Today we have a review from Barb, she blogs at http://barbtaub.com/
Barb has been reading Last Child by Terry Tyler
The good old days…weren’t
I’ve wondered what the effect might have been if historical (or literary) figures had modern technology. (If Adam and Eve Sent Texts) Would Julius Caesar have gotten a text from Anthony: Hey, J—that seer chick’s Ides of March RT is mega trending. Might want to work from home that day bro.
Of course, the fates are sneaky bitches, so maybe they would have just wriggled things around to make them happen as usual. Romeo was a bit wet anyway, so he’d probably have forgotten to take his phone charger when he skipped out of Verona. He wouldn’t have seen Juliet’s text message: Guna fake my dead so mma d’crypt @midnite on Thu. O n dont come erly nthink I’m x-( . N no go-N2 1 of yr meltdowns n kilyrslf. Lol.
Terry Tyler’s entertaining approach to historical upgrades brought us Kings and Queens, and she’s just released her new sequel, LAST CHILD.
My Review: 5 out of 5 stars for LAST CHILD
‘Tour de force: a feat or display of strength, skill, or ingenuity. a very skillful and successful effort or performance’ –Miriam-Webster
Terry Tyler gave serious consideration to the Tudors’ historical makeover in her stunning novel, Kings and Queens (see my review plus interview with Terry here). As I said in that review, what turned an interesting concept into a tour de force was that each woman told her personal story in her own unique voice. It was captivating and absolutely mesmerizing to not only see each character’s internal reasoning, but also to get a voyeur’s view of each woman through the eyes of the others.
The only problem? I wanted to know… no, I needed to know what came next. Sure, I could read the history books. But it wasn’t the same as getting in the heads of these women and seeing how their hopes and dreams and failures played out. And then getting to see that all over again through different eyes.
But great news! Terry Tyler has just released LAST CHILD. Not only can I get my “and then what?” fix, but she continues to find the unique character and voice for the next generation, the three surviving children of Harry Lanchester/ Henry VIII:
- Young Jasper/King Edward VI, Harry’s designated heir, is teetering between childhood and proud acceptance of his future. “When Izzy talks about J. Dud ‘running amok’ I get a picture in my mind of him haring round the boardroom with a tomahawk, I don’t know why. I think it’s the ‘k’ in ‘amok’.”
- Eldest daughter Isabella/Queen Mary I tells us, “People say, oh, Isabella never got over her parents getting divorced, it’s time she let the past go and moved on, but they haven’t got a clue what I went through, or they’d know it couldn’t do anything but colour the rest of my life.“
- Younger daughter Erin/Queen Elizabeth I is a girl whose strength—and tragedy—is to see more clearly than any other character what her role and future must be. “Do you know why I shall never do the husband bit?” she said, pointing her cigarette a bit too close to my face. “It’s because it ends women’s lives. Look at the evidence. My mother, my beautiful, intelligent, much sought after mother— she falls in love with my father, he screws around and rejects her, she ODs on charlie alone in her flat. Jaz’s mum would probably be alive and kicking if she hadn’t married my dad, as would Keira Howard. Izzy— I need say no more. Even if you don’t end up dead or in a nuthouse, getting married totally erodes your confidence and breaks your heart. Ask Kate, or Izzy’s mum. Or your mum. Or your wife, come to think of it. Nah, you’re better off alone, just having lovers. The trouble comes when you start believing in true love.”
In addition, LAST CHILD give us the fascinating supporting cast of characters who orbit the Lanchester/Tudor family. I particularly liked Raine/Lady Jane Grey, whose drive to rise above her council-flat background only brings her triumph crashing down after her nine-day ‘reign’ (I can’t be the only one who likes that pun!): “Most of all, I wanted people to see me as someone they’d like to emulate, not as part of some pop psychology-loving, lazy, dog-on-a-string, pink dreadlocked, weirdo hippy underclass, to be laughed and pointed at.”
Even more remarkably, while following the sweep of history, Terry Tyler isn’t a slave to the changes that would come from modernizing. So along with the fun of recognizing characters and historical events, there is the surprise and delight of seeing them interpreted in modern terms.
I wouldn’t hesitate to give LAST CHILD five stars out of five. Quite simply, Terry Tyler has done it again. I thought that Kings and Queens would be difficult to top. But what I realized was that she didn’t need to top it. LAST CHILD is, instead, the brilliantly-executed, perfectly plotted, proper end to the story. I should probably tell you that you don’t really have to read Kings and Queens first. But that would mean you miss out on half the fun and a lot of inside jokes. So do yourself a favor—get a good bottle of wine, some quality me-time, and these two amazing reads. You deserve it.