This book is a biography, but also more than that. It reconstructs the little known personal journey of Francis Morgan Osborne (1857-1935), a Catholic priest born in Port St Mary’s (Spain), guardian and “second father” of J.R.R. Tolkien, one of the most celebrated authors of our time.
This is the result of a thorough investigation, carried out between Spain and England, with the support, among others, of Priscilla Tolkien, daughter of the author, whose testimony provided previously unpublished insight into the connection between her father and Spain, through his guardian.
5* - "It was high time that we would get a biography of Father Francis Morgan, the man - Catholic priest - who took care of the Tolkien brothers after their mother's death. A lot has been said about Morgan, on and off, and not all those things very deep or kind. This book however, does a thorough job of looking at the roots of Morgan's family, back in Spain, his arrival to England and his life per se, as well as Tolkien's tutor. Moreover, if you love sherry, port and their trade, you get to learn a lot on that score too. The book also manages to explore the lives of all the very interesting people who surrounded Morgan, like Cardinal Newman and the Birmingham Oratory.Highly recommended." Trixter 76 on Amazon.co.uk
"As well as being a comprehensive biography of Father Francis Morgan Osborne, this book is also an important contribution to a study of the life of J.R.R. Tolkien. Using both English and Spanish sources, Morgan's ancestry and family background are described in meticulous detail, as well as his life and career prior to, and after, becoming guardian and long-standing friend to Tolkien.
A notable aspect of the work is the author's treatment of episodes which tend to be misinterpreted, such as Morgan's ban on the teen-aged Tolkien's relationship with Edith Bratt, and Tolkien's support of General Franco in the Spanish Civil War. These are described in the context of prevailing attitudes and circumstances at the time: for example the absolute necessity for Tolkien to concentrate on winning a scholarship to pay for a university education without any romantic distraction, and the sufferings of Roman Catholics in Republican Spain in the 1930s.
In addition much attention is paid to Morgan's interest in education, his generosity and his friendship with Cardinal John Henry Newman.
Overall this is a very detailed and well researched study of Francis Morgan and an enlightening account of his relationship with Tolkien and his family, a relationship which clearly endured throughout Morgan's life not just during his time as Tolkien's guardian." By A. Nicholas
"This new book paints a portrait not only of Francis Morgan but of the dynasty and the sherry trade of Cadiz – a small world unto itself – from which he emerged into independent life. It will satisfy the most hobbit-like hunger for family history." John Garth
"Dismantles some myths and teaches us much more, through a serious investigation with verified data, rather than the pseudo-fictional style typical of many Tolkien biographers." Estel Magazine. Tolkien Society of Spain
"I consider this book to be a valuable contribution to Tolkien scholarship." Mythoi Blog
"It is an enjoyable book, written with rigor and clarity, which places the narrated facts accurately in their historical context." Revista de historia de El Puerto