Review: The Crying of the Children ~ Peggi Lennard

The Crying of the children19th century Britain; Joseph Skinner wanted Ellie to disappear and he didn’t care where to. He wanted Thomas to rot in the cellar, Little Will to lie silent in the mud, his workers to work harder and his wife to remain sedated in bed, where she could cause no trouble. But his wife fought back. Dr. Taylor helped her. Mandrake Jnr. was always on hand. And Ellie? Well Ellie had quite a journey.


3 Thumbs-Up

This Authors debut novel is definitely not a book for those who have a weak stomach, or are easily upset by the written word.  I’m not one of these types, but even I found that, at times, I had to put this book down and walk away to regroup my emotions and my mind; it is that disturbing in parts.

The locations for the novel is the very grim and very private world of Victorian England so, with this in mind it is not surprising to see there is very little real depth or back story to any of the characters; and this is how it would’ve have been in real life, Wives would have known little about their Husbands and the servants would have known how to keep their mouths shut.  In abiding by this social expectation, in her writing the Author actually paints in very vivid detail the personalities and traits that make up her characters; and there is a very large list of them ranging from a despicable wealthy man of society right down to the lowest of the low.

To live in poverty in 19th century Britain was not how we see living in poverty in 21st century Britain, and the Author has done an outstanding job of capturing the misery of those in this situation.  She has held back no punches when it comes to describing the choices open to these people, and what they had to do just to survive from day-to-day.  Her descriptions of ‘parental’ discipline are graphic and moving, and serve to illustrate that children were regarded as a disposable commodity.

There were places in this novel were the hand of a good proof-reader and editor would have come into play, and made the book even more haunting.  In places the Author gets her characters mixed up, and I found myself having to flip back the pages to get them straight in my own head.  This did detract from my enjoyment of the book, but still made it something I wanted to read on to the end to discover what the outcome would be.

I would recommend this novel to lovers of the history genre, both fiction and non-fiction as, at times, this novel becomes something more than just a story; it turns into a social commentary of the times it covers.


Review: A Storm in Memphis ~ Hero Jenkins

Storm in MemphisWill Compton, is a burned out, time travelling cop whose job has put his sanity on life support and he’s not sure he cared anymore. He desperately needs time to sort things out instead he gets dispatched to the most difficult case of his career. Can Will set aside his personal problems long enough to stop a group of illegal time travelers before they can destroy the timeline?
Even before the mission, Will Compton’s life was starting to unravel. His girlfriend was depressed; his best friend was crazy still the fate of the world daily depended on him doing his job and doing it right.

In spite of his issues he got up every morning and went to work. For twenty years now, day after day it was the same routine. He would travel through time to chase down crazy people and profiteers who were using black market time machines and then he would eliminate them before they could change history. It was a dirty job. Yet in a world where everybody was so disgustingly nonviolent, Will was a man of necessary violence and there are very few equipped to do what needed to be done. Nevertheless he and those like him were freaks and thus outcast in that peaceful world.

After today however, his life would never be the same because today he was assigned to time-jump back to Memphis Tennessee on the day before the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. April 3rd, 1968 . . . of all days. . . why that day?

You see three hundred years ago mankind was on the brink of extinction following a devastating nuclear war. Eventually the remnants of America gathered in Washington DC. They arrived and saw nothing but a vast desolate wasteland. . . until they spotted the King Memorial. The thirty-foot statue, like a beacon of hope, rose from the ruins and was visible for miles.

The people saw the memorial’s survival as a sign and rebuilt their society on the philosophies of non-violence, peace and love, which were etched on the surviving memorial wall.
For two hundred years the entire world was at peace but then the discovery of time travel changed everything. Dissidents who longed for the violent ways of the past arose and it all led to his mission today.

Suddenly Will is confronted with impossible decisions. What would you do to ensure that your future survived? Could you kill your best friend, could you let your lover die? Could you take the life of the hero that the world has patterned itself after? These are some of the dilemmas facing Will Compton as he tracks down these criminals in the midst of that national nightmare.

3 Thumbs-Up

This is the Author’s second novel and is a science fiction/thriller full of suspense and time travel back to a period in US history that was, to say the least, not one of its finest hours.

Through excellent writing skills and great character development of both the main male lead, and his adversaries, the Author manages to handle this era with tact and sensitivity.  The male lead is full of humour, cynicism and faced with choices that no one man should be faced with making.  He is written with such depth and numerous layers, both good and bad, that you cannot help but feel that this man exists somewhere out there in the future, and this only serves to make him an extremely likable and competent figure.

It is obvious from reading this novel that the Author has done a great deal of research both into the time period covered, and the possibilities and theories of time travel; it seems he has possibly invested a large amount of time into drafting plausible alternative futures for his storyline before deciding to use the one he does.

The descriptive passages are not for those of a sensitive or politically correct nature, as they bring the dark side of the species to the fore in the form of the prejudices and inequalities that was the norm during this period of time.  The Author manages to confront the reader with plenty of moral dilemmas, and brings into the light many real issues that were faced then and are still being faced today by some sections of our society.  The skill here, and which the Author has shown, is to not let his personal opinions of these issues cloud his writing, as some have a tendency to do.  This gives the book and all its happenings a clean and well polished feel and, although it is a fast paced read, nothing is lost in the speed the storyline moves along at.  However, despite all these good points, I could not shake the feeling that too many of the ideas behind this book were mirroring a short story by Philip K. Dick – ‘Minority Report’ and this took the edge off this novel for me.

I would highly recommend this book to lovers of the sci-fi/thriller/suspense and history genres, as there are a lot of all these aspects in this book to keep everyone happy.