Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Barb Reviews Last Child by Terry Tyler

Today we have a review from Barb, she blogs at http://barbtaub.com/

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Barb has been reading Last Child by Terry Tyler

Last Child by Terry Tyler

Last Child by Terry Tyler

The good old days…weren’t

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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.



gold starMy 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

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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.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Last Child by Terry Tyler

Last ChildLast Child by Terry Tyler

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Last Child is the much anticipated sequel to Kings and Queens. It’s a modern day take of the loves and lives of The Tudor descendants of Henry VIII. Kings and Queens introduced us to Harry Lanchester, property developer and his six wives again in a mirrored modern day setting. With Last Child we read about similar mirrored lives of his children. Jasper – Edward VI, Isabella – Mary I and Erin – Elizabeth I written with a fictional take which brings these modern characters alive.

It’s a stand alone book but you would get so much more from it if you first read Kings and Queens because many of the characters return in this wonderful tribute. There is an introduction to set the scene and a link to helpful historical notes if it’s a period of history you are unfamiliar with. The book is written in three parts like the reign of the three characters from history and the chapters within are told from the points of view of many of the wonderful colourful players in the story.

With (King) Harry dead, twelve year old Jasper is son and heir to the Lanchester estates, Uncle Ned Seymour is appointed to run the company until Jasper is of age. Jasper and Erin are living in the care of their stepmother Kate who recently married Jasper’s Uncle Aiden. Within the business there are fighting factions, Jim Dudley is assisting Ned but doesn’t get on well with him. Erin and Isabella are divided in whom they support while Jaz, as he likes to be called is really just an out of control teenager raging against life and hormones.

Having lost both his parents Jaz finds it really hard at times to express himself and ex-nanny Hannah Cleveley suggests he uses a Dictaphone as a type of therapy. As a reader it’s a lovely way to reach inside the mind of a teenage boy and shows the pressures he feels life puts on him and how he copes.

When disaster strikes, the door to managing Lanchester estates is opened for Isabella to take over, we have a brief interlude when the storyline turns to the life and events which surround Raine Grey who in history was Lady Jane Grey who reigned for just nine days. I wanted to dislike Raine when we first met her but she became one of my favourite characters by the end.

During Isabella’s time as manager of Lanchester estates, she rules with an iron-fist and an unpopular one too. Desperate to find someone to share her life and to pour her love into she has a holiday romance with Philip Castillo who she meets in Spain. Everyone can see it’s a disastrous choice except Isabella who becomes so intense that it drives her to madness.

Waiting in the wings is Erin, a chestnut haired beauty who has worked hard and is valued by all those around her. A strong supporter of her family and friends, she’s not been left untarnished by the tragic events that surround her life. Seeing so many of those she loves die and aware of the disastrous trail of marriage break-downs that she has witnessed, she vows never to marry despite the constant companionship and on/off relationship she has with Rob Dudley.

I knew the end of the book was near but I wanted to shout NO when I reached the last line, I wanted more. When a book leaves you emotional and begging for more it’s definitely a sign of a brilliant read. Worth everyone of it’s five stars and more.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

View all my reviews on Goodreads