John Whelan, champion oarsman, has all but given up on competitive rowing. On the cusp of forty, the Outer Cove fisherman is trying to accept that his time as a rower has passed. His wife agrees, telling him, “Breaking your back down on that pond, that’s a young man’s sport.” But a fracas with the Torbay rowing crew in a St. John’s tavern rekindles his desire to beat his long-time rivals in the upcoming St. John’s Regatta. With the regatta just ten months away, can he and cox Watt Power assemble a championship crew in time? The answer is the stuff of legends.
A Stroke in Time
is Gerard Doran’s debut novel. Inspired by true events, this tale of the record-breaking Outer Cove rowing crew of 1901 is a tribute to the everyman hero and a dedication to the outport fishing culture of more than a century ago.
Shortlisted for the 2016 Atlantic Book Awards Margaret and John Savage First Book AwardShortlisted for the 2015 Heritage and History Book Awards, Fiction Category
I can’t imagine how any fan of sport or Newfoundland history wouldn’t adore this book. Doran has constructed a love letter to both.-- Allan Hawco, Writer, Actor, Producer --
With A Stroke in Time, Doran breathes life into the iconic black-and-white photo of the 1901 Outer Cove winners of the St. John’s Regatta. Doran’s knowledge of and love for the regatta and these rowing heroes is evident . . . and contagious.-- Siobhan Duff, Ten-Time Championship Winner and Hall of Fame Rower, Royal St. John’s Regatta --
Doran pulls the reader into this tale of the legendary Outer Cove rowing crew. Conflict, compromise, and passion to be the best all collide in a magnificent climax at the St. John’s Regatta of 1901.-- Alan Doyle, Musician, Actor, Author --
Gerard Doran’s imagined retelling of one of the great sports stories in Newfoundland (and Canadian) history is packed with vividly drawn characters and carries a strong sense of time and place. You’ll come to know and root for the crew of fishermen from Outer Cove as you follow them on their way to the legendary 9:13.-- Stephen Brunt, Rogers Sportsnet --
A rollicking story.-- Northeast Avalon Times --
Doran based his writing on research and stories shared by locals; the history and descriptions ring true, from Watt’s training talks to the late-night conversations between John and his wife, Kate. The detailed description of the new shell design used by the team shines light on the local builder as well as the architect. The dialogue reflects local phrases and everyday conversation, providing readers with a true sense of this turn-of-the-last-century community.-- Historical Novels Review --
Like all great storytellers, Doran has brought his characters and setting to life.-- Atlantic Books Today --
The best novel of 2015.-- The Guardian --
In A Stroke in Time, Gerard Doran has written a seamless blend of fact, fiction and history – the result is one of the most gripping novels about sport and its effect on human culture and morale that I have read in a long time. The iconic Outer Cove regatta crew who held the 9:13 record for so many years comes wonderfully to life.-- Wayne Johnston, Author --
[Gerard Doran] drew on his own experience to masterfully weave together the rich local history along with personal tragedy and triumph. Doran recreates not just the hardships of life in a Newfoundland fishing town at the turn of the last century, but characters whose humanity resonates with an enchanting subtlety.-- WorldRowing.com --