I know that as a grown-ass man I shouldn’t care about reviews. In my stand-up days I learned that if you believe the good reviews, you also have to believe the bad ones. I recently got one, though, that means an awful lot. Mariah Feria published it in an online magazine that I enjoy (and has published some of my short stories) Storgy.com. Read the whole review here
Acre’s Bastard is certainly an accomplished piece of fiction. Turmel makes it clear that he is not done with this story, and especially not with the characters themselves.
Mariah Feria, Storgy.com
Truthfully, I wouldn’t have dared write a review like this for myself. She enjoyed the parts of the book I enjoyed (the lepers! She liked the lepers!) and correctly pointed out the weaknesses (Mark Halpern I’m not. Description isn’t my strong suit, but I’m working on it.) Since I am neither related to her nor owe her money that I know of, I’m going to assume she means what she says and that makes me feel good.
The best part, is she told Twitter something that is the highest compliment my work can get: “I don’t usually read historical fiction but may need to reconsider.” Yeah, baby.
It’s hard for an indie book to get reviews aside from the folks who take the time to write on Amazon or Goodreads (and a thousand blessings on your homes and camels.) So when someone you don’t know, share DNA with, or owe money to likes your book, it’s a cause to celebrate.
The subtitle to Wayne Turmel’s Acre’s Bastard is “Part 1 of the Lucca le Pou stories,” and I am already looking forward to further stories from this author about his engaging main character.
and ends with
… even these supporting characters have none of the cardboard cut-out feel of many adventures. They have the feel of people we might have chanced to meet if we were transported to those hectic times.
Now, I could pick nits… the biggest thing is this is NOT a YA novel that adults can read, it’s an adult novel teen readers can sink their teeth into. Still who am I to complain when people are telling strangers to buy your book?
There are two types of “Historical Fiction,” authors. One is the James Michener, James Clavell sort: they write thick books packed with painstakingly researched details where the history is as important as the characters. They’re impressive works and I always learn a lot and enjoy them immensely.
The second type is the “Alexandre Dumas,” school: give me enough detail to credibly set the story in time and place, then get down to the business of amusing me. You might learn a bit about history, but the story comes first. Colin Falconer is in this second category.
I’ve been reading his stuff for a number of years (seriously, though… 40 books in 26 years? Showoff.), and always enjoy the ride. They’re great Kindle reading-enjoyable as hell, if not towering works of literature. He writes ripping, romantic yarns set in whatever time frame he darn well wants; ancient Egypt, 1970s Argentina, or in the case of his latest book, “A Great Love of Small Proportion,” Spain during the Reconquista of 1492-3.
Like his best work, “A Great Love of Small Proportion” is unashamedly romantic. His novels always have a love story at the core, along with an exciting, action film plot. In this case, it’s the unlikely romance between a brilliant artist –a drunken, surly dwarf (Peter Dinklage on line one)–and the beautiful, headstrong (because they’re always willful and torturing their fathers in such tales) noblewoman. Then follows a thrilling read that takes you through the Inquisition, the fall of Moorish Spain, kidnapping, murder and Art Appreciation 101.
Is it all a bit silly? Yeah. Is it fun? Absolutely. Even with a familiar plot, there are enough twists to keep the reader off balance, and the dialogue is (as always with Falconer’s work) clever, believable and propels the story forward.
I had a couple of quibbles with the book. The title is too precious by half. It’s written entirely in present tense which feels a bit odd in places (maybe he was bored and trying an experiment). The central conceit; an artist’s true, loving nature disguised by physical deformity and locked away until the love of a good woman…. well, it’s not exactly new territory. Still, I enjoyed it immensely.
The thing is, Falconer does what he does. He tells a fun story really well and the book moves non-stop to a satisfying (if a bit predictable) conclusion. That’s not a bad thing. Sometimes you want a history lesson, sometimes you just want the hero and heroine to suffer in interesting ways then get together just in time to kiss and fade to black.
That’s kind of his thing.
I’ll have an interview with Colin coming up after the May 10 launch of his novel.