming his way, he decides instead to divide it up equally between every household in town. This is not without its complications, however, as Connor will soon discover.

Principal among these complications is the novel’s main antagonist, the menacing and extravagantly wealthy ex-gunrunner Cyrus Dinkle. When he hears of the town’s windfall (which he has been excluded from, owing to his general villainy), he sets about scheming to trick the people of Tesoro out of their bounty, with the aid of his butler, Sergei. Dinkle is reminiscent of Ebenezer Scrooge and similar larger than life villains, rumours of his criminal connections combining with his general air of misanthropy to make him more than worthy of the distaste and fear the other characters feel for him. It’s a while before we actually meet Dinkle in the novel, but Connor’s descriptions of him before that point serve to set him up as the villain of the piece wonderfully well. The fact that he also holds himself separate from the rest of the town also sets him at odds with everyone else in the rest of the novel too, as themes of community and family are heavily foregrounded throughout. Dinkle’s bachelor lifestyle and unwillingness to interact with the community puts him naturally in opposition to the rest of the town, who are quick to gather round when anything interesting is happening to one of their neighbours. He’s the ideal villain for this scenario. Meanwhile, his butler Sergei terrifies the young Connor - a Russian man of few words, a first glance would paint him as the archetypal chilling servant in a gothic horror, but there’s more to him than meets the eye, and he’s perhaps the most interestingly nuanced character.

The community Dinkle sets himself against couldn’t be more different from him. Tesoro, my research tells me, comes from the Spanish for “Treasure” and it’s apt here - not only is the town itself idyllic, its occupants are richly characterised, wonderfully named and endlessly entertaining, a veritable goldmine of comedic moments. There’s Milton Garwood the Misanthrope, town blacksmith and welder, who is keen to remind people that they can’t tell him what to do at every opportunity, even if it’s perfectly sound advice. Coach Wally Buford, a blowhard who attempts to get himself elected to moderator at every town meeting, described as “full of belly but lean on tact and self-awareness.” Much of the comedy in the novel comes from Connor’s wry observations on these two characters, but the other characters in the novel are no less vividly drawn - my personal favourites were C. Herbert Judson the lawyer, whose handing down of wisdom to Connor and moral compass bring to mind Atticus Finch, and Miss Lizzie Fryberg, the town medical officer who the 91-year-old Connor who is relaying the story to us describes as “one of the strongest, smartest, and most wonderful women” he has ever known. The way the various characters behave when they have their hands on a huge sum of money creates some hilarious scenes, with the townsfolk each trying to outdo one another in their acquisition of ridiculous, expensive status symbols; jewelled toilet seat covers, obviously forged fake documents and even a monkey being some of their more eccentric items. What could very well turn into an ear bashing lecture on the nature of consumerism in the hands of other writers is here just laid out for us to chuckle at and draw our own conclusions from, with minimal hand wringing and anguish. 

With Treasure of the Blue Whale, Steven Mayfield has gifted us with a heart-warming depiction of the small-town America of a bygone age, peopled with wonderful characters. It’s reminiscent of the likes of Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine, with a coming of age tale at its heart but plenty of vignettes scattered throughout to make us laugh, gasp and cheer. You won’t read a more charming book this year.
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This book was a fantastic read for me. It was fun and whimsical telling the story through the eyes of a 90 year old as his 10 year old self. I loved the village, with fun characters and wacky stories and really telling the cost of wealth. The people in it had a very Gilmore girls vibe to it and the setting was beautiful. I learned all about Ambergris as well as life for a 10 year old boy in 1934! This book is a must read for me.
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