Saturday, August 18, 2018

This Time: A Novel About Richard III - in the 21st Century, Book 1 by Joan Szechtman

This Time: A Novel About Richard III in the 21st Century, Book 1. Joan Szechtman. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. 2016. 304 pp. ISBN #: 9781537460129.

Just as Richard III is struck down at the infamous Battle of Bosworth, a time machine invented by scientists in the 20th Century transports Richard to Portland, Oregon in August of 2004. Hosgrove, the man who wants academic renown displays such an aggressive attitude to Richard that Richard is overwhelmed by the need to defend himself. Katarina, a scholarly linguist, is the compassionate one who manages to gently nurture Richard in this startling new environment. They want information from Richard, proof of the "two missing Princes" being alive and more, evidence Richard is unclear about no matter the time or place.

In this new revised version, we have facts previously unknown but clarified with the discovery and reburial of Richard III’s remains in Leicester, England.  Richard’s DNA led to truths about his physical condition and other revelations.

Richard must adapt to a frighteningly different culture; but Richard is certainly meeting each challenge with aplomb, including how to use modern technology of computers and other daily conveniences we so take for granted.  Being a man of integrity and passion, Richard wants to return to England of yore to save Anne his wife and his son Edward.  One character will quit the project and must be cajoled back if Richard’s dream has the remotest dream of becoming reality. The emotional tenseness is one readers will feel as well due to the author’s superb characterization. 

Richard disappears until it is safe to return to work together with a team that is going to try to restore the life of a family member in Richard's original world. Hosgrove will turn toward Richard in a way that challenges credibility. At the same time, the reader is thrilled to see a romance develop in Richard’s life, one that is full of formidable challenges but more endearing for the way it evolves.

The end of this story is a grand surprise.  All in all, this is a most satisfying historical novel that demands a follow-up because readers will want to know how this story of royalty in the 21st Century evolves. Please!

Quite a different take, a redeeming look at King Richard III, "Dick," or "Dickon," a man and leader who continues to intrigue old and new readers! Nicely done, indeed, Joan Szechtman!  The audio edition is due to be released September 3, 2018: see:

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Where the Crawdads Sing. Delia Owens. Penguin Publishing Group. Copyright 2018. pb. 384 pp.; ISBN: 9780735219090. 

Kya Clark is a “Marsh Girl.”  She and her father live in the marshes of the North Carolina Coast.  One day her mother packs a bag and leaves. The latter act takes years for Kya to get over, displaying the questions a child experiences when a parent disappears with no communication beforehand and never a word after in a telephone call or letter.  Just gone!

For a long time, Kya stays away from her father during his alcoholic rages but then one days he recognizes that she is a woman now and begins to treat her differently, including taking her out fishing and having small conversation.  Meanwhile, Kya learns to survive with plants and fish from the marsh and learns to catch fish that she sells in order to buy food for her very meager meals.  She begins to collect different rocks, plants, etc from the marsh for comfort after her father suddenly dies.

Yearning to love and be loved, she begins a relationship with two men, one who abandons her in order to pursue his university dreams and the other who is found dead in what is probably a murder but which manifests few clues.  Eventually, Kyra will be charged with the murder of Chase.  A poignant trial follows in which Kyra talks about the fact that she has never communicated or done anything wrong but strongly asserts that the townspeople themselves have irrationally judged her, condemned her, and rejected her for years, without one iota of evidence to support their cruel attitudes. 

Kya survives the trial and grows to be beloved by the first love of her life and to be accepted by the neighbors in town.  Her botanical collections make her famous and financially wealthy.  But the latter is not the essence of this novel.  The need to love and be loved is what truly makes a person, whether human or from nature. 

This is a remarkable novel with many messages but which really is a searing story of love and loss, friendship, betrayal, curiosity, survival and so much more!!! Highly recommended!